In 2016, I was lucky enough to work in an office where dogs were welcomed and encouraged. It all started with the company’s dog, but soon, employees were bringing in their furry companions, too. With over 100 people in an open office, you can imagine the joyful chaos with dogs running around.

At first, it was a whirlwind. Dogs were taking over the place. But we all got together and chatted about the ups and downs of having dogs around. We came up with some ground rules, like setting specific times for dogs to be in the office and limiting the number that could be there at once.

Through this retrospective approach, we improved the dog-friendly office policies, which improved the already positive company culture and created a cozy office environment.

What are the Benefits of a dog-friendly office?

Having dogs in the workplace goes beyond having cute companions; it also helps create a happier and more connected work environment. In and around Melbourne, many more companies are now allowing employees to bring their four-legged friends to work, and the positive impacts are evident.

A More Relaxed Atmosphere

A study on “Dogs at the Workplace” showed that dogs can reduce stress, improve the work environment, and enhance social interactions. Petting a dog lowers blood pressure and decreases anxiety, making the workplace a much more relaxed environment.

Dogs need to be walked, which encourages employees to take regular breaks. Stepping away from the desk to walk a dog can reinvigorate employees and boost their concentration. Plus, it’s fun to fit a little exercise into the workday.

Increased Social Interaction

The same study showed that dogs often act as icebreakers, facilitating communication and social cohesion.

Dogs are natural conversation starters. They can also help bridge the gap between departments in larger offices where people may interact infrequently. This interaction fosters community and teamwork, which is essential for a productive workplace.

Improved Work Engagement

Another study looked into the common worry that dogs in the office might distract employees. Surprisingly, the numbers revealed the opposite. The study showed that employees who bring their dogs to work are more focused, energetic, and engaged. Those who bring their dogs more often benefit even more, showing greater dedication and absorption in their work.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Many companies promote their dog-friendly policies as a big drawcard to their culture. For dog owners, it solves the problem of leaving their pet at home alone all day.

Companies that welcome pets are often seen as more progressive and considerate of their employees’ work-life balance, making them more attractive to top talent.

Dog walking around office space

Things to Consider Before Going Dog-Friendly

Companies that have incorporated dog-in-office policies have done so with rules and guidelines. Although there are many benefits, the studies also highlight concerns such as allergies, phobias and the office environment. So, to adopt a successful dog in the office policy, there are things to consider before introducing dogs into your office:

  • Allergies and Phobias: Not everyone is comfortable around dogs. It’s important to consider the health and well-being of all employees. Make sure individual staff concerns are considered so that everyone is comfortable in the workplace.
  • Office Environment: Dogs might not suit all types of offices. High-stress environments or those with valuable equipment might not be the best places for pets.
  • Ground Rules: Clear guidelines should be established. This includes managing where dogs are allowed, ensuring they are well-behaved, and have all necessary vaccinations.

How have companies mitigated concerns?

Although these are valid concerns, many companies have implemented strategies to mitigate issues. These include:

  1. Designated Dog-Free Zones: Create specific areas where dogs are not allowed.
  2. Clear Policies and Communication: Establish and communicate rules about dog behaviour and areas they can access.
  3. Allergy and Phobia Accommodations: Provide options like air purifiers and separate workstations for those with allergies or phobias.
  4. Employee Training and Awareness: Train dog owners on proper etiquette and pet management.
  5. Feedback Mechanisms: Set up an anonymous system for employees to share concerns or suggestions.
  6. Voluntary Participation: Ensure dog interaction is optional and respect employees’ preferences.
  7. Trial Periods and Flexibility: Test pet-friendly policies with trial periods and adjust based on feedback.

Popular companies in Melbourne that have a dog-friendly policy

Many Melbourne-based companies have already embraced this trend with open arms. From tech startups to design studios, pet presence is becoming a common sight. Employees report higher job satisfaction and a more enjoyable work environment.


Amazon Australia’s Dogs at Work program allows employees to bring their dogs to work. More than 40 dogs in Melbourne are registered for office fun. A dedicated outdoor dog playground gives pups a chance to take a break, play, and stretch their legs during the day.

Melbourne Theatre Company

Melbourne Theatre Company is always a dog-friendly workplace. Very good pups of all sizes regularly join the human staff to provide cuddles, companionship, mental health benefits, audition tips, and photo ops!


Canva is consistently named one of the best workplaces in Australia. With 300 pets registered in Canva’s Australian and New Zealand offices, they even have a dog intranet where employees can keep up to date with their furry colleagues.

Mars Inc

Mars Pet Care’s division goes above and beyond, offering dog-friendly offices with dog-walking routes, playgrounds, dog-friendly meeting rooms, and activity areas.

They have stated, “Interacting with pets has been shown to improve productivity, reduce workplace stress, keep us active, and increase social interaction. Benefits extend to our four-legged friends, too. Allowing pets to spend the day with their owners, rather than alone, helps give them a more fulfilling life.”