How Pets Enhance Productivity And Well-Being In Work And Life

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May 3 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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There’s something about animals that captivates us. Being intelligent, funny, and fascinating, they can be the source of hours of entertainment in person, on social media, and TV. But being entertaining isn’t the sole reason 66% of U.S. homes have a pet. Animals also improve our lives with their presence, leaving us happier and healthier.

Since it’s Be Kind To Animals Week, the timing is perfect to explore how the benefits of having a pet whether in your home or at work. As we dedicate this week to promoting kindness, compassion, and humanity toward animals, let’s take a look at their positive impact on our lives:

1. Having a pet can help you cope with stress.

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Source: Pexels

No one likes feeling stressed or anxious. It makes you irritable, nervous, and less likely to have positive interactions with others. Curling up with a dog or cat can be very comforting when you’ve had a stressful day and need to unwind.

Research from Washington State University supports the idea that interacting with animals helps with stress reduction. Interestingly, making eye contact is enough to lower cortisol levels and increase oxytocin. You don’t necessarily need to pet an animal to feel soothed but it can be hard to resist.

If you can’t have a pet or don’t work in a pet-friendly environment, there are other ways to interact with animals for stress reduction. You can volunteer at an animal shelter or spend time with your pet-owner friends.

2. You can increase your physical activity.

A study by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) revealed that employees with pets exercise more, which improves overall physical health. Pet owners exercised 3.5 days per week compared to 2.8 days per week for those without pets.

Physical activity is effective at relieving stress and improving your mood. Walking your dog not only strengthens your body, it can also help settle your thoughts.

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3. Taking on a pet can help enhance life purpose.

Pets require daily attention and care, meaning you can’t spend all your time working or vegging on the couch. Research has linked this social aspect of pet ownership to giving people a sense of purpose. Knowing your pet patiently waits and will be overjoyed to receive attention from you is a great motivator for leaving work at a reasonable hour or getting off the couch.

4. There are benefits linked to focus and connection to work.

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Source: Pexels

It’s frustrating feeling distracted or disconnected from your work. Time seems to slow down, your brain feels sluggish, and you can’t wait to finish for the day. 

The HABRI study found that focus, engagement, and cooperation/communication with others improved in pet-friendly workplaces. More than 90 percent of employees felt engaged with their work, compared to 65% in non-pet-friendly workplaces. When engagement is high, productivity also increases.

While not everyone works in a pet-friendly environment, having a pet at home can offer similar benefits, especially for those working remotely. Many of us have heard stories of pets joining Zoom meetings or drawing attention in the background. They serve as great icebreakers and can lighten the mood, leading to better conversations with coworkers.

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Marta Kargol
By: Marta Kargol

Marta Kargol is a former educator turned freelance copywriter who brings a unique blend of storytelling and clarity to her writing. She believes effective communication shapes ideas and focuses her efforts on finding creative ways to simplify complex topics. Marta uses her writing skills to help small businesses and solopreneurs share their purpose with authenticity. She is passionate about education, self-improvement, work-life balance, and wellness, all aspects of a holistic approach to success in life. When she isn’t writing, Marta enjoys traveling the world to experience new cultures. Learn more at or reach out directly at

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