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The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Office – Interview with Dani Kahn from Trupanion

Pet-friendly workplaces are only becoming more and more common. And it’s no wonder considering the amount of time most people spend away from their pets, it makes sense to offer a perk that increases loyalty, productivity, and employee health within an office.

According to a study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital:

67% of employees and 81% of HRDMs agreed that [pets in the workplace] led to increased productivity; 82% and 91% believe it makes people more loyal to the company; and 86% and 92% say it decreases employees’ stress levels

I am lucky that I work in a pet-friendly office. While I don’t bring Rooney to the office with me everyday, I do have the flexibility to have him with me before and after his doggy daycare sessions. Not only does having a dog at the office decrease my stress, it also improves my daily activity. For example, on days that I take Rooney to the office, I often get 2-3 times the amount of steps as I would get on a normal work day.

Pet-friendly offices are so important for the future of employee and company health, that is why I am so excited to share with you this interview with Dani Kahn, Trupanion’s Pet Director, where we talk all about the importance of pet-friendly offices and how to effectively implement a pet-friendly policy. Enjoy!

Do you think it’s important for a company to be in a pet-friendly area in order to create a pet-friendly work environment?

While a pet-friendly office can be anywhere, Seattle, where Trupanion is based, is very pet-friendly and that definitely adds to the pet-friendly culture in the company.

How can a company begin the process of becoming more pet-friendly?

NOTE to all the startups out there! 

If you are part of the leadership team in your office, it’s important to note that you will have more success with a pet-friendly policy if your company implements a policy from the beginning. Once employees start to bring pets with them to work, it’s difficult to establish rules and guidelines.

How do you manage dog behavior in a large office with so many dogs?

Managing dog behavior in an office as large as Trupanion’s with nearly 300 dogs is a full-time job. To be successful with a program as big as ours, it is imperative all pet owners take personal responsibility for their pets and follow our pet guidelines.

We anticipate certain etiquette for the pets in the office, and although we do not dictate the way team members train their pets, we expect pets to be well-behaved while in the office.

Education is key to success for us as most of our teams have strong animal husbandry skills. Having resources available for team members struggling with a specific issue, along with sharing our own personal successes with training methods, has proven effective time and time again.

Here are some tips for successfully managing a pet-friendly office:

  1. Keep dogs on leash in common areas
  2. Keep lines of communication open – make sure that employees feel comfortable discussing their pet’s behavior with other employees and that people know where they can find more resources.
  3. Educate on pet behavior: This is particularly true for breed specific behaviors. If employees aren’t aware of common herding breed behaviors (whether or not they have a herding breed), this is important information to share with the staff.
  4. Keep in mind that pets are smart and often adjust to a new environment and schedule within 2 weeks of regular visits to the office.

Do you believe that having pets in the office has a positive affect on employees? 

The impact having pets in the office has on employees goes far greater than words can express. Having pets in the office creates a warm inviting environment, reduces stress in everyday work, brings humor to heavy meetings, and eliminates the rush to get home at the end of our day.

Rather than sit in traffic, we go for a walk with several other teammates and their dogs, we can go to the dog park and play, we can stay and do agility classes or show dog training with others in the office.

Americans spend so much of their time in an office and having our best friend and companion right there next to us in the space really makes a difference.

Here are a few other perks of having pets in the office:

  1. While the work that Trupanion does is so important, it can often be an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes people are calling to establish pet insurance with their new puppy, other times people are calling because they have had to save goodbye to their pet. Dogs in the office provides comfort to Trupanion‘s employees.
  2. Pets create an environment that feels like home.
  3. Employees save money on the costs of daycare and dog-walking.
  4. The flexibility associated with a pet-friendly office increases employee retention.

What benefits does Trupanion provide for their employees as part of being a pet-friendly office?

When designing our new office space in Georgetown, pets were one of the top priorities for us. We chose flooring that was slip resistant, anti-fatigue, stain resistant, easily maintainable, and looks professional all in one.

We have two indoor dog lounges for off-leash play, lab services including discounted internal parasite screenings, discounts with local vendors in the pet industry including boarding, grooming, food and travel.

Each team member is provided a Trupanion pet medical insurance policy for a personal pet. In an emergency, the pet emergency response team of licensed vet technicians and a veterinarian on staff can evaluate, and stabilize if needed, to mobilize to the pet to the nearest emergency center.

Other partnerships include pet blood drives, training, first aid and CPR, internal educational programs on pet behavior, service dogs, and multiple other topics available to team members.

Trupanion also has a team of 7 corporate dog walkers that offer a personalized dog walk for each pet every day.

