Risks of a Pet-Friendly Work Environment


The Dog Days-

The dog days of summer may be over, but in some offices, the dog days are just starting. If you’re an animal lover, few things sound better than a pet-friendly work environment. Picture it now, puppies in every corner, lunch time snuggles, and someone to play fetch with when you hit your afternoon slump.

Hold it, not so fast: While it’s true, that we’re pet lovers (one of our insurance experts even has snakes), we also know how important it is for you to consider the risks that come along with having a dog or other animal in the office.

Before you unleash your four-legged friend(s) on your employees, you should consider every angle. Read on to get need-to-know information about having a pet-friendly work environment:

Animals are Animals

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It can be hard to remember that your dog is, in fact, an animal, with animal instincts that are hard for them to ignore.

Even the best-trained dogs can be rattled, especially in a new environment with new people. If a dog were to feel threatened, attack and injure someone on your property, you may be slapped with a personal injury lawsuit.

Retail locations are even more liable if your store should allow a pet owned by a customer into your shop and another customer gets injured your retail location could be held liable. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the risk or not.

Some Environments Aren’t Good for Your Pet, and Your Pet Isn’t Good for Them

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Certain workplace environments should be pet-free period. Among them are food businesses, chemical labs, and medical facilities. These businesses should be highly sterile environments and having your pet there may cause contamination and other concerns.

Some environments are just as hazardous to your pet including construction and mining sites. These industries are particularly dangerous for your four-legged friend, so if you’re having a bad day and need your best friend nearby, stay home.

Not Everyone is Comfortable With the Presence of Animals

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Allergies are real, and pet allergies are extremely common among humans. Having a pet-friendly environment can help your employees feel happier and less stressed, but it can also make those who have pet-related allergies feel sick and unsafe.

An allergic reaction to a pet can include itchy eyes, rash, sneezing, coughing and breathlessness, which can cause even your best worker to feel sluggish and unproductive. Not to mention that animal allergies are considered to be a disability, which can leave you wide open for a lawsuit.

Besides allergies, some people are downright afraid of them or may not like them. We know it’s hard to believe that anyone could be afraid of your 5-pound Yorkshire Terrier, Sparky, but it’s more common than you would think.

So, before opening Noah’s Ark, make sure your employees aren’t allergic, afraid, or have a distaste for animals.

The exception, of course, comes with service animals. These animals are often a necessary part of a person’s life if they have disabilities or mental illnesses. If a person needs a pet to get through their normal daily activities, having them on site is law.

We’ve seen plenty of successful businesses run with a pro-pet office policy, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the issues at hand. Among all the listed risks above, animals can also be a distraction to your workers.

It’s up to your business to decide if the positives outweigh the risks involved with having your furry friends in the office.

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