Dogs at work: finding a work-life balance with and for your favourite dog companion
Millie the Border Collie is hard at work lying on the sofa, paw to the laptop.

Dogs at work: finding a work-life balance with and for your favourite dog companion

28 September 2022

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 14 June 2023

Dogs at work

With an ast-hounding 74% of pet owners reporting an improvement in their mental health from owning a pet, it’s no wonder that companies have picked up on this. Everyone has been sniffing out “pet friendly offices”, and the search term has received a 300% uplift in Google searches versus last year. This interest is also reflected in the increase in dog friendly offices as well as a variety of companies offering a BorrowMyDoggy subscription as a job perk.

But what’s the best way to make it work for you, your colleagues and your workplace? Every workplace is different and although an office filled with dogs is our idea of hound heaven, it isn’t always practical or the best option for employees and/or dogs.

Here’s two ways to find the pawfect work-life balance with our furry friends while having a busy work life.

Pets at Work scheme

Find a borrower to spend time with your dog while at work

How To Take Your Dog to Work With You

Assuming yours is a dog friendly workplace, there are a few things to keep in mind when bringing your dog to work with you.

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your dog is well-behaved and won't be disruptive. You don't want to be the person who gets in trouble for having a noisy or rowdy dog at work!
  • Be mindful of where you put your dog's food and water bowl. It's best to put them in a place where they won't bother other people or get in the way.
  • Crate train your dog if possible. This will make it easier for them to stay calm and settled while you're working.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time for walks and playdates during tea breaks and lunchtime. They'll need to stretch their legs and get some exercise, just like you do!
  • Bringing your dog to work can be a great way to combat mental health issues, as long as you're prepared and considerate of your fellow employees. With a little planning, you and your pup can enjoy a stress-free day at the office!

Oakley the Labrador Retriever is sat at the desk wearing a headset ready to speak to clients

15 reasons why you should consider taking your dog to the office with you

  1. Dogs provide a sense of calm and relaxation in the midst of a stressful work day.
  2. Our fuzzy friends can help reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation that may come from working long hours.
  3. Dogs offer non-judgmental companionship and unconditional love, both of which are invaluable at work.
  4. Caring for a dog can give you a sense of purpose or responsibility outside of your job duties.
  5. Interacting with dogs has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, two important indicators of stress levels.
  6. Dogs can provide much-needed breaks during a hectic work day.
  7. Playing with a pup can help relieve tension and increase energy levels.
  8. Dogs can act as icebreakers, helping you to meet new people in the office.
  9. Walking a dog during lunchtime or after work can be a great way to get some exercise and fresh air.
  10. Having a dog in the office may encourage employers to be more flexible with employees' schedules (such as allowing for occasional wiggle time for walks).
  11. Dogs offer valuable assistance to those with disabilities or health conditions.
  12. Pups in the workplace can help promote a team spirit and sense of camaraderie among employees.
  13. Pets have been shown to boost morale and increase job satisfaction levels in workers.
  14. Dogs provide an excellent source of stress relief (which can be beneficial for both employees and employers).
  15. Employees who bring dogs to work tend to take fewer sick days than those who don't.

Pets at work scheme

Purina Petcare believes pets and people are better together. Its Pets At Work (PAW) scheme has been running since 2003 and provides support and materials for companies wanting to open their doors to canine colleagues, including a toolkit based on their own experiences. Purina’s offices began welcoming furry friends nearly 20 years ago, with employees reporting a wealth of paw-sitive benefits in their personal and professional mental wellbeing because of the scheme.

According to research commissioned by Purina, four fifths of Brits (81%) believe pet-friendly workplaces are happier workplaces, with dog-friendly found to be the work perk that Brits said had the biggest positive impact on their overall wellbeing, with a fifth (20%) ranking it higher than other common perks such as free breakfasts, a complementary bar and free childcare at the office. Dog-friendly offices can even improve relationships between humans too, with a quarter (24%) saying it improves relationships in the workplace.