I continue to look for additional benefits to add to our program as team members live all over the Puget Sound and it is important to me to have benefits available in areas close to home for our remote workers to enjoy as well.

A few other features include:

  1. Hooks on employee desks so that dogs aren’t wandering about the office.
  2. Temperament flags: Because every dog is evaluated for behavior and health, the company’s flag system allows other people to know how friendly a dog is, and if they have allergies or medical conditions.
  3. Pet first-aid kits for minor injuries.

What should companies consider before they begin implementing a pet-friendly work environment?

Companies considering implementing a pet-friendly environment should envision the program and determine your policy prior to allowing pets in the office.

Having a thorough policy with clear rules and expectations from the very start will help you create an amazing foundation for the pet behavior in the office. Adding rules as you go with issues that happen are difficult for everyone, and knowing what is acceptable from the start will keep harmony amongst team members as well. Educate your employees with the very basics of human/dog etiquette for the success of the pets and the people.

Who will manage your pet benefit? It is very important to have one designated person managing your program for consistency. My role is part of human resources with support from each team lead to manage our office pets.

Some other questions to consider:

  • What vaccines will you require?
  • What testing will you require for pets if any?
  • Who is responsible for any damage to property or other pets in the office?
  • What resources do you have available for the benefit?
  • Do you have any known limitations or restrictions?
  • Does your floorplan allow for gates to be installed to allow pets to be off-leash in their area but not in shared spaces if there will be restrictions?

For more information please check out Trupanion’s Pet-Friendly Office Checklist.


What is the process for bringing your dog into the office as a Trupanion employee?

All team members at Trupanion attend a New Hire Orientation upon starting with us that includes a 45 minute introduction to Trupanion pets in the office.

After the team member has successfully completed their training, they are able to complete the pet application which includes a signature line from their manager to agree the member is meeting production and able to have a pet in the office. The application includes proof of current vaccinations, a negative fecal in the last 6 months, a liability waiver, and a photo of the pet for the pet management software system so our dog walkers can identify the pet.

The team member is then scheduled for a 30 minute application review meeting with me and we discuss in more detail the expectations of them having a pet in the office and what they can expect from me.

The next step is to have the pet come in for the first day in the office. We meet in a dog lounge where a thorough pet evaluation is completed, including an introduction to a neutral dog, and introductions to any other dogs that will be working in the same area. It is imperative they all meet in a neutral zone to avoid territorial reactions. I issue a temperament flag to each dog in the office that must be worn on the pets leash while in the office at all times. This allows others to know if it is safe to approach or if they should slow down.

All team members work together to aid in the success of each pet in the office. I typically check in with new pets in the office for the next few weeks and certainly in passing to see how everyone has adjusted. If there are questions or concerns, team members are encouraged to reach out to me anytime for help.

I want to thank Dani for taking the time to share this amazing insight with MKHP readers! I assume that if you live in the Seattle area, you are already looking for jobs at Trupanion!

Share in the comments below your thoughts and experiences with a pet-friendly office!

Every Pet Parent’s Best Budgeting Friend – Pet Cost Calculator

While bringing a pet into your home is most definitely a emotional decision, it is also a financial decision. Knowing the costs of caring for a pet are important for budgeting and preventing potential financial predicaments. Unfortunately, the costs of a pet, especially over the course of a year, are difficult to determine.

That’s why today, I am really excited to share with you the Pet Cost Calculator that was created by The Simple Dollar.

Throughout my time spent at the veterinary hospital, it became clear that few people budgeted for their pet’s costs. As a result, the veterinary staff would often get an ear full when we suggested treatment for a sick pet. However, when someone had budgeted for their pet’s expenses, the conversations were stress-free and we were able to provide the optimal treatment.

But how can you possibly prepare yourself for the financial surprises associated with pet parenthood? First, you need to completely understand the costs associated with a pet. Then, you need to analyze the variables of those costs based on the breed and size of the pet you are adopting. And lastly, you need to financial prepare.

Costs Associated with Pet Parenthood  

In my experience, pets will cost the most in their puppy years, and in their senior years.

The Simple Dollar breaks down the costs of pets into a few specific categories. Each of these is dependent upon the size, breed, and age of your dog at the time of the adoption.

