Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Post -- From Playmate to Office-mate: Top Tips for Pets at Work

Seeing as how Desmond's been putting in overtime with his dad once a week during our hurricane displacement, now might be a good time to explore the ins and outs of taking your dog to work with you. 

Dr. Rebecca Jackson, staff veterinarian for Petplan pet insurance, wrote a great post for me to share with you today. Take a look!

From Playmate to Office-mate: Top Tips for Pets at Work

Pug Henry lends a paw in the Petplan office--
or in this case, all four paws!
Cubicle life has gotten cuter in recent years, thanks to many companies’ open-door policy for pets at work. The benefits of having four-legged friends where we spend 8-10 hours per day are obvious; more smiles, less stress and workers who are willing to put in longer hours when they don’t have to leave Fido at home. 

All that being said, bringing our furry friends to work can get us into some hairy situations if we’re not realistic about our expectations, diligent about common courtesy – and prepared with the occasional poo bag! Stay out of the doghouse by committing to the following Pets at Work Pledge.

Darcy & Benny put their heads
togetherto come up with ideas for
the next issue of fetch! magazine.
Healthy Paws. Keep your pet current on vaccinations and administer monthly flea and tick treatments, as well as monthly heartworm preventative.

Manners, Please. Only bring a pet to work if he is socialized and well-behaved. Aggressive behavior towards people or other pets is an obvious no-no, but even if you have a non-aggressive pet who is simply shy, consider carefully whether an unfamiliar environment full of strangers is going to be too stressful and whether he would be better off at home.

Port-a-Potty. Be sure to take frequent potty breaks – more than you normally would during the day. Because there are so many new smells, your dog may be tempted to mark his favorite places; keeping the tank on empty will help curb some of this behavior.  Remember that accidents do happen. Act quickly and take full responsibility for clean-up if one does.

Set Boundaries. Other people’s food, shared conference rooms and any kitchen or cafeteria areas should be off-limits to all four legged “workers.” Keep your dog contained to your personal workspace with a folding gate, and don’t let him roam freely unless everyone is comfortable with him doing so.

Petplan's new Curator of Treats,
Montgomery, tests his typing 
skills in the creative department.
Buddy System. Pets should be supervised at all times. If you know that you are going to be absent from the office for a period longer than 30 minutes, then do not bring your pet to work on that day, or arrange for a coworker (whom your pet is familiar with, and who is familiar with your pet) to pet sit while you are gone.

Pilot the Newfoundland
recently visited Petplan HQ,
where he handed out slobbery
kisses and helped answer phones!
Chow Hounds. Do not share lunch with your pet, or allow others to do so. Eating table scraps can upset your dog’s stomach, and spell disaster down the road. Keep a water bowl readily available, but out of high-traffic areas. Do not clean your pet’s water bowl in the sink with co-workers dishes; instead, bring the bowl home at the end of the day or clean it in the bathroom sink.

Puppy Love. As a consideration to fellow team members, send an email to your officemates the day before bringing your dog into the office.  That way you can make sure that your pet is friends with all of the other four legged “workers” that will be in that day. Dogs who don’t get along should not be brought to work on the same day.

Chew on This. Keep in mind that if your pet willfully causes any damage to property, you may be asked to take him home, and you will likely be liable for any costs associated with repairs.

Furry friends Sophie & Benson
holding paws at the office.
Bringing your dog to work can be one of the greatest company perks, but politeness is paramount! At the Petplan headquarters, we have made the Pets at Work Pledge a formal policy, and ask all new hires to agree to its terms. Having a written policy in place has helped keep Petplan’s four-legged family safe, happy and greeted with open arms when they clock in!

Dr. Rebecca Jackson is a staff veterinarian for Petplan pet insurance. As the daughter of a veterinarian, Dr. Jackson grew up in a small animal vet practice in northern Indiana, and has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of veterinary medicine – and she loves it unconditionally. Upon graduating from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006, Dr. Jackson moved to Boston to begin her adventures as a small animal veterinarian. She has also practiced in Tacoma, WA , and Richmond, VA, where she served as a civilian veterinarian at the Fort Lee Veterinary Treatment Facility. Dr. Jackson works as a relief veterinarian for a handful of hospitals in the Philadelphia area. She and her husband reside in Philadelphia with their daughter, their 9-year-old Golden Retriever and their 8-year-old cat.

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