Safety Considerations for Pet-Friendly Offices

If you welcome pets at your office, you’ll want to make sure you try to provide a safe environment for them. Keep these considerations in mind.

Décor

  • Evaluate the safety of your space at pet-height. Are there any exposed hazards or sharp edges that might be a danger for them?
  • Make sure electrical cords for décor and other equipment are well tucked away or covered so pets can’t chew on them.
  • If the office has curtains or blinds, make sure the pull cords can’t be a chewing, choking or strangling hazard. Trim and/or roll up cords and include a tie-down so they are inaccessible to pets.
  • Avoid decorations that have small or dangling parts that might look like a toy to pets and could be chewed or swallowed.
  • Put art, mirrors, signage and other items high on walls where wagging tails and jumping paws can’t reach. Make sure they’re attached securely to minimize the chance that they could be dislodged and fall on pets or people.
  • Skip delicate or free-standing sculptural items that could be knocked over.

Avoid Pet Poisons

  • Be sure all plants at your business are safe for pets. Check the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants to make pet-friendly choices.
  • Educate employees about never leaving people food, such as a cup of coffee or chocolate snack, where pets can reach them. Many foods that are safe for people — including nuts, grapes, raisins, caffeine and chocolate — can be harmful for pets.
  • Be cautious with fragrance. Essential oils and liquid potpourri can be dangerous for pets. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be toxic. Always keep these items out of pets’ reach.

Cleaning Practices

  • Be sure your employees, facilities and/or custodial team members use pet-safe cleaning products and that these products are inaccessible to pets.
  • Ensure trash, recycling and compost bins have secure lids or are not accessible by curious pets.
  • Wash pet water bowls frequently to stop the spread of germs. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are better than plastic, since plastic can get scratches that harbor bacteria. Plastic also can be chewed, with pieces breaking off and becoming a choking or health hazard.
  • Consider offering a paw-cleaning station at entrances to help prevent muddy or wet floor surfaces that could contribute to slips or falls.

Outdoor Spaces

  • Always mark any areas of your business that have recently been treated with pesticides, fertilizers or de-icing salt, since these can be toxic for pets. Ask your service provider to use pet-friendly options.
  • Just like indoors, make sure plants and mulch in any outdoor spaces are not hazardous to pets.
  • Make sure shade and water are easily accessible in outdoor spaces, particularly in warm weather.

Emergency Readiness

  • Make pets part of your business’s emergency evacuation plan and staff training.
  • Require pets at the office to be microchipped and wear a collar with an ID tag. These make it much more likely that a lost pet will be returned.
  • Post information on the nearest veterinary hospital in an easily accessible spot in case of immediate needs or questions.
  • Alert first responders about pets in the area during any emergency situation.
  • See more emergency considerations in our Pets Welcome toolkit.

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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