"National Bring Your Pet To Work Day" On Friday, June 21

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Many companies across the United States allow their associates to bring their pets to work and understand the benefits of pets in the workplace.  Through its PETS AT WORK initiative, Purina is encouraging other companies to join this movement by participating in "National Bring Your Pet to Work Day" on Friday, June 21, 2013

Actress, singer and two-time "Dancing With The Stars" champion Julianne Hough will promote the movement leading up to and on June 21.  Hough, who will be seen next in Diablo Cody's "Paradise," is an avid dog lover and supports numerous pet welfare causes.  She routinely brings her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexi and Harley, to her work locations.

"I'm really excited to be working with Purina as part of the Pets At Work movement," says Hough. "My dogs are my family and are with me all the time, even when I'm working.  I encourage everyone to join me and bring their pets to work on June 21!"

Fifteen years ago, Nestle Purina recognized the benefits of allowing employees to bring their pets to work and started a "Pets At Work" program.  For a company whose motto is "Your Pet, Our Passion," it seems natural that every week hundreds of dogs and cats are brought to Purina's St. Louis campus, and associates and their furry friends enjoy each other's company every day.

Nestle Purina recently conducted a nationwide "Pets At Work Contest" to celebrate America's pet friendly companies, and nearly 140 companies applied.  At the offices of the winner, Ibex, an outdoor clothing company based in White River Junction, VT, dogs fill the workspaces and corridors as about half of the 42 employees bring their pets to work every day.

"We're proud to have Julianne Hough join our 'Pets At Work' movement as she clearly believes in the benefits of taking Lexi and Harley to work with her," said Gordon Wade, director of marketing, Purina brand. "As pet lovers and owners, Purina associates enjoy the positive experience of bringing pets to work. Having pets walking through our offices every day makes for a warmer, friendlier environment at Purina, and we believe it helps with our productivity.  

"We realize it won't work for every company and every pet owner, but we encourage other companies to try it on 'National Bring Your Pet To Work Day' and see for themselves how bringing pets to work can be a real benefit – for pets and their owners."

According to the Los Angeles Times, a study* has shown that employees who bring their pets to work tend to have a lower stress level by the end of the day. Stress in the workplace has been associated with negative physical and psychological outcomes, including a general decline in physical health. The study found that interacting with their pets lowered the levels of cortisol in the employees' bodies, a stress-related hormone that can lead to high cholesterol levels, hypertension and depression. 

The Center for Disease Control says that having pets can help reduce blood pressure, decrease loneliness, help to lower cholesterol levels and encourage physical activity. The better an employee feels on a regular basis, the more they are able to stay focused and produce quality work.

In addition to these health benefits, pets in the office can:

Increase productivity and provide inspiration:  Having pets nearby can help keep an employee relaxed and happy – making work more enjoyable. 

Improve job satisfaction: At Purina, employee surveys show Pets At Work is a big benefit, and the company also believes it helps with employee retention.

Encourage co-worker interaction: Pets add another layer of interaction between co-workers, and otherwise quiet employees can become more engaged when talking to a co-worker about their pets.

Promote healthy break time: Dog owners tend to spend their breaks walking and caring for their dogs, getting them on their feet. Even just taking a few minutes to play with a pet can help provide a mental break and lower stress.

Project healthy work-life balance: For many people, pets are a huge part of their lives. Companies that encourage pets in the workplace show that they care about their employees and the balance between work and home.

Purina provides five simple suggestions for pet owners to help create a welcoming, pet-friendly program at their workplace.  For more information, visit petsatwork.com.

Purina encourages others to join the movement by posting a "Like" on Pets At Work at facebook.com/Purina.  Follow the initiative on Twitter, @Purina, and join the discussion at #petsatwork.