Pets At Work Scheme - PAWS

Pets At Work Scheme - PAWS

We have come together with our charity partner Purina in Ireland who have created a toolkit for companies to help implement a Pets At Work Scheme. The Purina scheme has enabled businesses in Ireland and the UK to successfully create a welcoming and safe environment for pets at work for almost 20 years now. With offices across the country reopening, following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and employers now welcoming workers back to the physical workspace, DSPCA and Purina are taking the opportunity to ask employers to consider a pets at work scheme and to extend a warm and friendly welcome to “canine colleagues.”

Did you know

In Ireland, pet ownership rates rose during Covid-19 as workers were able to balance the demands of working from home and caring for a new addition to their household. Furthermore, many cited the enormous physical and emotional benefits of bringing a pet into their lives, with their new arrival countering the loneliness and isolation owing to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, as offices now reopen workers are facing a new kind of dilemma as they deliberate on how to meet the demands of returning to the office and caring for their pet. The pain is also felt by pets, as DSPCA raises the point of increased stress and anxiety with animals now being left home alone, for long periods of the day. It's not ok to leave your pet alone all day long! Recent research conducted by the DSPCA found that 60% of people surveyed did not consider the levels of anxiety their pet would experience at a sudden change in the daily routine.

We can help

Our pets have become an integral part of our daily lives so as responsible pet owners you must have a plan in place for your pet when you return to work as leaving them at home or in the garden alone all day is not the answer. A change in routine can manifest in stress and anxiety for your pet. Allowing people to bring dogs to the office doesn't have to be complicated and there are solutions and guidelines at hand to help both employees and employers.

We can help you along with Purina to get ready through Purina's Pets At Work toolkit which provides a six step guide on how to introduce pets to the workplace in a gradual and phased manner. Updated guidance includes how offices can introduce a pets at work scheme whilst maintaining good hygiene and social distancing as well as responsible pet ownership guidelines and education and advice on workspace requirements. 

Findings from PAWS has shown that there are many benefits to having a pet at work, with employees citing an increase in productivity and socialisation, a greater degree of work/life balance and reduced stress while there are fewer financial outgoings on pet-care costs. Further to that, it has been shown to facilitate greater interaction among colleagues and increase morale among teams. There are also many positives for employers with pets at work helping to create a friendly atmosphere, building rapport,  engagement and attracting new talent.

6 Steps to a pet friendly workplace

1. Get both management and staff on board - Be sure to engage management upfront so you have full support from the top down. You need to take staff and managements attitudes, phobias and allergies into consideration and to always be respectful of them.

2. Your facilities - If you don’t own your facility you will need to check with your landlord/management company to make sure you can start a Pets at Work Scheme.

3. Work with management and staff to establish guidelines - Decide which types of pets can come into the work place and how many. One or 2 dogs or an office cat could be more than enough with employees and employers taking turns in bringing their pets in. Decide on the level of behaviours that is acceptable or not from the pets/owners. All dogs should be 100% toilet trained and an office environment could be very stress stressful for nervous or anxious dogs. 

4. Look at establishing areas that are either “pet friendly” or “pet-free” in your office.  You will need to provide space so that pets (and employees) can take a moment to stretch their legs. If a dog park is not feasible, consider a large grassy area that can be a dedicated safe space for pets to play. Make sure you get permission from Property Management if these areas are communal.

5. Make sure the guidelines encourage responsible pet ownership such as adding rules for clean up, providing healthy dog treats for people to give to pets and deciding where water bowls or litter boxes will go and where waste material can be safely disposed of both inside and outside the office.

6. Do the paperwork - Create an authorisation and release form for employees to sign. We suggest your company contact your legal representative to create a version that suits your company’s culture and needs.

How to find out more

To find out more about our Pets At Work Scheme and how to get involved please email You can also read more about the process HERE