Could it be the way they nestle next to you at the first crack of a thunderstorm; how they make you laugh when you get a glimpse of their personality as they play with other dogs; or is it found in how impossibly adorable they look after having a bath? A new solution to workplace wellness may very well be right under your canine companion’s wet nose. Introduce man’s best friend to your workforce to motivate healthier behaviors.

Here are some of the health benefits linked to having a dog or just being near one:

  • Moving more: Dogs are a constant motivator for physical exercise, which decreases overall risk for heart disease.
  • Alleviating stress symptoms: Being around a dog lowers blood pressure in stressful situations. Studies show Alzheimer’s patients had fewer anxiety attacks when a pet was part of their family.
  • Being more social and reducing depression symptoms: Taking a dog out for a stroll offers more opportunity for social interaction, thereby decreasing isolation and symptoms of depression. (Just petting a furry animal – not just dogs – has been shown to help those with depression and other illnesses.)
  • Having fewer allergies: Having a dog around reduces the risk of allergies, asthma and eczema in children.
  • Healing faster: Heart attack survivors who have a pet live longer than those without one, which is why some health systems embrace pet visitation and therapy dog programs.
  • Helping with new research: The canine-human relationship continues to inspire intriguing research, such as exploring the scent capabilities of dogs to detect cancer, blood sugar drops, pre-epileptic episodes or seizures, and food allergies, which will lead to discovering further health benefits of having a canine companion.

Action Steps: Welcome dogs into your work environment to motivate healthy behavior

  • Host a dog adoption day. Just having a dog is healthier for your employees, so make it easier for your employees and Toto to meet.
  • Coordinate a dog-walking afternoon through your local Humane Society.
  • Invite dogs to work: Have employees sign up to bring their dog to work solely to reduce stress and improve health.