Therapy dogs help ease stress during busy Thanksgiving travel season

(BPT) - This Thanksgiving is gearing up to be one of the busiest travel seasons since 2005, according to travel organization AAA, with Wednesday, Nov. 27, expected to be the worst travel period nationally.

While it is well known that the day before Thanksgiving is always a hectic time to travel, most people don’t know that the Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving is just as bad for business travelers. While Americans are gearing up to see family and friends, business travelers are racing against the clock to wrap up their work before the holiday, which means stress is at an all-time high. In fact, according to SAP Concur, nearly 60% more business travelers are on the road that Wednesday than the average weekday, making Wednesday, Nov. 20, the busiest business travel day this year.

As stress continues to become a major factor facing today’s workforce, many are turning to pet therapy as a solution. It’s becoming more common for companies to welcome pets in office settings to help reduce stress for employees, and the power of puppy love has extended well beyond office settings. Pet therapy dogs from national nonprofit Pet Partners were even present at the first round of public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to help ease stress for congressional staffers, and the San Francisco 49ers recently introduced their emotional support dog, Zoë, a French bulldog who was adopted to help the team manage players’ stress levels and mental health.

Hotel brands like La Quinta by Wyndham are making it easier for business travelers who may not be in an office setting to experience the power that dogs have to relieve stress. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, La Quinta by Wyndham is unveiling its Take a Paws Project, a program offering stress-relieving amenities at select hotels on the busiest business travel day of the year, including therapy dogs from Pet Partners in the lobby, weighted blankets, eye masks, fitness classes, sound machines and more to help frazzled guests de-stress while on the road. According to the brand’s recent “La Quinta Means Business” survey from Wakefield Research, 86% of business travelers agree that petting a dog while on a business trip would be one of the best ways to de-stress, and as one of the most pet-friendly hotel brands in the business, La Quinta is encouraging its guests to really stop and take a "paws."

No one understands the power of the uplifting connection between humans and animals better than Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian who also has five pets of his own. “As an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced firsthand what it takes to be a true road warrior,” says Antin. “That’s why I’m excited to partner on the Take a Paws Project with La Quinta by Wyndham, a brand that understands the stress business travelers face — particularly during some of the most stressful times of the year — and provides just what we need to put our best foot (or paw) forward.”

As travelers gear up for a busy Thanksgiving travel season, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of pups and the beneficial impact they can have on human stress levels.

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