Paws for Thought: Why Allowing Dogs in the Office is a Good Idea

Having a ruff day? Research has shown that canine colleagues can improve staff wellbeing and productivity
May 25, 2016 10:30 AM ET

Promoting Pets at Work - Nestlé Purina believes that when people and pets bond, life becomes richer.

Earlier this year, Nestlé Purina launched its ‘Purina in Society’ commitments for Europe, a set of ten comprehensive initiatives to help create a world where people and pets can be better together. ‘Pets At Work’ is one of these initiatives and focuses on promoting pets in the workplace to help make pet ownership easier and more accessible. Modern life means that more and more of us are working longer hours and have less social time. Purina wants to support people so that they are able to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership in the ever-changing world in which we live. Having pets at work is one of the ways in which people can enjoy the companionship of their pets. ‘Paws for Thought’, a recent article published in The Guardian, takes a closer look at the many benefits of allowing dogs at work.


In the large lobby of Nestlé’s corporate headquarters not far from Gatwick, Max, Reggie and Bella are sniffing each other. This is not an unusual sight in the glass building, especially at lunchtime. “You can see they’re all friends,” says Odette Forbes, head of media relations, as the three circle each other, tails wagging.

It’s been 16 months since Nestlé began allowing its 1,000-plus employees to bring their dogs into its City Place headquarters daily. So far, 56 staff have chosen to go through the company’s three-step “pawthorisation” process. This involves a detailed questionnaire about their dog’s habits and behavioural evaluations, both at home and in the office, by an independent dog specialist. The dog then joins Nestlé’s PAW (Pets at Work) programme and gets its own “passpawt”.

Employees can choose to bring their dogs (AKA canine colleagues) to meetings in designated dog-friendly rooms or let them off the leash in the newly created garden, Central Bark. Most of the time, however, the dogs lounge around on large cushions, chewing on company-provided toys and treats, their long leads fastened to metal hoops in the floor by their owners’ desks. “It’s like having a member of your family in the office,” says Forbes, owner of Reggie the beagle. “There’s something about it that feels so right.”

Nestlé owns Purina, the pet food brand, so presenting the company as dog-friendly is good PR and attracting animal-loving employees makes business sense. 

Click here to continue reading on The Guardian