  • Acquisition Costs: For example, when we adopted Rooney, his adoption was $200. But as soon as we adopted him we spent another $100-$200 buying supplies.
  • Medical Costs: Throughout Rooney’s time with us, we have paid for the following treatments; slipped-disc, atopy, ear infections and an allergic reaction to a spider.
  • Routine Medical Costs: This category includes vaccines, flea and tick medication, heartworm preventative, dental care, and spay or neuter costs. For Rooney, we probably spend about $200-300 per year on preventative medicine as of now. However, I anticipate this cost going up as Rooney ages and needs more dental care.
  • Grooming Costs: Rooney doesn’t need regular professional grooming, which is great! But, we did get a FURminator to properly groom his undercoat, and Rooney gets soothing shampoos and conditioners due to his sensitive skin and allergies.
  • Food Costs: Rooney eats premium Petcurean dog food, but he doesn’t each much because he is only 30 lbs. If a Lab were to eat the same food Rooney does, the annual cost would be much higher.
  • Equipment Costs: While we immediately knew what to buy Rooney when we adopted him, we have invested in a few other items over the years. For example a new crate, a car seat cover, and a set of stairs.
  • Training Costs: Many people think that training is only for puppies. However, training is a great way to build a strong relationship with your pet AND is excellent mental stimulation for a smart breed like a Corgi.

One category that is a cost for us is daycare. My husband and I both work full-time and since Rooney is a herding breed, he needs above-average exercise during the week.

Every Pet Parent's Best Budgeting Friend - Pet Cost Calculator

How to Financially Prepare – Pet Cost Calculator

Some people might be thinking to themselves,”I will always be surprised by emergencies, so why should I consider a budget in the first place”. If this is your line of thinking, I would argue that budgeting for the above costs associated with your pet will help you better prepare for emergencies. Additionally, there are options that you can invest in as part of your budget that can help mitigate surprises.    

Pet Insurance 

My husband and I signed Rooney up for Trupanion the moment we adopted him. Pet insurance saved us money when Rooney suddenly slipped a disc in his back and for his yearly allergy treatments.

Pet Savings Account

If you choose not to protect your dog with pet insurance, I highly recommend you at least put away a little money each month into a savings account for your pet.

Adopt Don’t Shop

When puppies and kittens get sick and their parents have just spent $5,000 purchasing them, they were often upset to find out they needed to pay for treatment (plus vaccines and a spay/neuter). However, if you adopt a dog or cat (especially one that is over 1 year old), the costs of a spay/neuter and vaccines will often be included in their adoption fee, which in my experience has been anywhere from $100-$300.

Can you afford a pet?

I can’t tell you how much I wish everyone considered the costs of their pets outside of the initial purchase. Because I have seen so many pets re-homed due to finances. If you or a friend are considering bringing a new pet into your home, please use the Pet Cost Calculator to financially prepare.

3 Ways to Bond with Your Dog – Petcurean

To close out the month of February, I thought we could discuss ways you can build a stronger bond with your dog. Providing us with some helpful information today is Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean. Michele provided us with some themes to share with our readers. For each of these themes, I will share with you Michele’s thoughts as well as my own.

Bonding. Live in the Moment.

“Pets are the kings and queens of living in the moment, and the best bonding experience we can have, is to meet them at that level. Share calmly in being joyous, playful, and relaxed, whatever positivity your pet is giving you in the moment. In times of stress, be your pets rock, and let them know that everything will be ok. If it’s quiet time, simply spend time doing what your pet responds to positively. For some, that may mean just sitting with them, and doing nothing else.

It’s important to remember that pets aren’t people, and their language and emotional needs are different. The best gift you can give your pet is to be truly present, by focusing all of your attention on them whenever you choose to interact. Now is the time to stop thinking about work, your schedule, your troubles, or tomorrow, and enjoy them at their level. If you’re stressed, your pet will often reflect your stress. Learn what they like and don’t like by paying attention to the small things. And respect that like people, they are all different. Some love closeness, some are more independent.” – Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean

On a daily basis, I know this means putting my phone down and spending some time sitting on the floor with Rooney. As part of our morning routine, I sit on the floor with Rooney and pet him for a few minutes before the craziness of the day begins. I also spend some quality time petting him as soon as I get home from work, often followed by a walk. When Rooney is scared or stressed (typically only when there are fireworks or if the smoke detector runs out of batteries), either my husband or myself sit with him and let him know that everything is going to be okay.

