Growing demand for pet-friendly work environments

 Women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are staying single for a much longer period than they did before. Instead of children, have pets. Fluffy and Mom may be the new family profile.

Many employers want to attract millennials, and many of them look for pet-friendly work environments.

According to statistics, many dogs and cats are living in North American homes. According to the American Pet Products Association, in the United States, the number of small dogs weighing less than 25 pounds increased from 34.1 million in 2008 to 40.8 million in 2012.

There are an estimated 8,8 million cats in Canada and 7,6 million dogs. In the last ten years, dog and cat ownership has increased by around 10%. About 41 percent of Canadian households have at least one dog, and about 37 percent have at least one pet cat.

We see more and more pets in public spaces. Some owners claim that their animals are service dogs who help them to cope with anxiety. We take them to restaurants, shops, and on vacation.

A woman from New York tried to take her pet peacock as a service animal on a recent flight. This right was denied to her for obvious reasons – the huge wingspan of the pet peacock.

Pretty. Would it look as good sitting across from you on a Los Angeles flight? (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Pets are a big part of our lives, even if we don’t have peacocks.

Owning a pet can be a challenge, making it hard to balance family and work.

What happens to Fluffy when you leave for work? While cats and other animals can be self-sufficient in many ways, dogs require a bit more consideration.

Some pet owners can afford to hire dog walkers or to bring their dog to a doggie daycare. Some pet owners are lucky.

Like daycare centers, there are pick-up and drop-off times. Dog Services won’t report you if you are late. However, you may have to pay an overnight fee – which is not possible with children.

The Niagara Region has a number of doggie daycare facilities. (Niagara Pet Resort)

If you go with these options, owning a dog can be costly. You can also choose to go home at midday and walk your pet or ask a neighbor or friend to do it for you.

There’s a growing trend of taking pets to work to achieve a work-family balance.

Many employers use this perk as a new incentive to attract talent. After all, the war for talent is still on, and employers must compete in any way they can.

However, as a dog lover and an HR specialist from Canada’s Goodman School of Business for many years, I am aware that this issue raises other concerns. You may be violating the rights of other people because you love your pet. What if Fluffy is allergic to your coworkers? Are you afraid of your dog?

What happens when the landlord of the office prohibits pets on the premises? What if a client does not like your furry coworker when they come to see you? What if Fluffy wants to go for a walk in the middle of a meeting?

I am biased because, as a small dog owner, I would love to see dogs at work every day. Cats are a close second. What if your coworker wants to bring a snake or a rat to work? Or even the infamously grounded peacock.

What happens if your coworkers hate your cat? (Shutterstock)

What if your pet is noisy and annoying, jumps on everything it sees, or chews things that it shouldn’t? Animals can be stressful for those who don’t love them.

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