40% of participants said that it enhances work-life balance, which can be pivotal in a post-covid world where more businesses are shifting to hybrid ways of working. Employees could also see cost-savings through bringing pets to work, even just for one or two days a week – providing some potentially vital relief during the cost-of-living crisis.

You can find out more about Purina’s Pets at Work scheme on their website.

Find a borrower to spend time with your dog while at work

Not every work space is suitable for our furry friends, each working environment is different and there are a number of things to consider as an employer, such as safety or hygiene, and therefore it’s not always possible to allow animals on the premises.

For dog parents it can be worrying leaving your pooch at home whilst you’re at work, having a trusted, local borrower who will care for your dog and give them the extra love and attention they deserve can give you piece of mind and allow you to devote 100% of your focus to your job during your working hours.

Frank the Cross Breed with his borrower, both have huge grins on their face and are happy to be spending the day together
After having had two years of constant company during lockdown, we didn't want to leave Jerome alone while we went back to work. We wanted to find someone who would love him as much as we do. BorrowMyDoggy has given us peace of mind that when we are at work someone else is looking after him and loving him. Jerome could not be happier, we have found another family to love him; he gets extra cuddles and extra walks. I have made a new friend too as we meet up to walk Jerome together a couple of times a week.

Jerome's owner, Gillian from Worcestershire

With the current climate, many dog owners are also concerned about the rising costs of caring for their furry family members. BorrowMyDoggy provides an affordable alternative to a paid dog walker and you can rest assured your dog is receiving 1-1 undivided attention.

"I met a lovely dog owner in the local park who told me what a wonderful difference it had made joining BorrowMyDoggy to her day to day life and how I should join! It has helped me significantly, I had exhausted messaging dog walkers and hearing nothing back. Worrying that Groot would be alone if I went out to work and feeling like half an hours walk in a 7 hour day just wasn't enough. Prices for a full day care was exceptionally high. Groot has made best friends with his borrower, he cries with excitement when they take him for walks and day care which makes me so happy. He absolutely adores his time with his lovely families. Paying the initial payment has been the most money well spent for Groot and I."

His doggy wellbeing and mine has been completely saved by BorrowMyDoggy. We couldn't thank you guys enough.

Groot's owner, Rosanna from Sheffield

What’s more, the BorrowMyDoggy community is filled with like-minded people, all with the same purpose, to share the love of dogs, a borrower becomes much more than just a borrower, they become a long term friend for both you and your pooch. 33% stated they now feel more connected to the local community through our platform.

I joined BorrowMyDoggy to get some help through a difficult time and also give others the chance to experience & love our wonderful doggies. All the borrowers we have are amazing and our dogs have loved going on adventures with them. They get super excited when they are collected and can see they have a great time as they come back relaxed and smiling. It has given me a break when needed most and given the dogs the exercise they need (and extra love & cuddles!). I am so happy I found BorrowMyDoggy as you find mutual synergy with other dog lovers.

Kouv and Merlin's owner, Candice from Milton Keynes

Find a dog to spend time with outside of work

So you may not be in a position to own a dog of your own right now, perhaps you work long hours, live in rented accommodation or just lead a busy lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spending time with a dog and the pawsitive impact this can have on your mental wellbeing.

Millie enjoying a mucky walk with her borrower whilst her owner is at work
I am a paramedic with the NHS, working long and irregular shifts. While I love dogs, it would not be good for a dog to be alone for the 12+ hours I am out of the house. A friend who is currently studying to become a Paramedic is a BorrowMyDoggy member and used to walk Millie before moving away from Manchester. We were out walking her new BorrowMyDoggy pup, and it reminded me how much I love being outdoors and in the company of a dog. So I joined, got right in contact with Millie's family and haven't looked back! Being active is massively important in my work, but also it is tiring and on my days off I just want to do nothing. Booking in a walk with Millie makes me get out, go for long walks, enjoy the outdoors again, with brilliant company. It has improved my mental health and wellbeing, made me more active, and gives me a great opportunity to go and walk with friends again. I've even had her in work to help cheer up staff!

