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Working in a Dog-Friendly Workplace is the Cat’s Meow

Dogs at work

Working in a veterinarian’s office isn’t the only job that lets you interact with animals at work. A growing number of companies are allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. Currently, about 17 percent of U.S. companies allow pets in the workplace, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPA), and bringing dogs to work is more than just an indulgence—employees can actually benefit from the presence of man’s best friend.

Less Stress

Pet owners often worry about leaving their dogs at home unattended while they’re at work. It’s easy to imagine that bringing Fido to the office would lower the stress level of a dog owner, and a Virginia Commonwealth University study found that employees who are accompanied by their dog actually produce lower levels of cortisol, a stress-induced hormone. The presence of their dog forces people to get outside even for a few minutes instead of sitting at their desk all day, letting stress build.

And a dog-friendly office isn’t beneficial just for dog owners. Petting a dog is shown to naturally relax people, even if the dog belongs to someone else.

Longer Hours

The APPA study also found that 34 million working Americans think that bringing pets to the office would encourage employees to work longer hours. It makes sense that employees might be willing to stay later and finish a project if they don’t have to rush home to let the dog out. Knowing that their four-legged companion is content by their side may encourage people to put in some extra time.

Improved Morale

You might never stop to speak with that co-worker in the corner cubicle, but if she had an adorable Shih Tzu at her side, you might. Dogs encourage us to be more social and make friends with people we might not normally approach. PetMD agrees, saying that having dogs at the office strengthens work relationships and stronger work relationships lead to improved morale. When employees are invested in the well-being of their coworkers, they’re more productive and feel a higher level of job satisfaction.

Making It Work

A company has to maintain a work environment that’s safe and healthy for all employees, especially those who have allergies or are afraid of dogs. Safety is the key word when considering a pet-friendly policy for your office—safety for employees as well as pets.

You may also like: Pet Preparedness Plan.