Need Someone to Help With Your Tax Preparation? How About Your Pet?

Having your pet with you while you fill out your tax forms may help reduce your stress level.

April 15th is looming ahead and many of us are still frantically collecting receipts, doing calculations, and trying to figure out which tax forms we really need to fill out this year. If you need someone to help with your taxes, you may want to think about bringing Ginger or Duke into the room with you.

No, I’m not suggesting that you write your pet dog’s or cat’s name on the tax preparer line on your forms. Instead, having your pet with you while you fill out these forms may help reduce your stress level. Dr. Odendaal has conducted some important experiments, measuring physical changes in people before and after spending time petting a dog. After 5 to 24 minutes, a variety of significant improvements in several health markers were noted:

  • Blood pressure dropped
  • Stress hormone levels, like cortisol, were decreased
  • Concentrations of endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever, were increased

Other researchers have shown that stress relief from time with your pet can have long-lasting effects. For example, reductions in cortisol last for at least an hour after spending even five minutes petting a dog.

If that doesn’t convince you, check out the results from a fascinating experiment where researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo stressed adults by making them perform math calculations. Calculations were performed when they were at home alone, with their spouse in the room with them, with a supportive friend in the room, or with their pet dog in the room. Stress levels were measured by monitoring heart rate and blood pressure. As you might imagine, doing math calculations raised people’s heart rates and blood pressure. The stress response was actually worse when calculations were performed with the person’s spouse or supportive friend in the room. But add a dog in the room, and stress levels plummeted! In addition, accuracy in the math calculations was best when the dog was in the room.

So this year, as you’re getting those forms finalized and ready to post, move Fido’s dog bed closer to where you’ll be working. You’ll feel better and you may even find you’ve made less careless errors.

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