Bringing pets—usually dogs—to work is a perk that has grown in popularity over the years. And with good reason! We’ve written previously about the positive impact pets can make in our home lives, and some of those benefits extend to the office, as well. Studies have shown that having pets around the office can make employees happier and more productive. And research out of Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who brought a pet to work had decreasing levels of stress as the day went on, compared to those who did not bring pets.

This may make bringing a pet to work sound like a no-brainer. But in order for it to be a positive experience—for employees and pets—it’s important to follow some basic guidelines. We’ve listed a few tips to get you started. However, if you’re thinking about bringing a pet to work it’s best to consult with your employer about company policy.

  • First and foremost, it’s important for your pet to be up-to-date on vaccines and flea protection.
  • Check with co-workers to make sure they’re comfortable being around pets.
  • Be prepared to clean up after your pet if there are any accidents or messes.
  • Think about your schedule for the day. Make sure you have time to take your pet out for needed potty breaks and exercise.
  • Ensure your pet has a comfortable, safe place to spend the day. This includes making sure they have access to water and perhaps a familiar blanket or some toys. (Preferably quiet toys. Dogs like squeaky toys a lot more than co-workers do…)
  • Think about your pet’s temperament. They may be friendly and laid back while at home, but new surroundings can be stressful for pets. It may make sense to ease them into things. Try at first just bringing them to the office for a couple hours. If you’re not sure if your pet is a good fit for office life, consult with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.

If your employer is interested in learning more about how they can make pets-at-work a positive experience for everyone, you can share with them the Better Cities for Pets guide to a pet-friendly workplace. The more we all know, the more we can all enjoy the benefits that come from having our furry friends around us at work.