What are the benefits of bringing your pet to work?
The pandemic has lasted over one year now, and a lot of us had to either work from home or go to school at home over that timeframe. As we start to return to normal, we are finding that some businesses are allowing us to continue to work remotely or permitting us to bring our four-legged friends to work. Dogs bring social support to employees while also providing opportunities for horizontal collaboration across departments that might otherwise not happen. The human-animal bond is something that has long been studied. It’s hard to look at your dog and not smile. Its presence only makes us happy. Why is that, you ask? Well, some of it is just that they are so darn cute and funny, but there is some science behind it, too.
Let’s talk about the science for a second. What happens to us internally to make the bond with our pet so strong? Studies have shown that multiple hormones are released when pets are around us.
- Oxytocin – This is a hormone that is released in the brain and causes increased maternal responses. It plays a role in socialization, helps relieve stress, and allows us to create strong bonds. Physical contact with animals allows release of this hormone and is shown to decrease anxiety and stress as well. This is where the therapy dogs and emotional support animals help people.
- Cortisol and Epinephrine – These are stress hormones that are released in both animals and humans when interactions occur. The release of these hormones can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and blood pressure.
Having animals around has been shown to produce the following health benefits:
- Can help the recovery from major orthopedic surgeries
- Decreased pain in fibromyalgia patients
- Increased socialization in children of the autism spectrum
- Improved moods and motivation in cancer patients
- Decreases blood pressure
- Increased survival rates in heart attack patients
- Decrease risk of cardiovascular events
So, keep your pets around and enjoy them while they help keep you healthy. You will also see improved health in your four-legged friends. In a 2016 survey of pet owners conducted by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership, and 75% reported that a friend’s or family member’s mental health had improved from pet ownership.og