According to a 2012 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet. That means that millions of four-legged friends are sitting home bored each day with nothing to do but chew up your shoes and shred your custom curtains. However, you can do something about it -- and least for one day: Take your dog to work with you!
Pet Sitters International started the first "Bring Your Dog to Work" day in 1999 as a way to encourage pet ownership and pet-friendly workplaces. An estimated 300 companies participated in the inaugural year, according to PSI, with a growing number each year since. This year's designated day is set for June 22, 2012.
Still on the fence whether you should participate? Check out these benefits of having Skippy or Princess by your side while at work.
Dogs decrease stress
Having a dog beside you all day has been shown to decrease stress. It's not our opinion -- it's science. A study at Virginia Commonwealth University found that workers exhibited fewer signs of stress while their dog was there than when their dog wasn't.
"Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference," said principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business. "The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms."
Of course! It's hard to get worried about those cost-benefit reports when those puppy dog eyes are staring up at you.
Dogs encourage interaction between coworkers
Admit it: Some days you'd rather send an email to Bob in accounting instead of walking the 15 feet to his cubicle. However, this sort of anti-social behavior actually creates more feelings of stress and isolation at work. Put Fido in the mix, and you're bound to have friendly conversations with people you wouldn't have talked to otherwise, leading you to feel better about your day. Plus, you know that cute guy in sales? Now you totally have a reason to strike up a convo with him -- and maybe even get a date. Dogs are great matchmakers, too.
"The effect of pets in reducing the impact of stress and enhancing communication found in other settings may extend to the workplace," said Barker. "Pet presence may serve as a low-cost wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support."
Dogs feel less stress, too
We joke about dogs chewing up your shoes while you're gone, but it really happens. Why? Dogs are pack animals and would rather be with you all the time. Bringing your dog to work lets him be where he wants to be -- with you. In turn, his anxiety goes down and he's less apt to take out his frustrations on your rug, your leather jacket, etc. Plus, you'll save tons of money because you won't have to replace those gnawed-up items -- total win-win.
Would you bring your dog to work if allowed? Share in the comments below!
More tips for dog owners
Create a natural medicine cabinet for your pet
How to keep furniture in good condition with pets at home
Why pets eat strange items