Millie's borrower, Adam from Manchester

80% of borrowers feel less stressed since joining and spending time with a dog. It’s a worrying time for many with added financial pressures looming over us all, but did you know - spending time with a dog has been shown to reduce stress levels. Dogs are also a great motivation to get out for a walk and we’re all well aware of the link between exercise and improved mental wellbeing.

I joined BorrowMyDoggy as I have always lived with dogs and recently flown the nest into my own home and miss having a four legged friend around. I can’t have one because I work full time during the week and know it wouldn’t be fair on a beloved pooch. Dogs help with my anxiety and those puppy dog eyes force me to leave the house and get out, be social and exercise. I don’t feel lonely in the evening when my furry friends come over for sleepovers and now I don’t spend weekends alone as I love to take the fluff balls on new adventures. I was surprised at how many people are on the website and want their dogs to have the best time and are willing to allow borrowers, that all important time with their dogs. It makes me happy to know that people don’t want their dogs sat at home all day while they are at work and they understand there are people out there like me who benefit from being able to have doggy adventures, cuddles and fluffy sleepovers.

Mini & Nala's borrower, Katie from Cheshire

Not only do our canine companions make great stress busters and reduce feelings of anxiety, but they can also reduce feelings of loneliness and encourage you to speak with other dog lovers within your community. 85% of respondents agree interaction with pets can help reduce loneliness.

I joined BorrowMyDoggy a few months ago as I was feeling a little lonely working from home all day everyday during the lockdown. Using BorrowMyDoggy I met a lovely family just a 10 minute walk from their house who needed someone to pop in and spend some time with their pup while they were out at work. I’ve been going round to see Murphy 3-4 times a week on my lunch break and it’s made a huge difference to my life. Murphy is the sweetest, silliest and funniest little boy. We’ve definitely grown a bond over the last few weeks and I love spending time with him. He makes me laugh every day and before I go back home, he always comes and snuggles me for 5 mins. Murphy has given me something to look forward to everyday, and I am happier and healthier (from lots of play time with Murphy!) and much less lonely. I’m so pleased I joined and I was so surprised how quickly and easily I found my perfect little pal.

Murphy's borrower, Olivia from Sheffield

Finding a friend for your furiend!

And finally, but most impawtantly, it’s not just the two legged members who benefit. 44% of owners said their dog is happier after spending time with a borrower. A happy dog, happy borrower, happy owner!

Macey having a rest on a blue pillow
Owners should be aware of the huge benefits that BorrowMyDoggy can bring to their dog - the positive psychological impact on the dog is the biggest thing that owners won’t realise until they do it. Since signing up my Schnauzer, Macey, she’s more outgoing, trusting and she thinks the whole world is full of fun. She's more gregarious and confident through meeting so many new people. What’s so nice about BorrowMyDoggy is that it’s not about money, it’s about making other people and dogs happy. Everyone I’ve met through BorrowMyDoggy has been absolutely lovely and I’m very happy to share my dog with other people, when in return, I have a happier dog. BorrowMyDoggy is just a story of happiness - it does so many different things for so many different dogs and people. There is no one answer to it as it’s so diverse. It’s a lot like love. You don’t get poorer as you get so much back in return.

Macey’s owner, Birte.

A helping paw

Finding the pawfect work-life balance is about the mental wellbeing of yourself as well as your dog. We want to make sure it’s a woof-woof situation so you can gain all the pawsome benefits of spending time with a dog, while ensuring they are also being cared for in the best way possible. That’s where BorrowMyDoggy or Pets at Work can step in to lend a helping paw.

Mental health guides

The benefits of dogs for our mental health

Finding a work-life balance with dogs

Health benefits of BorrowMyDoggy

Mindfulness: a virtual dog walk

Testimonial on how dogs help with mental health

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