With growing interest in the value of animal companionship to human health, and increasing business awareness of promoting work-based health innovations and improving employees’ feelings of support, there has been a rise in interest about allowing dogs in the workplace (e.g., “Take your dog to work day” initiative; Pet Sitters International, 2015). However, there is little scientific literature about the advantages or disadvantages of such practice to support decision makers. We report the results of an internationally promoted survey to assess perceptions of dogs in the workplace, promoted through a “Take your dog to work” initiative. Responses to four open-ended questions were analyzed for themes across 776 participants. Common barriers to allowing dogs at work included the suitability of the working environment (44%) and health and safety concerns (31.3%). Where dogs were permitted in the workplace, there appeared to be little regulation of this, with few formal policies in place (63.8% had no guidelines/policies). The majority of those surveyed believed their colleagues had no concerns about having dogs at work (63.3%); the main potential problems that were recognized included a dislike of dogs (16.7%) and cleanliness issues (6.7%). Respondents made generally positive comments about having dogs at work (43.1%), referring to specific benefits including increased social interactions and reduced stress and improved atmosphere of the office. The implications of these findings are discussed for businesses and the development of “dog in the workplace” policies.
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