Far from being a distraction, office animals can help colleagues get on better, reduce stress and raise efficiency.

A review of research on domestic dogs and human health, published in 2007 in the British Journal of Health Psychology, suggested that pet owners tend to be healthier. The review found evidence to suggest that dog owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and are less likely to have minor and serious health problems.

Earlier this year digital online marketing agency the Bio Agency conducted a survey of 3,000 office workers. Of the people canvassed, 16% had an office pet with the top 10 being fish, dogs, cats, tortoises, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, geckos, snakes and tarantulas. As many as 55% of those canvassed admitted they would feel more motivated if they did have a pet in the office.

Pets at work can help employees to relax, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure, which can decrease absenteeism and improve staff morale,” confirms Terri Bodell, a consultant clinical psychotherapist and stress expert. “Not only that, but employees that take a break to walk their dog seem to return to work in a more productive and positive frame of mind.”

It can also be good for team bonding and office dynamics, she says: “Pets in a workplace can help promote social interaction and help people collaborate more effectively.”

So, the experts say it’s good for you and your dog thinks it’s brilliant too. Now you just have to persuade the boss.

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