One of the best parts of the workday is coming home and being greeted by our furry and sometimes not-so furry friends. The unconditional love of a pet is one of life’s greatest joys– their positive energy and charisma seems to wash away all the minor frustrations that build up over the course of stressful days at work. This calming effect has been thoroughly investigated by behavioral and biological scientists, revealing that our pets do much more for our mental and physical health than you might think.
An interesting example of a direct health benefit of pet companionship is that dog owners show noticeably better performance in recovery from cardiovascular conditions. Research shows that pet owners admitted to hospital for an acute coronary syndrome have reduced cardiac morbidity and mortality up to one year after discharge.1 Additionally– in a much more general sense– having a pet may lead you to live a more balanced lifestyle, taking time out of your busy day to walk or groom your pet reduces stress and helps you get your daily exercise.2 Pets also provide significant mental health benefits as well. Studies also show that pet ownership decreases anxiety and increases feelings of social belonging as well as provide a therapeutic effect for those who suffer from depression and other disorders at all ages. 3,4
In the year 2020, “Take Your Dog To Work Day” looks a little different than usual.
With a large percentage of people now working from home, there remains only a very fine line between work life and home life. How then, can we take advantage of this newfound additional quality time with our pets without succumbing to some of the potential pitfalls of this new, unconventional situation?
If you’ve been working from home you may have already noticed and tried adapting to new problems, whether it’s that your dog comes and distracts you while you’re working or you cats meow incessantly while you’re on a Zoom call. Because your animals are used to you being out of the house all day, this is as new for them as it is for you! One of the best ways to deal with noisy or bothersome pets is scheduling regular, short break periods where you give them attention or take them on a walk, and then once they are satisfied make sure they have a nice quiet and dim place to take a nap. Not only will a tired and happy pet not bother you while you’re working, but regular breaks and time with your pets is just as good for you as it is for them!
Additionally, you could take this time to train your pet to be quiet or designate a new place in the house as their play area and give them plenty of toys to keep themselves busy.