Take Your Dog to Work Day: Safety Tips Posted on June 19, 2023 With Take Your Pet to Work Day coming up this Friday 23rd of June we want to ensure your furry friend stays safe in your office environment! While bringing your pet into work can benefit you and your furry friends, there are several factors that need to be considered before deciding if such a venture is suitable for you and your pet. If you do decide to bring your fur-baby to work, there are some strategies you can implement to provide a wonderful experience for all. While your pet may have been comfortable around you while you worked from home, remember that they might not be used to spending the day around other animals and humans. For this reason, any pets that are brought into an office environment must be socialised with people and other animals, otherwise they may find the experience unpleasant and stressful. Before Bringing your Pet to Work, Check that your Office Environment is Animal Friendly by: Ensuring there are no escape routes for your pet to get accidentally lost. Cables, cords and rubbish bins can be hazardous to pets, so ensure that these are not easily accessible to your pet. As you’ll likely have to drive to the office, ensure that your dog has a car harness and is comfortable sitting in your vehicle while you brave the traffic. Before you Arrive at the Office: If you are bringing your dog into work, try taking them out for exercise before you arrive at the office so that they aren’t too excited/energetic when they arrive. It’s important for your animal to be identifiable via microchip and that they are up to date with their vaccinations, so that they don’t run the risk of spreading any infections to other animals in the workplace. Make sure to bring your pet’s favourite blanket, bed, food, treats, water bowl and toys with you so that they feel comfortable in their new environment. Placing their bed beside your desk will mean that you can always supervise them. If you need to leave your desk, it is a good idea to designate someone to watch your pet while you’re When you Arrive at the Office: Letting your dog meet other dogs and say hello to your colleagues before the day starts can also be a great way to ease them into the work environment. Set up a bowl of fresh water in a place your dog can freely and readily access at all times. As the day goes on, take your dog out for regular breaks outside so they can expend some energy and go to the toilet. It’s important to set aside sufficient toilet breaks and to take your dog for a walk or two throughout the day. Walking your dog during your lunch break is not only great exercise for them, but a great opportunity for you to leave the office and get some fresh air. New environments can be both confusing and exciting for animals, so avoid punishing your pet if they accidentally go to the toilet in the office. To reduce this from happening, increase the amount of outside toilet breaks and rewarding your pet with treats whenever they go to the toilet in the correct place. While having your pet by your side at work can be a wonderful bonding experience for you both, please remember that it may take a while for your fur-baby to adjust to their new surroundings. Reward your pet’s calm behaviour whenever they are in the office. This reinforces good behaviour and will encourage your pet to act calm in the future. Whilst at the Office: As the day goes on, keep an eye on your dog to ensure they’re comfortable and not displaying any signs of anxiety. Body language is your dog’s way of telling you that they’re not having a good time, so keep an eye out for flat ears, a hidden tail or excessive panting. Generally, you can tell if your dog is uncomfortable if they are exhibiting ‘fearful behaviours’. Fearful behaviours can typically be categorised into the following groups, known as the 4 F’s: Fiddle: displays uncertainty and internal conflict and encompasses displacement behaviours, which are normal behaviours displayed out of context. These include yawning, lip licking and ground sniffing. Freeze: displays uncertainty and internal conflict. It is the act of an animal becoming stiff in the body and can be seen before an animal acts upon the situation. It can lead to an animal shutting down. Flight: is the act of an animal physically removing himself from the situation. Fight: is when an animal believes he has no other recourse but to act aggressively through the use of threatening behaviours such as growling, baring teeth, lunging and biting. If your dog is displaying any of the 4 F’s, we’d advise for you to take them for a walk or even take them home a little earlier. For more information on your dog’s mental health, head here. To learn more about communicating with your dog, head here. For more safety information about Take Your Dog To Work Day, please visit RSPCA Australia’s knowledgebase here.