May 13, 2022


The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages companies to adopt unique benefit offerings such as Take Your Dog to Work Day or Best Friend Fridays to boost morale, improve well-being and increase productivity. The AHA’s goal is to spread awareness of the health benefits pet companionship can provide.

With so many employees experiencing burnout, feeling overwhelmed and stressed – it has become essential that businesses take steps to ensure the well-being of all staff members. Policies regarding mental health have become one of the top HR trends of 2022.

These initiatives help employees manage the burdens felt at home and in the workplace. Some companies have begun thinking outside the box to revamp their employees’ benefits. This not only assists with employee retention but also attracts new talent. People want to work for companies that care and offer what others may not.

Why It’s Needed

Long-term stress leads to poor work performance due to weakened immune systems, poor sleeping habits and even digestive issues. Similarly, employees who experience the effects of long-term stress are more prone to fatigue which may result in workplace accidents. Providing this unique benefit offering for employees reduces stress and anxiety within the office.

“According to our research, pet companionship may lead to a more active lifestyle, lower blood pressure and reduced stress at home, in the workplace and when managing medical challenges,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown. “That’s why the American Heart Association is creating Best Friend Fridays. We’re bringing awareness to the positive impact our four-legged friends have on our hearts and our minds.”

Why It Works

Johns Hopkins Medicine found that the simple act of petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol and raises the “feel-good” hormone, oxytocin. These hormone changes can lower blood pressures and reduce stress or anxiety from overworked schedules and long hours.

Jeremy Barron, M.D., medical director of the Beacham Center for Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins, explains, “Petting and holding an animal allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature. It’s relaxing and transcendental.”

This unique benefit offering will turn heads and raise employees’ spirits. To learn more about implementing Take your Dog to Work Day or Best Friend Fridays, visit the American Heart Association’s website.