• Accommodating Pets in the Workplace: Things to Consider

    We can all agree that animals bring many of us joy and contentment, and can help us lead happier, more productive lives. Pets often help us get more exercise, obtain a sense of responsibility and humanity, and a general care for others’ well-being. Studies have shown that pet owners not only often live longer, but find more joy in their daily lives. With all of this knowledge about how wonderful pets can be for our mental and physical health, one may wonder – why aren’t pets allowed to partake in every aspect of our daily lives in we want them to, including coming to work with us?

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    It’s reasonable to understand that in some instances, it may simply not be appropriate or desirable to have an animal in the workplace. For example, working in a fast-paced, busy restaurant where food safety is a concern, pet hair and dander as well as a distraction from remaining focused might raise red flags for business owners and patrons. However, the solution isn’t necessarily black and white; in certain cases business owners may have to legally consider allowing pets in the workplace. In this article we’ll talk a little bit more about when it may be beneficial or not to bring your pet to work with you.

    Why bringing a pet to work may be beneficial

    Individuals who rely on service animals or therapy animals to help calm anxiety, relieve depression, help guide them if they have impairments, and other similar scenarios might be far more productive at work and able to perform daily tasks with their helping animal present by their side. It is undeniable that animals can have healing qualities, and employers should accommodate requests by employees reasonably. Besides improving a single employee’s mood or level of production, bringing a pet to work can be an infectious kind of happiness and productivity, where other employees come to look forward to having an animal presence in the workplace too.

    Workplace policies and discretion

    With all of that being said, businesses have the right to require that the pet and pet owner meet a certain set of guidelines and standards before allowing the pet to come to work. This is in an effort to protect other employees or patrons in the workplace, and to avoid liability. Here are a few guidelines that businesses may require before allowing an employee to bring a pet to work:

    • Having the pet undergo specific training
    • Documentation of the pet’s certifications
    • Documentation of insurance covering the animal
    • Documentation of vaccinations
    • Basic hygiene requirements should be met (pet should be kept clean and well-groomed to avoid excessive dander and shedding in the workplace)
    • Documentation that the pet owner understands and accepts their responsibility for the pet and its actions in the workplace

    When bringing a pet to work may not be beneficial

    There are some cases where bringing a pet to work might not be helpful in a general sense. Pets that…

    • Are not properly trained, certified, or licensed
    • Pose a threat to other living things in any circumstance
    • Or regularly cause a disturbance
    • Make messes
    • Are sick
    • Cause friction with other employees
    • Damage property
    • Create excessive distraction in the workplace

    …may not be helpful to bring to work, but instead may create more anxiety, tension, and hazard. In these cases, it may not be reasonable to request that your pet attend work with you. If you’re unsure of whether your pet qualifies as a service or therapy animal, or would be a beneficial addition to your “team” in the workplace, it’s best to ask your employer about their policies and get more information from governing boards that handle pet “helping” certifications.

    At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, we recognize how beneficial and cathartic an animal’s presence can be for most of us. For the residents of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County, we can help determine whether your pet would be a good candidate for a service or therapy animal certification. For more information on pet certifications or bringing your pet to the workplace, please contact one of our helpful professionals who can guide you to the right resources.

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    posted on October 10, 2019 at 10:52 am by devdrronwpuser