Why the Secret to Your Success in Business Could Be Having a Pet After all, the four-legged friends help us evolve, connect with others, and stay grounded

By Pooja Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? Vision, forward-thinking, risk-taking abilities, determination, hard work, dedication, a good game plan…. Most of us are aware of what's needed, thanks to real-life experiences, upbeat attitudes, inspiring speeches and motivational quotes that flood our social media timelines. But there's something more that isn't known enough.

A new study has established that having a pet, irrespective of what kind or breed, can actually help people become successful and better company leaders.

Perks of a furry friend

There's ample research to show that having a pet, whether a puppy, kitten, bunny, or hamster, can reduce stress—sometimes more than people—improve mood, boost health, control blood pressure, keep depression at bay and promote productivity.

Now, a research by Kelton Research for Banfield Pet Hospital in the US has found that behind most C-suite executives is a pet. In a survey of 857 high-level workers, 93 per cent said that their childhood was filled with pet animals. Four in five (83 per cent) C-suite executives surveyed grew up with a dog, three in five (59 per cent) grew up with a cat, two in five (37 per cent) grew up with pets like birds, rabbits or rodents. Regardless of the pet, the leaders agreed their furry companions taught them valuable lessons while growing up, such as responsibility, empathy and creativity, and these qualities have supported them in their ability to thrive as leaders in the workplace. Eight in 10 of those surveyed attributed their success in career in part to owning a pet as a child.

Lessons learnt

What's more, 24 per cent of the surveyed said their childhood pet taught them more valuable lessons than what the first internship did. A surprising 77 per cent revealed that it was while walking their dogs that they had a business idea, and over 60 per cent believed that having a pet had a positive effect on their ability to build relationships with their colleagues and clients.

Eighty-four per cent said they are creative, and 59 per cent acknowledged that having a pet helped them think outside the box. Most of those surveyed (79 per cent) believed that colleagues with pets are hard workers.

Welcome to the workplace

Even if you didn't have a pet growing up, it's not too late. Having a pet even as a working adult is more than good for you.

With the increased awareness on the benefits of having a furry friend, workplaces across the world have allowed employees to bring their pets to the office. And studies have only confirmed the benefits of such practices. A 2012 study by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers, for instance, found that people who bring canines to work suffer less stress than colleagues without pets. The study, which was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, added that employees with pets were more dedicated to their work.

Other studies have shown that playing with pets can promote a positive mood, which can prove useful during stressful times in the boardroom.

Wavy Line
Pooja Singh

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific


A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters. 

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