Many pet owners enjoy taking their pets everywhere, including having their pets spend time in the workplace. Service dogs have the legal right to travel anywhere their human companion does, including restaurants, airplane cabins, and doctor’s offices. However, there are some downsides to having pets in the workplace environment that the savvy business owner should consider before allowing dogs to spend time among clients, customers and employees.
Allergies and Asthma
Millions of people suffer from allergies and asthma, and pet dander is a common trigger for many allergy sufferers. By introducing pets in the workplace, employees with allergies and asthma may be placed in the difficult situation of suffering medical side effects from the presence of pet dander.
A friendly dog who is comfortable in the home environment may not be so relaxed in the workplace. Coworkers, clients, and other pets may provide a constant distraction that can make an otherwise calm dog become anxious or fearful. Dog-owning employees who are busy with work may not pay close attention to the stress signs or the wandering office dog who is suddenly surprised by a visiting child, another dog or a new co-worker.
Animal behavior can be unpredictable, and even the most social dogs can be startled or put in a situation where they feel threatened. Any dog who is anxious or threatened can bite, and in a busy office environment, the warning signs of a stressed dog may be unseen until the dog reacts with snapping, barking or biting.
Dog Training and Certifications
The average house pet has little to no training and may be unreliable or unresponsive to obedience cues. A certification program called Canine Good Citizen has been used in some situations to qualify dogs for a successful lifestyle in an urban apartment or a busy workplace. A therapy dog has been trained and certified for success in hospitals, schools and nursing homes. Dogs with these certifications may be good candidates for spending time in the workplace; however, a certification is not a guarantee of the dog’s behavior.
Legal and Insurance Issues
If you are an employer, it is important to keep in mind that you could potentially be held liable for any pet-related injuries, including triggering allergies or injuring a person or another pet. Even with a strictly enforced pet policy, you are possibly taking a risk by allowing pets in the workplace. Additionally, if you have not disclosed the presence of pets to your business insurance provider, you may not have coverage under your current insurance policy. If you decide to include pets in the workplace, it is important to carefully discuss it with your insurance agent.
Author Bio: Sara N. Larson has many years of experience as a Auto Insurance and broker in multiple states main focus Auto insurance San Diego. Presently, she is working with American TriStar Insurance Services. Employing her experience in this field, she shares her insight on various aspects of auto insurance in her writings.