Which Office Pets Are Right for You?

By Robert Half on April 18, 2016 at 4:30pm

Has your office gone to the dogs? If you’re speaking in literal terms, that may not be so bad: In fact, Robert Half research indicates that it's quite the opposite. In the survey:

  • 55 percent of human resources managers said that they think allowing pets in the office makes employees happier.
  • 37 percent stated their belief that pets in the workplace can increase productivity.

Even so, only six percent of the HR managers surveyed said that their office allows pets all the time. Another six percent welcome pets on certain days, like Take Your Dog to Work Day, and six percent permit small pets, like fish and turtles. 

If you're one of the lucky ones and work in an office that welcomes animals, you might not be aware that dogs are not the only option when it comes to pets at work. Other animals can also contribute to increased productivity, motivation and overall job satisfaction. Not only that, but office pets can also lead to a few more smiles around the workplace.

But with so many options for pets at work, how can you choose the right one for you and your workplace? Here are a few common office pets and some pros and cons to consider.


“Everything I know, I learned from dogs,” wrote the novelist Nora Roberts. Good-natured dogs can be helpful, loyal and determined. Dogs at work can also help you feel more relaxed and confident by their mere presence, putting you in a productive frame of mind.

But keep in mind that having dogs at work can require … well, a lot of work. Dogs need to have the right temperament and training to be among your coworkers throughout the entire day. And the environment needs to be right. Some office buildings don’t allow furry, four-legged creatures on the premises, no matter how cute and adorable they are. Read our blog post on the ins and outs of having dogs at work for more considerations you must keep in mind.


Cats often require less attention than dogs, and they’re typically less excitable, tending to roll with the changes in office tempo and tone. That can make them an attractive alternative when it comes to office pets. Having a mellow cat around can promote a sense of calm while simultaneously keeping you and other employees pleasantly engaged with work.

But as any cat owner knows, this pet often does what it wants to do. Don’t be surprised to find an office cat sitting in your chair when you return from a meeting — and refusing to move. Also be prepared to receive even more cat videos from coworkers.


If you sometimes feel like you’re going nowhere fast on the proverbial workplace hamster wheel, having one of these fuzzy critters in the office can serve as a literal reminder that things are better than they seem.

Your furry friend can serve as motivation to keep your career moving forward each day, even if progress comes in small doses. Look for new projects that stretch your existing skills and pursue ways to build new ones through training. Also be sure you’ve set career goals so you have something tangible to work toward.

Office pets are just one way to reduce workplace stress. Check out these 10 other ideas to relax at work.


If you’re one of those people who holds to the old adage that “slow and steady wins the race,” consider a turtle when choosing among possible office pets. Some prefer turtles and other reptiles, like lizards and snakes, to more traditional pets at work because it’s relatively easy to care for these animals.

Be warned, though: If a reptile escapes from its enclosure, expect to hear from nervous and frightened coworkers.


For those not entirely sold on the concept of pets at work, getting an aquarium could be the ideal first step. It’s been documented that watching fish swim around can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rates and improve moods. Not only that, but you’ll also always know where to find your office pets.


OK, so maybe you (or others in the workplace) aren’t quite sold on the idea of having dogs at work — or even fish at work. That’s OK. There’s another option: plants. Having plants in the office offers many of the same benefits as having pets at work, along with healthier air. One study also found increased creativity in offices with flowers and plants.

Pet rocks

If living organisms aren’t your things, consider one more entry on the list of office pets: the trusty pet rock. Everyone’s favorite ’70s novelty requires little care and attention, and you never have to worry about taking it outside or cleaning its cage. Best of all, it’ll help hold your papers down.

Has your office gone to the dogs, metaphorically speaking? If you’re looking for a change, send us your resume and open the door to greener pastures.

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