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Work stressing you out? Bring your dog to the office for relief

Rose Hamilton is EVP and Chief Pet Parenting Expert for Pet360, the leading network of online resources for pet parents.

Dogs are more than man's best friend; they're also our best colleagues.

dog at owners office

Photo credit: Dean Mitchell/iStock/360/Getty Images

While dogs may not be able to respond to important emails or make a presentation to your boss, multiple studies have proven that bringing canine companions to work could actually have significant physical and mental health benefits for employees.

According to the 2013/2014 National Pet Owners Survey from the American Pet Products Association, more than one million dogs are brought to work with their owners daily. And those pet parents are experiencing paws-itive side effects on a regular basis.

Here are four ways that bringing your dog into the office can actually improve your well-being.

1. Office dogs reduce stress

According to a study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, employees who regularly brought their dogs into the office were significantly less stressed than employees who did not. The study also noted big swings in employee stress levels on days when they did not bring dogs into work compared to days when they did.

So, if you're feeling completely overwhelmed by a particular project or you're having difficulty dealing with your workload, hang out for a few minutes with your pup to de-stress and unwind. It will help you gain perspective and regroup.

2. Canine co-workers encourage social interaction

Socializing and getting along with peers in the office is an important step to feeling happy and fulfilled at work. And dogs can help make social interactions between coworkers easier and more productive.

Research from Central Michigan University shows that when groups worked on collaborative projects with a dog in the room, the team members experienced higher levels of interpersonal interaction and self-reported satisfaction than groups without a dog present.

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3. Dogs make you move

A lot of office workers spend upwards of eight hours each day sitting sedentary at a desk. And if you're really busy, it's easy to forget to get up and take a break to get your blood circulating.

But having a dog at the office forces you to be active at work. Whether you're throwing a ball across the cafeteria or taking your dog on a walk around the office park, you'll spend time burning calories and getting exercise. That little bit of activity each day could add up to big rewards for your health over time.

8 Tips for Workplace Petiquette >>

4. Fewer sick days

Cold and flu attacks mean less time in the office and more time on the couch, covered with a blanket. And workers that call out sick often get caught in a vicious, stressful cycle of trying to play catch up when they return from bed rest.

However, owning a dog and spending time with your pup regularly can actually make sick days less frequent. People who live and work with dogs build up resistance to certain germs and bacteria and tend to visit the doctor's office less than individuals who do not own dogs. Fewer sick days translate to greater productivity, more work-life fulfillment and an increase in overall job satisfaction.

More on dogs

Tips for Take Your Dog to Work Day
Study shows dogs make us healthier
9 Effortless ways to increase your dog's quality of life

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