Facilities Considerations for Welcoming Pets at Work

To be a pet-friendly workplace, you’ll need to keep these facilities considerations in mind. Use them as you create your pets-at-work plan.

These are the must-haves:

  • Permission from your property owner, if you do not own your workspace. You may need to adjust your lease and/or change your insurance to accommodate pets. Also ensure that there aren’t any local laws or regulations that would preclude having pets at work.
  • At least one nearby pet relief area with a pet waste station and trash container that is emptied on a regular basis to control odors. If you are not near a public space that has these, you’ll need to add them on your property. Here are best practices to consider.
  • Signage that directs pet parents to the relief area and provides instructions for use.
  • An emergency plan that includes pets if evacuation is needed. This resource from our Pets Welcome toolkit helps with planning for any business.

Other considerations and features to include:

  • A pet-friendly water fountain with a refillable water bottle option for humans and a ground-based pet water fountain supports healthy hydration for all. If you can’t install a water fixture, have a plan for water bowls that are regularly filled throughout the day. Use ceramic or metal water bowls and make sure they’re washed frequently.
  • Have clean-up supplies available on site in case of pet accidents, and signage that tells pet parents how to use the cleaners and what other steps are needed, if any – such as alerting Facilities so accident areas can be sanitized.
  • Be sure that you can separate pet-friendly areas from any that need to remain pet-free zones, e.g., manufacturing areas, labs, places with sensitive equipment, areas where food is served.
  • Explore whether you need to add doors or half walls anywhere to manage where pets can and cannot go.
  • Consider ventilation upgrades to help minimize the spread of pet dander.
  • Consider increasing cleaning frequency, particularly in areas with soft surfaces such as carpet or upholstery, to which dirt and pet dander are more likely to cling.
  • Consider creating a pet care station or closet with supplies for cleaning up pets who get dirty outside, pet snacks and other pet-friendly amenities.
  • Offer walking paths or a suggested map for pet walks. The ideal path would enable pet parents to get a healthy walk and include the option to stop along the way for pet and people hydration and pet relief, if needed.

If you have the space, it would be ideal if you could also offer:

  • An dog exercise area, such as a fenced-in outdoor play yard or a large indoor space where dogs can play safely. Here are best practices for dog parks.
  • If cats are allowed in your program, you may want to offer a cattery – a room where cats can play together. It should include litter boxes, toys and other enrichment items such as climbing trees and scratching posts. Also consider a double door system so cats can’t sneak out as pet parents enter and exit.

Want more tips? Check out the PETS WORK AT WORK Toolkit for info about how to start and maintain a successful pet-friendly workplace program.

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