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Pet Perks: Employee Benefits That Help You and Your Pet

By Colleen Williams
published: February 27, 2017 - updated: August 22, 2022 • 3 min. read
employee benefits pet perks

We’ve known our pets are our family for as long as we’ve had them, and now employers are realizing their importance as well. Pets keep us happy, healthy, and yep, even more productive.

Here’s why employers offer pet-friendly benefits to help not only attract but also hang on to happier (and healthier!) employees.

Recruit & Retain Happy Employees

Bottom line – if your company offers pet-friendly benefits, you may be more likely to attract and retain employees.

With roughly 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats in US homes, it is no surprise that benefits making it logistically and financially easier to own a pet are the most requested. Topping the list is pet health insurance which pays up to 90% of veterinary costs for accidents and illnesses.

Millennials are delaying marriage and children and becoming pet parents instead, and a recent survey found that 44% of millennials considered their pets as “starter children.” Empty Nesters are the next biggest group who consider pets as part of their family. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why so many employees consider companies offering pet-friendly benefits to be more modern, compassionate and innovative.

Protect your pet

Science Shows that Pets Improve Human Health

Having a hard time motivating employees to engage in workplace wellness programs?  Try using puppies and kittens instead of broccoli and gym memberships!

Research shows that pets help improve both physical and mental health in their humans. People with pets are more likely to have healthier hearts, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, less anxiety, stress, and depression, and faster healing after surgery. A healthier lifestyle and a happier outlook make for a great environment at work. As a matter of fact, according to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, pets save the healthcare industry $11.7 billion a year!

So, why should you consider a pet-friendly workplace?small puppy lying on calculator

Research shows that pets make the workplace more productive and collaborative. For those companies whose landlords permit it, bringing pets into the workplace has benefits in the form of lower work-day stress levels, more collaboration and positive employee interactions.

In one study at Central Michigan University, the psych department analyzed behavior with companion animals in three scenarios, determining:

  1. Groups with a pup present displayed more verbal cohesion and cooperation.
  2. Working alongside a dog meant higher ratings of trustworthiness to fellow group members.
  3. Behavior in dog-present groups was rated as more cooperative, comfortable, friendly, active, enthusiastic and attentive.

Two Ways to Create Pet-Friendly Benefits

Even if you can’t bring your pet to work every day, there are still ways businesses show allegiance to pet parenthood. While there have been a myriad of other pet perks making headlines recently, here are some of the easiest ways to be pet-friendly even if pets aren’t allowed at work:

The Ultimate Package

The Doesn’t-Cost-Businesses-Anything-in-Time-or-Money Package

The most popular request, and fastest growing benefit, remains employee discounts on pet health insurance (source: NAPHIA). And it may also be one of the easiest benefits to offer: There is no cost to the employer and it is direct billed to employees so there are no payroll deduction integrations to worry about. Employers can sign up online and literally be offering it to their employees within days.

Which companies are already pet-friendly?

Here are some of the latest and greatest pet-related employee benefits we’ve spotted for 2017.

Well, Google has a group called “Dooglers” and a dog-themed café on the home campus; Build-A-Bear celebrates employees’ pups’ birthdays and has a canine concierge service that takes dogs to day camp and spas. Chartbeat’s “Puppytorium” is actually the preferred hangout for all the pups who come into work; Zynga has a dog park on their roof; and Salesforce’s pet policy, called Puppyforce, lets employees book a special soundproof room full of bowls, padded crates, dog beds, and cleaning wipes. Even P&G sent out a press release in 2012 announcing the retirement of Euka, VP of Canine Communications, proving that big companies take pets seriously and know that pet-friendly policies draw in, and ultimately retain, employees.

Got a new pup? If you’re an employee at BrewDog, you can take 7 days’ puppy parental leave (aka “Pawternity Leave”). The Scottish-based brewery is extending this perk to all crewmembers across the globe—including the US location in Columbus, Ohio. “We’re not aware of any other American company giving a week’s leave to their staff to help build the bond between them and their dog,” a brewery spokesperson said. “But then, few other companies have four-legged friends at their center as we do.”

In this same vein, Workday, the California-based human resources software company, has a policy that includes financial assistance for pet adoptions, while entertainment company Activision Blizzard has made exceptions for furry friends in their bereavement policy.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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