I feel like this topic is pretty intuitive for most pet parents, particularly if you read this blog. But, I think the important thing to remember, is that we want to connect and bond with our dogs on their terms. What do they prefer? What do they want to do when you get home from work? Here are some examples of ways my friends and family bond with their dogs:

  • Give them independence: Take them to a place where they can run off leash (legally and safely, of course) and feel the wind in their fur! This is particularly important for dogs who are naturally independent.
  • Make quality time the first thing on your list: For many pet parents quality time is best spent first thing in the morning. I know many pet parents who take their dogs for a sunrise walk, run or hike most mornings. Not only are they able to spend time with their pet relatively uninterrupted, but they are also spending time with them before work or other obligations get in the way.
  • Wind down with your pet: Conversely, some pet parents prefer to wind down with their pet right after work. I am a huge proponent of “winding down” after work. For me, this means exercise. If I can take Rooney for a run, walk, or hike right after work (which includes a lengthy commute), I am able to shake off the work day and reconnect with my family.
  • Train: Give you dog a job and provide them with the mental stimulation they need. Training is particularly important for working breeds and is an excellent way to bond with your dog.
  • Take them to work: For some pets, being with their people all day is the ultimate way to bond and connect. I know that this isn’t an option for every one, but I will have a follow-up post soon about how to create a pet-friendly workplace.

Bothering. Body Language 101.

“Learn to read body language, so your pet can clearly communicate with you, and respect what they are telling you in that moment. Remember your pet is fully present. Avoid giving affection when your pet is giving you a negative response. You do have the opportunity to change the experience to a positive one. So either change your approach to your pet, or back off.

Signs of annoyance include: Turning their head away in avoidance, lick lipping, lip curling, yawning when not tired, sudden sniffing of the ground, or a paw being raised. With cats, they often flick their tails, put their ears back, or get up and leave.” – Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean

When I originally read Michele’s input on this topic, I couldn’t really think of a time when Rooney seems irritated. However, upon further thinking, I realized that Rooney exhibits these behaviors primarily when he has FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or needs exercise. An example of FOMO would be when I put on my workout clothes and shoes, and Rooney thinks we are going for a walk, but really I am going for a long run first. During these times Rooney becomes vocal and doesn’t want to calm down initially. Additionally, if Rooney has yet to be taken for a walk that day (or to the dog park or hiking), he tends to be more tense at home. Therefore, I would add to Michele’s suggestions to read your dog’s body language for signs that they need exercise. Do they seem tense? How much happier would they be if you took them for a walk right now?

3 Ways to Bond with Your Dog - Petcurean

Kisses and Quality Time.

“Kisses are one way, but to a dog especially, showing love is often more about their loyalty and respect for you. Cats show love by wanting to spend time in your lap, or by interacting (such as giving head bonks). Ever see your cat give you a “slow blink”? That’s also a sign of pure love and is often referred to as “kitty kisses”. Next time you see it, try giving a slow blink in return.” – Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean

The point here is to really think about what quality time means to your pet. A few months ago, we wrote about PAW5’s challenge to give your pet a more enriched life. PAW5, outlined 6 different categories for enrichment for your pet; sensory, feeding, toys & puzzles, environmental, social interaction, and training. Each of these categories can improve the way you spend time with your pet, and your bond as a result. For example, instead of spending time petting Rooney when I get home, I should implement 10-15 minutes of training and playing with toys & puzzles. Pet parents with herding or other working breeds should definitely consider enrichment as a critical part of quality time with their pets.

Now it’s your turn! How do you spend quality time bonding with your dog?

Disclaimer: I am a Petcurean blogger. I was provided with food and compensation so that Rooney and I could provide our honest opinion. However, My Kid Has Paws only shares reviews we believe benefit our readers. Additionally, Petcurean is the food we feed Rooney every day. 

Wayfair Heritage Meals: DIY Dog Treat Recipes

Wayfair Heritage Meals: DIY Dog Treat Recipes

The great folks at Wayfair have sponsored this post, which is all about Heritage Meals! This series of posts sponsored by Wayfair was created to celebrate the culinary diversity of our nation! Since the focus of my blog is pets, I wanted to highlight one of California’s greatest culinary assets in the form of DIY Dog Treats!

Wayfair Heritage Meals: DIY Dog Treat Recipes

As a native Californian, I can’t tell you how proud I am of the high-quality produce we grow in this state. Especially, our California strawberries! Therefore, today I would like to share with you two DIY Dog Treat Recipes featuring California strawberries!

What You Need for Your Recipes!

For these recipes, you will need the following:

  • A blender (below I have selected two blenders for two types of budgets)
  • A baking sheet
  • A serving dish for your dog
  • An ice cube tray

Bakeware Nonstick Baking Sheets (Set of 2)

Bakeware Nonstick Baking Sheets (Set of 2)


Carved Paws Double Bowl Elevated Feeder

Carved Paws Double Bowl Elevated Feeder
Woodland Imports


Silicone Ice Cube Trays (Set of 4)

Silicone Ice Cube Trays (Set of 4)


Professional Blender with Single Serve Attachment

Professional Blender with Single Serve Attachment


Blender with Personal Jar

Blender with Personal Jar
Hamilton Beach
















Now, I will be honest, creating new recipes is not a talent of mine. Therefore, I looked to the very best dog cook book and dog blog that I know; Cooking for Sugar from Sugar the Golden Retriever.

