Paws for Thought

This January is Walk your Dog Month, where we highlight and celebrate the effects that dog walking has on promoting our wellbeing and mental health. Especially when we are spending more time at home, being able to venture out safely and get some exercise for our canine friends and ourselves is significantly beneficial.

Paws for thought: How our pets support our Wellbeing

Author: Lauren Mawson, HR Business Partner for PACT HR

Date: 19th January 2021

Two years ago I became a dog mum to my very little but very loud miniature dachshund Barney. Don’t be fooled, he might be the size of a puppy but has the bark (and attitude) of a dog five times his size. Apologies to any of you who have been subjected to such barking in the background to our conversations!

Whilst having a dog can be very demanding at times, as I’m sure many fellow dog parents will agree, having a constant companion who is always happy to see you can be a life saver, especially during these challenging times.

Barney the dogOne of the best things about having Barney is that I’m out in the fresh air much more. Even if it’s just a short walk on a lunch time, its exercise for both of us and is often just what I need to wind down after a busy morning or a stressful week. Although I do usually spend most of the walk with people stopping me in my tracks exclaiming “aww, it’s a sausage dog!” or trying to stop said sausage dog barking at every huge furry friend, because he thinks he’s much bigger than he actually is.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact owning a pet has on our wellbeing. One study found that when people took care of dogs for just three months, their blood pressure dropped significantly, which has the added positive impact of lowering cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and improving our immune system. Interacting with animals can also increase feelings of social support and boost our mood, something we’ve definitely needed during 2020.

According to Purina under their ‘Pets at Work Alliance’, in their own research they found that 40% of people with pets at work said it enhanced their work life balance, 45% said it created a more relaxed work atmosphere, and 24% stated that it improves relationships in the workplace.

They have even published some guidance on how you can continue to bring your dog back into the office during Covid-19!

So if you do happen to spot someone who looks like me trying to keep a very cute but barky dog quiet, feel free to say hi (from two metres away) and I’m sure Barney will, in his own rather loud way, say hi back!

How can PACT HR help?

  • PACT HR works closely with the Employee Health & Wellbeing Service at Bradford Council, and we can assess how you can support your employees in managing their health and wellbeing at work and your dedicated HR Business Partner will work with you to explore any reasonable adjustments that can be made such as bringing a dog to work.
  • PACT HR offers a variety of training sessions on topics including Managing Stress and Wellbeing and Personal Resilience. We can also offer one-to-one coaching sessions on topics including Managing Stress and Wellbeing and Personal Resilience. You can find out more on our website here.
  • Thinking of planning an away day with a wellbeing focus? Why not let PACT HR do this for you and put together a package designed to help your employees hit ‘refresh’ with a range of health and wellness related activities, tailored to your needs.

For more info on how we can support your teams wellbeing, please contact the PACT HR helpdesk on 01274 436644 or email us at for more details.