All Things Dog

Taking Your Senior Dog to Work

Taking Your Senior Dog to Work

Though senior dogs are usually mellow, they can also be set in their ways—and a totally new environment and experience may distress them.

A dog can bring smiles and joy to a workplace, and help to eliminate the workday blahs. Feeling uninspired and overworked? A break with an eager-to-please, happy-to-see-you pooch can be very therapeutic. But, if the circumstances aren't right, your fun day out with your senior dog could backfire.

Before you head out the door with your older dog en route to your job, here are a few things to consider:

Know your company's dog policy. Some places of business simply don't permit dogs on the premises. This could be because they violate health codes or because the management feels they may prove a distraction—or a mess. So check your company's policy regarding visiting dogs before you bring him with you.

Consider your senior's personality and training. How well your dog reacts to your work environment will depend on his overall personality and training. Though senior dogs are usually mellow, they can also be set in their ways—and a totally new environment and experience may distress them.

Think of your dog's needs. If you take your dog to work, be sure to bring his food, bowls, and toys. You may also want to bring his bedding or crate. And, because accidents happen, pack whatever you may need to clean up after your old friend. If your senior dog becomes overly nervous in this new environment, your office's floor may be the first to find out about it. And if your older dog has special health concerns, you will need to take these into consideration: Will you have time to take him outside frequently enough? Are there suitable places outside where he can eliminate? Is your office environment calm enough for a senior's sensibility? Will your older dog be able to comfortably navigate around your office? (Stairs and hard/slippery floors could pose a problem for some seniors.)

Be considerate of your co-workers. Okay, your company says it's fine to bring your dog to the office, but that doesn't mean your co-workers are in agreement. Even if they love dogs, they might find his presence too distracting. And if a co-worker is allergic to dogs, your plan may be a no-go from the start. So check with your co-workers and make sure they consent to the visit.

Transport your dog safely. Let's say your company and your co-workers all agree that it's okay for you to bring your senior dog to work. You still have to get him there. If you drive to work, this may not be a problem because your dog is probably accustomed to riding in your car. But if you use public transportation, there might be a problem. Check with your local public transportation agencies for their policy. And remember, older dogs may have a hard time—emotionally and physically—riding in buses and trains.

Get him started part-time. If your dog hasn't been to your workplace before, you may first want to try it out on a part-time basis: bring him in for a half-day and see how he reacts to your workplace. If he seems to be enjoying himself and behaving in an office-appropriate way, you can make his next appearance a full-time job, one that lasts all day.

If all these factors are taken into consideration and you have everyone's permission, your senior dog may now be ready for a fun adventure at your office. And you—and your co-workers—will discover the fun and inspiration a canine visitor can add to your workplace.

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