Research reveals bosses would be barking mad to ban dogs from workplaces, say two visiting professors from the United States.

Virginia Commonwealth University professors Sandra and Randolph Barker, of Doswell, were invited to Dunedin to give a public lecture at the University of Otago School of Physiotherapy on Friday about the evidence supporting health benefits of human-canine interactions.

The research the professors had completed at the Centre for Human-Animal Interaction in Virginia revealed cardiovascular and mental health benefits when interacting with dogs, Prof Sandra Barker said.

Research revealed interaction with "therapy dogs" in healthcare reduced stress levels in patients and medical staff.


Prof Randolph Barker said some preliminary findings revealed dog-owners could manage stress better if they took their pet to work with them.

Companies who allowed dogs might increase a pet owner's ability to cope with stress and increase their job satisfaction.

"It's a low-cost, high-efficiency intervention that can be used to increase the wellness of employees."

However, some staff could be scared of dogs, so it was important management considered safety issues and cultural differences of staff before creating policies allowing pets, he said.