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Can I bring my dog to the office or workplace?

Working with your dog is the dream of many owners who suffer from having to leave their dog at home. Although there is no formal prohibition, apart from certain exceptions, few people bring their dog to work. However, some professional fields are more suitable for this. The greatest tolerance in this respect is granted by private companies. It remains to be seen what exactly the collective agreement says and whether bringing your dog to the office is to the liking of all your colleagues. Let's find out.

Bringing your dog to the office: what does the law say?

Contrary to what nearly 8 out of 10 people think, French law only prohibits the presence of a dog (or other pet) in the workplace in very specific cases. In fact, the sectors where this is prohibited are the following:
  • Health establishments, except for therapy dogs that must be authorized by the HAS (High Authority for Health),
  • Companies in the food sector,
  • Public administrations.
In these areas, dogs are prohibited for reasons of hygiene but also for safety, and the law concerns both staff animals and those of customers and users.

Apart from these particular cases, the law does not prohibit the use of dogs in the office or in the workplace, with the exception of 1st category attack dogs, since their presence is prohibited "in premises open to the public and in public places".

Dogs in the workplace: ask your employer for authorization

Before coming to the office with your dog, you should check that the internal regulations do not oppose it. This opposition must be clearly stipulated. Otherwise, the employer cannot refuse to allow the dog to be brought into the office. However, it is preferable to ask for a written authorization. This way, things are clear.

At the same time, if the company has a Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee, the question of the dog in the workplace must be submitted by the employer to all the members of this CHSCT. The person concerned will only have to follow this advice. In addition, the employer is obliged to ask the owners of the premises for permission if he is only the tenant.

It is in the employer's interest to draw up a charter of good practices and have it signed by all employees. In this way, the employer will have the possibility of calling to order if certain rules are not respected. This charter can for example specify
  • The authorized days in the form of a schedule, for example, when several employees wish to bring their dogs to the workplace,
  • The areas that are accessible to dogs and those that are forbidden to them,
  • The obligation of owners to pick up after their dogs so that the area around the workplace remains clean,
  • The obligation, for all the personnel, to introduce within the company only clean, sociable, educated dogs, treated against parasites and up to date of their vaccinations.

Bringing your dog to work: respecting the opinion of your colleagues

Even if the employer authorizes the presence of a dog in the workplace, it is important to check with your colleagues beforehand. It is above all a question of respect because you cannot impose the presence of your dog on people who are allergic to it, who are afraid of it (cynophobia), or who are simply bothered by these animals. If you do not want the atmosphere in the office to deteriorate, it is better to show courtesy to your colleagues.

Bringing your dog to work: check your civil liability insurance policy

No one is safe from a hazard, and the dog can very well cause damage in the workplace or, even worse, be the cause of an employee's fall. It can also bite a colleague. In order not to get into trouble, it is best to check with your insurance company before deciding to bring your dog into the workplace, even if your employer has no objection. In this case, the owner of the animal remains solely responsible for any damage caused by his dog. It is better to be well insured so that the slightest damage can be covered.

How to manage your dog in the workplace?

The big day has arrived: employer, CHSCT, colleagues and insurer have agreed that employees' dogs can be brought into the workplace. However, this does not mean that there will be any trouble. Each owner must be able to manage things as well as possible so that the presence of a pet in the office does not pose any problem and does not encroach on working time. To do this, it is necessary to:
  • Make sure the dog is very social with everyone,
  • To be sure that he will not be unruly,
  • To bring the basket and the toys of the dog so that it can occupy itself alone and not solicit its Master at all times,
  • To be able to give him food on the work place, which implies to bring his food, his bowl as well as his water bowl,
  • To educate the animal so that it is not constantly asking for attention and caresses from all the staff (or even from its owner),
  • To teach him to go out only at the time of the poses authorized by the Management and thus to be able to wait to go to make its needs,
  • To teach his dog not to bark,
  • To always have bags in his desk drawer to collect his waste,
  • To be in possession of his collar and leash.
Integrating your dog in your professional environment implies a real know-how. This is a common practice across the Atlantic, known as Pet at Work, and it is only just beginning to take hold in France, albeit rather timidly. The company that is the least shy about this phenomenon is the start-up.

The Pet at Work is known for the advantages it brings in the professional field. Going to work with your pet could reduce stress, strengthen contact between colleagues, and promote concentration. These advantages are only observed in people who accept the presence of a dog in their workplace. Those who are not comfortable with the presence of a dog in the workplace - and this must be respected - are on the contrary victims of stress and tend to isolate themselves. It is therefore essential to get everyone's agreement before bringing a dog into the office.