9 Benefits of Taking Your Dog to Work

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iStock

There are lots of great reasons to participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day (mark your calendars! It's Friday, June 23). Taking down the "No Pets Allowed" sign and having an office where dogs are welcomed can benefit everyone. These nine reasons might just be enough to convince your boss.

1. EASY ICEBREAKERS

Coworkers, bosses, vendors, and clients in your office are not going to be able to resist saying hello to your canine co-worker, which means they will end up communicating with you too. Dogs help people loosen up, feel friendlier, and they create an easy way to initially interact with someone who might have been difficult to introduce yourself to otherwise.

2. STRESS REDUCTION

A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that workers who brought their pets to work had stress levels that decreased through the day, while workers without pets had stress levels that ratcheted up throughout the day. Stress relief created through wet kisses and furry hugs sounds like a much better option than trekking to the vending machine again.

3. BROWNIE POINTS FOR WORKING LONGER

Want to impress your boss? Bring your dog to work and you'll likely find you will (happily!) stay longer and work more, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association. Because your pet is with you, you won't feel pressured to hurry home to walk or feed it, and you will feel happier and more content while you are at the office.

4. FLOWING CREATIVITY

Man in work attire sits on floor with a dog.
iStock

According to the same survey, having your canine pal along makes people feel more creative at work. Presumably, having a friendly and supportive buddy nearby—one who has already lowered your stress levels so that you can fully concentrate—can help you focus and tap into your inner genius so you can come up with exactly the best solution or idea for the project at hand.

5. IMPROVED HEALTH

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in their owners. Taking your dog to work also means that you will absolutely have to get up and take more frequent walks throughout the day than you might have otherwise—and all those extra steps add up (even if you don't hit the fairly arbitrary 10,000-steps-a-day mark).

6. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

You might worry that your dog will keep you from concentrating or getting enough done at work, but the opposite is true. Because your dog forces you to take short walks and respond to periodic pleas for petting or attention throughout the day, you're getting mental and physical breaks at regular intervals. Frequent short breaks like these actually increase your productivity.

7. INCREASED COWORKER COOPERATION

Two women talking in office while a dog sits near a desk.
iStock

Offices with dogs tend to have increased cooperation and better working relationships amongst employees. Whether it's that dogs increase morale, make everyone feel more positive, or simply give them a reason to talk more, offices with pets are more likely to maintain a friendly working rapport across the board.

8. LESS WORRYING

If you've got a very young, sick, misbehaving, or elderly dog, leaving it home alone for nine or more hours can begin to wear on you later in the day. You may worry about what the dog is destroying, or if it's lonely or feeling OK. But bringing your dog to work means you (and your coworkers) will have your eyes on your pup all day long and won’t have to imagine what might be happening at home. And, your dog will be happier after spending the day with you and around other people and pets too.

9. INCREASED OVERALL JOB SATISFACTION

Employees who bring their dogs to work have higher levels of job satisfaction overall, likely due to a combination of being near their pets, feeling the effects of lessened stress, and knowing their employers are adopting policies designed to make the office a happier environment. Sounds like a win-win-win situation all around!

Why Do Dogs Lick?

iStock/MichaelSvoboda
iStock/MichaelSvoboda

​One of the more slightly annoying things our dogs do (or most adorable, depending on who you ask) involves their tongue obsessively licking every crevice of every spot possible in pretty much the whole world. From our faces to our furniture to themselves, some dogs are absolutely in love with licking anything and everything. Although it can be cute at first, it quickly gets pretty gross. So why do they do it?

According to ​Vetstreet, your pup's incessant licking is mostly their way of trying to show affection. When we pick up our dogs or give them attention, chances are we kiss or pat their heads, along with petting their fur. Their way to show love back to us is by licking.

However, there are other reasons your dog might be obsessively licking—including as a way to get attention. Licking can be a learned behavior for dogs, as they see that when they lick their owner, they get more attention. The behavior can seem like something humans want which, to an extent, it is.

Licking is also a sensory tool, so if your dog is licking random objects or areas of your home, they're probably just exploring. It's easier to get a feel for their surroundings if they can taste everything. But licking objects like your rug or furniture can also be indicative of anxiety or boredom (which can often lead to destructive behavior), and a recent study linked excessive licking of surfaces to certain gastrointestinal disorders.

Another reason for licking is your dog wanting to clean themselves and/or spots around them. They've seen it since they were born; animals lick things ritualistically for cleaning and care. If your dog seems to be obsessed with licking themselves or one particular thing, they probably are. (Yes, dogs can have OCD, too.)

As Vetstreet points out, "excessive" dog licking often only seems excessive to the dog's owner, not the pooch itself. But if it's bothersome enough to you, a trainer can often help curb your dog's enthusiasm for giving wet, sloppy kisses. And while strange behavior is not rare for pets, if your dog's licking seems odd or in any way concerning, there's no harm in taking your pet to the vet to check it out—even if it's just for peace of mind.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

5 Holiday Foods That Are Dangerous to Pets

iStock/svetikd
iStock/svetikd

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the menu of indulgent food and drinks that comes along with it. But while you enjoy that cup of spiked hot cocoa, you’ve got to be careful your dog or cat doesn’t nab a lick. Here are five holiday treats that are dangerous for your pets, according to Vetstreet.

1. COFFEE

Any coffee lover will agree that there’s nothing quite like an after-dinner cup of joe on a cold night. But pups, kitties, and other pets will have to sit this tradition out. Caffeine can prompt seizures and abnormal heart rhythms in pets, and can sometimes be fatal. Other caffeinated drinks, such as soda or tea, should also be kept away from your four-legged family members.

2. BREAD DOUGH

We know the threat that bread dough poses to the appearance of our thighs, but it’s much more dangerous to our furry little friends. Holiday bakers have to be careful of unbaked bread dough as it can expand in animal stomachs if ingested. In some dogs, the stomach can twist and cut off the blood supply, in which case the pup would need emergency surgery.

3. CHOCOLATE

Cat and dog in Santa hats chowing down on plates of food
iStock/TatyanaGl

A little chocolate never hurt anybody, right? Wrong. The sweet treat can cause seizures and even be fatal to our pets. Darker chocolate, such as the baker’s chocolate we love to put in our holiday cookies, is more toxic to our pets than milk or white chocolate. The toxic ingredients include caffeine and theobromine, a chemical found in the cacao plant.

4. MACADAMIA NUTS

Macadamia nuts, which are a common ingredient in holiday cookies and often put out to munch on as an appetizer, can be toxic to dogs. While poisoning might not always be easy to detect in a pet, clinical warning signs include depression, weakness, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness, and lack of coordination.

5. ALCOHOL

Think back to when you first started drinking and how much less alcohol it took to get you tipsy, because you likely weighed less than you do now. Well, your pet probably weighs a lot less than you did, even back then, meaning it takes much less alcohol to make them dangerously sick. Keep those wine glasses far out of reach of your pets in order to avoid any issues. Well, maybe not any issue: We can’t promise that this will stop you from getting embarrassingly drunk at a holiday party this year.

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