By Princess Jones

Adding an office dog to your business gives off a laid-back, family vibe. But there’s more to making the decision than picking out the cutest pup in the litter. You’ve got to answer some basic questions about how an office dog will affect your business.

How Will People React?

Before you decide to bring in a company dog, just remember that your business depends on the people who work for it and who buy from it. You need to consider how they will react to the new addition to the family.

Not everyone loves dogs. Some people are allergic to them. Some are downright scared of them. If you decide to have an office dog, you’re effectively saying that anyone who can’t or won’t be around a dog can’t work for you or buy from you. That’s not a decision to be made lightly.

And beyond all that, depending on the type of business you’re running, municipal laws may prevent you from having a dog in your place of business. Let’s say you’re running a small bakery. Depending on where your bakery is located, there are health code laws you must follow. It’s possible that one of them says you can’t have animals in your prep area. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking of getting a company dog.

Who Will Take Care of the Dog?

Let’s say you’re not worried about how the people in your company will react to your dog. Maybe you have a small staff of devoted dog lovers and no clients/customers ever visit the office. Either way, you’ve got that covered. The next thing to consider is who will be taking care of the dog.

It’s not like you expect anyone to spend half the day tending to the dog’s needs. But, someone will have to take the dog out, feed it, and take it home at the end of the day. Dogs are a big responsibility and require frequent vet visits, reliable dog health insurance, constant exercise, and basic training. Who’s handling that and the expenses involved?

Will you assign one person to all of the tasks or divide them up amongst everyone? If the dog is technically owned by one of the owners of the company, it might be inappropriate for you to ask employees to take care of it. It might be a better idea for the person who owns the dog to handle all of the tasks.

Like any pack animal, a dog does best when it knows its rules and limitations. Depending on the nature of your business, you can give your office dog free reign of the facilities, but it also might be better to give it a specific area to roam. Is the dog allowed to be given treats and other food from everyone in the office or should those things only come from the owner? Again, these are questions you must answer before the dog’s first day on the job.

What Is the Company’s Liability?

Having a dog in the office isn’t all fun, games, and snuggles. Having an animal on the premises will likely change your company’s responsibility. If the dog bites someone or is involved in some sort of incident, what is your company’s liability in that situation?

You’ll probably need to speak to your insurance representative. There’s a good chance that an office dog needs to be included on your liability insurance. You may need to bring proof of vaccinations and breed to your agent. You should also speak to your legal representative about how to protect your brand and your assets.

Photo credit: Working in an office with a dog from LightField Studios/Shutterstock