Do's and Dont's of Keeping Pets in the Home Office

What do my Boston Terrier, 6-inch stiletto heels and a mojito have in common? They all make me really happy and yet none of them belong in my office. You see, my dog, Bacon, is crazy full of energy and, given the chance, he'd love to distract me from whatever I'm working on. So when I'm on deadline, Bacon's kicked out of the office. If you're not as steadfast on the no-dogs rule as I am, you can still set some boundaries.

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If you work from home, a pet can sometimes be a welcome distraction—kind of like having a neighbor in the next cubicle. But just like co-workers, pets can get really annoying really quickly.

Here's a few tips for keeping the peace:

  • DON'T allow pets in the office if you're about to take a phone call or Skype. Even silent pets can interrupt your business.
  • DO give pets plenty of chew toys in your office space. They're either going to chew on squeaky toys or your hard drive.
  • DO vacuum often. If your pet sheds even a little bit of fur or hair, it can get into the vents of your gear.
  • DON'T keep any of your office equipment on or near the floor. Even a heavy computer tower or printer should be up on risers in the presence of a pet.
  • DON'T keep any food or drinks on your desk. You never know what might pull you away from the computer, leaving your cats to spill your coffee all over the keyboard.
  • But DO keep plenty of food and water around for your pets and, if you have a pooch, walk your dog regularly. A happy (and quiet!) pet makes for a happy human.
  • DON'T keep the litter box in your office. It's convenient for kitty, sure. But it will stink up your office faster than a co-worker microwaving last night's fish dinner.
  • DON'T leave your computer keyboard unlocked in the presence of cats. Kitties love to walk and lay across the keys—ruining your presentation in the process. And while we're at it...
  • DO save often. Rule #1—with pets and in life.



(Images: Flickr user lisadragon under license from Creative Commons, Flickr user tofslie under license from Creative Commons.)