Why do I LOVE Sugar’s recipes?

Not only do they incorporate my favorite fruit — the California strawberry. But they also are quick and easy to make! Not to mention, these healthy homemade recipes are an easy way to spoil your dog!

Banana Strawberry Ice Cream


  • Ripe Bananas
  • Strawberries


Cut the bananas into small chunks and cut the strawberry sin help. Freeze for 3 hours or 24 hours (recommended). Using a blender or food processor, blend the frozen bananas and strawberries. Mixture will be crumbly at first, then will have a creamy consistency.” – Cooking for Sugar

Strawberry Chips


  • 5 Large Strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Honey


In a blender, blend all the ingredients. Spread the liquid thinly on a baking mat. Bake it at 250 degrees for 1-1.5 hours.” – Cooking for Sugar

For more amazing DIY Dog Treat recipes, go download Cooking for Sugar here. Your dog will love you for it!

Disclaimer: I am a Wayfair Homemaker blogger, I am compensated for sharing my opinion and participating in themed blog posts. However, the opinions of this blog post are 100% my own. Additionally, My Kid Has Paws only shares information we believe our readers will enjoy. 

4 Things You Can Do for New Moms With Dogs – Petcurean

Recently, many of our friends and family members have been blessed with new babies. I noticed that when pet parents welcome a new baby into their home, it can be overwhelming. In addition to caring for the new baby, many pet parents find themselves trying to get their dog to adjust to the new housing situation, which is inevitably difficult and stressful. This got me thinking, if you know a pet parent who recently had a baby, you can help them in the months following a new birth. Here are some ideas:

Take Their Dog for a Walk

From my very limited experience, it seems like it could really help new parents to offer to walk their dog. Dogs are likely to feel cooped up and stressed when their parents have been at the hospital and will be spending a lot of time taking care of their new baby indoors. If you live nearby, offer to take their dog for a walk and see if they want to get out of the house as well. Fresh air can do wonders for a stressed household.

Give Their Dog A Bath

Or take them to the groomers! These are things that new parents might not have time to do as they adjust to a new sleep (or lack thereof) schedule. Additionally, new parents can take months to adjust, and it might relieve a bit of stress to know that their dog is well-groomed and cared for even though they are really busy.

Bring A Gift for the Dogs

Everyone brings a gift for the new baby in a person’s life, but don’t forget about the dogs! A new toy, interactive puzzle, or bone is the perfect thing to make a dog feel special! When my cousin’s baby was born last fall, my aunt remembered to bring toys over when she visited the family, and her dog was so happy!

When you are picking out toys for a house with a new baby, keep a few things in mind:

  • Pick out a toy that doesn’t squeak or make any excessive noise
  • Pick out something durable so that the new parents don’t end up with a mess
  • Consider an interactive toy; it’s likely that a dog in a new household will feel a little cooped up and stressed. Giving their dog an energy outlet is a great way to help them feel less stressed in their new environment.

4 Things You can Do for New Moms with Dogs

Bring Over High-Quality Dog Food – Petcurean

Often, people think to bring food for the humans, but what about the dog? Perhaps the new parents didn’t have time to get dog food right before the baby arrived. Or, it’s possible that they haven’t had much time to leave the house in the early months since the baby was born. Bringing over a bag of a high-quality food like Petcurean just might be the best thing you can do for new parents.

“Petcurean kibble contains every ingredient; every protein, carb and fat source, vitamin and mineral your pet needs to sustain and nourish its life.”

Not sure which recipe to bring over to the house? Petcurean has a Food Finder on their website that can help you figure out which kind of food would be perfect for their pet or their pet’s lifestyle.

Don’t live by a Petcurean retailer? Or, do you live far from the pet parents whom you want to help? Place your order on and have the shipment sent to their house! (Rooney’s recommendation is to add a few toys to the shipment as well.)

So, what do you think? Would it be helpful for someone to step up and care for your dog as you adjust to a new baby?

Disclaimer: I am both a and Petcurean blogger. I was provided with food and compensation so that Rooney and I could provide our honest opinion. However, My Kid Has Paws only shares reviews we believe benefit our readers. Additionally, Petcurean is the food we feed Rooney every day.