Most Americans have at least one pet in the household, but the same can’t be said for offices in the United States. Although allowing pets—and dogs in particular—at work is a growing trend among U.S. employers, not all companies have come to realize the benefits of allowing furry friends in the office.

1. They may reduce employees’ stress levels
A 2012 study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management suggests having an office dog may reduce levels of the “stress” hormone cortisol. Researchers took saliva samples from 76 volunteers who did or didn’t bring their canine friend to the office, and measured their cortisol levels at the beginning and end of the day. While everyone started his or her day with low cortisol levels, those who brought their dogs to work saw lower stress levels at the end of the day, while those who left their animals at home or didn’t have a pet saw them increase. Researchers observed that low-stress effect made work more satisfying for other employees.

2. They may lead employees to work longer hours

A 2008 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, which consists of 50 companies of various sizes, found that those that allowed cats and dogs had employees who weren’t as quick to clock out on time compared to those that didn’t allow four-legged friends.

3. They may encourage employees to come to work

The same study suggested that not only did having pets in the office encourage workers to stay longer—but they decreased the chances of absenteeism overall.

4. They can promote camaraderie

"Not only does an office pet encourage workers to stay longer—but they decrease the chances of absenteeism overall."

Have you ever been in an uncomfortable social situation where you noticed the introduction of a cat or dog immediately diffused the tension? According to Pet MD, an online resource for pet owners, having a pet in the office may help employees deal with otherwise difficult coworkers, thus increasing communication and camaraderie.

5. They could make employees healthier

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can decrease cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as encourage exercise. Every employer knows keeping employees healthy is imperative for ensuring employees not only are happy and productive, but also that doing so helps decrease the chance of needed sick days.

6. They may make employees happier overall

There’s a reason therapy dogs exist: A 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that, among a survey of about 220 people, pet owners were not only healthier but also happier and better adjusted than were non-owners—traits that, undoubtedly, go hand in hand with success in the workplace.

7. They make employees’ lives more convenient

As any pet owner knows, caring for either man’s best friend or your feline companion requires a great deal of work and commitment. But being able to tend to your pet in between work tasks? For pet owners, that may be the greatest gift of all.