Pets are more than just cuddly and reliable companions; a growing body of research suggests that pet ownership can actually boost our physical and mental health significantly, marking a new frontier of investment for organizations looking to bolster employee wellness benefits in the wake of COVID-19.
CNN recently broke down several studies that show a clear link between employee health and pet ownership and why embracing and promoting pet family-friendly policies and benefits are a win-win for organizations and their people.
Dog owners have better health outcomes
According to various studies cited by CNN across the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom dog ownership is associated with a 24% lowered risk in dying from any cause. Further, the American Heart Association tells them:
“Owning a dog (or other pet) may provide important social and emotional support and is a “powerful predictor of behavior changes that can lead to weight loss.”
But the article goes a level deeper to note that the benefits aren’t limited to dog owners. CNN spoke to Harold Herzog, a psychologist who noted:
“’I have a list of 10 health benefits [that] studies have shown pet owners have. Higher survival rates, fewer heart attacks, less loneliness, better blood pressure, better psychological well-being, lower rates of depression and stress levels, fewer doctor visits, increased self esteem, better sleep and more physical activity,’ are just some of the recorded benefits of pet ownership, Herzog said.”
Mental health benefits of pet ownership
The impact of pet ownership also isn’t limited in scope to the physical. For employers looking to help boost mental wellness as the pandemic rages on, promoting pet-friendly policies and workplaces can have a net-positive effect on your peoples’ mental health. The CNN piece cites Herzog again:
“‘Studies have shown repeatedly that people’s good mood increases and bad mood decreases around pets,’ Herzog said. ‘And so we know that there’s immediate short term benefits, physiological and psychological, with interacting with pets.’”
Does your organization have a plan to support the needs of pet parents?
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