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Feeling a little burned out? Stop what you’re doing and go pet a dog or a cat.

While it may sound like an excuse to play with a puppy instead of work, studies have shown that taking a pet break can have a positive effect on work-life balance. If you’re feeling overworked, workplace pets can help reduce stress and nurture productivity. Here’s what the research says:

Pets are good for your health. According to The Human Animal Bond Research Institute, pets are responsible for saving their owners $11.37 billion on doctor visits. From walking pets alone five times per week, owners have saved $419 million in healthcare costs, and often have lower obesity levels.

They make you more social. Bringing a pet to work can often improve workplace culture and introduce a new level of coworker camaraderie. Who doesn’t want to pay a visit to the office dog or (insert your preferred animal companion here)? In a career where agents often work with each other on opposite sides of a transaction, it can be helpful to have good relationships with work colleagues.

A pet can bring out your personality, helping with branding. According to a study that looked at 31 companies in Kentucky, pets at work can help their owners express their personality. In a career flooded with agents, it doesn’t hurt to differentiate yourself by using your pet to market your business. Who doesn’t want to hire someone who has a cute fuzzy mascot for their business?

According to the Kentucky report, pets relieve stress (dogs, 21 percent, and cats, 29 percent), they make the office a friendlier place (dogs, 18 percent, and cats, 21 percent) and they provide a positive distraction (dogs, 9 percent, and cats, 19 percent).

If you don’t have your own pet, perhaps your brokerage can partner with a local shelter for a monthly pet day. This way, agents get their pet time in, while animals up for adoption get some much-needed play time and human interaction.

Unfortunately, not all office buildings allow pets, so make sure you’re not breaking any rules by bringing your furry friend to work with you. If you have a pet you’re bringing into the office, also keep in mind the overall environment for your fellow agents. A dog that is constantly barking, for example, can have the opposite effect, increasing stress levels.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at