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Why you should take your dog to work

Photo courtesy of flickr user mhaw

If you work for Zynga, you can bring your best friend to work every day -- your dog, that is. Ditto for Amazon, Ben & Jerry's, Replacements Ltd, and a hundred or more other companies across the country that are recognizing the stress-reducing benefits of having a pooch to play with, look at, and stroke while working.

Typically, the pet friendly policies trickle down from the very top. The owner, in most cases, is a dog-lover and can't bear to be apart from his or her pet. As the owner of

Honeybee Gardens in Morgantown, PA, was quoted as saying, "I can't leave home without my two miniature dachshunds, and I wouldn't expect my co-workers to leave their beloved pets at home either." According to the Humane Society, there are numerous benefits to having dogs at work:

  • Improved staff morale and worker productivity. People don't mind working longer hours when they don't have to run home to walk their dogs.
  • Increased camaraderie among employees. They're a great ice breaker and can get conversations going between people who might otherwise not feel they have much in common.
  • Happier employees result in enhanced job performance.
  • Increase in sales reported by store owners who take their dogs to work
  • Dogs can serve as a crime deterrent.

Clinical psychologist Suzanne B. Phillips of Long Island University expounded on the benefits of pets at work:

Perhaps the research that informs us that petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol -- helps us understand why more and more offices have opened their doors to our furry friends!

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that having a pet is good for your health. One study found that having a pet lowered your risk factors for heart disease, and another found that dogs encourage more consistent walking and exercise.

Pets can also remind of us of how to treat each other at work. Dr. Phillips studied couples and found that partners are nicer to their pets then to each other. People always soften when talking to their pets and hardly ever get angry or hold grudges. It's a lesson we can take into the office as well, says Phillips, who reminds us to behave with our co-workers the same way we respond to our pets.

If you want to give it a go, tell your boss about Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 24th, a great way to test the waters. Or you can search here for a new job with a dog-friendly company or check out this list of dog-friendly companies in the U.S. Would you take your dog to work if you could? Does your company let you bring your pet to work? Tell us your dog tales below: