Take Your Dog

to Work Day research reveals Kiwis would take pay cut if they could bring their dog

A new survey of nearly 800 Kiwis unearthed startling news – just over half of those currently allowed to bring a dog to work wouldn’t move to a better job if it meant they could no longer do so! Further, almost one third of those whose workplace doesn’t allow dogs would take a pay cut if it meant they could.

Results from the Survey Monkey research, conducted by NZ pet insurance provider pd.co.nz, were released ahead of Friday’s ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’. The pooch-positive data highlights the benefits to both employees and businesses of dogs being permitted in the workplace.

Some respondents had dogs while others didn’t, but almost everyone (99%) believed there were benefits to a workplace allowing dogs in.

89% of all respondents considered being able to bring a dog to work as an employment perk and 90% said they’d consider free pet insurance offered by an employer to be a job perk too. 81% believed employers should offer “pet parental leave such as bereavement and ‘pet-ernity’ leave”.

The positives

Survey respondents believed having dogs in the workplace lifts team morale (78%), makes the day more entertaining (75%), calms the workplace vibe (73%), helps with team bonding (56%), improves team engagement (48%), makes employees more loyal (39%) and helps with staff retention (38%). A whopping 80% said it helps both the dogs and the owners avoid separation anxiety from each other.

Almost all the 49% of respondents whose workplace does allow dogs – domestic pets as well as assistance dogs – enjoy having them there (96%).

Employers of the 51% of respondents who aren’t allowed to bring a dog to work may be surprised to learn over three-quarters (77%) would be more loyal to them if they could BYO pooch. And, as mentioned earlier, almost one third (30%) would be prepared to take a pay cut if it changed their employer’s mind.

Three quarters (76%) of the dog owners who enjoy a yes-to-dogs workplace policy do take pup in with them, while 83% of dog owners whose workplace has a no-dogs policy would prefer to do so.

The negatives

Along with the many benefits noted, there were a few downsides to having dogs in a workplace environment – the main one cited as “accidents” on the carpet, followed by stolen lunches. In one case, sandwiches were devoured plastic wrap and all! However, employees generally saw the funny side and the guilty owners were quick to deal with their dogs’ mishaps. 

26% of everyone surveyed did feel having dogs in the office is/would be distracting, though not necessarily in a negative way. And as one pointed out, “No more distraction than making small talk with colleagues or taking unnecessary coffee breaks.”

Dogs on duty

Interestingly, 14% of dogs who enter NZ workplaces actually undertake office ‘duties’ on those days. Responsibilities include:

  • Giving emotional support to students.
  • Alerting employers if customers arrive.
  • Visiting the elderly and getting pats in a retirement home.
  • Sitting on a lap and listening to reading in a learning centre.
  • Educating people about dog safety.
  • Showing off agility and trainability skills.
  • When accompanying a probation officer: relaxing high-risk, aggressive and anxious people, and helping to open up conversations and build rapport.

The survey also uncovered interesting, funny and heart-warming stories. One respondent worked with a teenager with neurodiverse needs who was in a disability support learning class at school.

They said, “On Wednesdays, his teachers would let me bring my dog to school so he could bring her into his class and the kids could pat her. They loved her so much and it was incredible how kids opened up to her. One of the students barely ever spoke, and over the course of a few months of patting Juno every week, he was holding full-sentence conversations with me once a week. The power of dog!”

And if ever there was a reason for allowing dogs at work, it’s this one. A respondent often spotted a big German Shepherd in a small car in the work carpark and wondered why it was alone all day, apart from being walked at lunchtime.

They said, “I asked around and was told he was a retired police dog who suffered from severe separation anxiety and couldn’t be left alone at home, but couldn’t join his dad in the office as he wasn’t a service dog.  Apparently, the car kept him calm, but I felt so sorry for him and thought it would have been great for both dad and doggo if he had been allowed in the office.”


Media contact 

Leandri Smith – The Mail Room
027 365 9003 | [email protected]