This Friday, June 28, the American Heart Association will celebrate the last of its Best Friend Fridays™. According to the American Heart Association, pets may be good for their owners’ health because they help them get more exercise, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and boost happiness¹. Not only that, having pets at work may help reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve employee satisfaction, teamwork, and collaboration². Best Friend Fridays™ encourages employers to designate one or more Fridays in June for employees to bring their pets to work and donate to support important heart research and education – for humans.
“Pet companionship is associated with overall better health and wellbeing,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “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. 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.”
With one Friday left in June, it’s not too late! Your company can still join the American Heart Association in the fight to lick heart disease and stroke by supporting Best Friend Fridays™ in the following ways:
- Donate. Celebrate Best Friend Fridays™ by encouraging employees to bring their pets to work on June 28 and give $25, $55, or $505 in honor of their best friend.
- Get Social. Encourage employees to bring their pets to work this Friday and post a selfie with their best friend to spread the word using #BestFriendFridays.
- Take It Outside. If your company does not have pets at work yet, find a local park where owners and pets can meet up with others in your company.
“Many studies have explored the relationship between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease and reported a number of beneficial effects,” said Glenn N. Levine, M.D.; FAHA; FACC; Master Clinician and Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Director, Cardiac Care Unit, Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center; American Heart Association volunteer and author of the organization’s scientific statement on pet ownership. “The American Heart Association reviewed available data and found that pet ownership may lead to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Though additional research is clearly needed on this important topic, pet owners may have another reason to brag about their furry friends – the possibility of our pets contributing to happy minds and healthy hearts.”
Pets may do more than help employees stress less at work. Overall, pet owners tend to live longer than non-pet owners³ and dog owners are more likely to fit in the recommended level of physical activity than those who don’t have a dog4. Pets also add an element of companionship – letting people know they are not alone and providing social support – an important factor in helping stick with healthy habits¹.
- Glenn N. Levine, Karen Allen, Lynne T. Braun, Hayley E. Christian, Erika Friedmann, Kathryn A. Taubert, Sue Ann Thomas, Deborah L. Wells, and Richard A. Lange and on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. “Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association,” Circulation 11 (Jun 2013)
- “Workplace Wellness,” Human Animal Bond Research Institute.
- Mwenya Mubanga, Liisa Byberg, Christoph Nowak, Agneta Egenvall, Patrik K. Magnusson, Erik Ingelsson, Tove Fall. “Article number: 15821 (2017) 10.1038_s41598-017-16118-6.ris,” Scientific Reports 7.
- Yu-Tzu Wu, Robert Luben, Andy Jones. “Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 71:9.