How Pets Are Helping Us Cope With the Pandemic
Nothing compares to the joy of knowing you have a loyal companion who’ll stick with you through thick and thin. We’re social beings after all, so it’s natural for us to seek connection and meaningful relationships. But who would’ve thought we can also find companionship in the form of our four-legged pets?
Dogs As Therapy
The idea of dogs being man’s best friend was proven to be true when the pandemic happened. When all of us were left stuck in our homes with little to no face-to-face interaction with our families and friends, the ones who gave us comfort in a time of crisis are none other than our furry companions.
Through domestication and training, dogs have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. They are able to understand many of the words we use, like “sit”, “behave”, and “rollover”. But more than understanding human language, they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, nonverbal cues, and gestures. And like any human friend, a loyal dog can gauge your emotional state and try to understand if you’re in for some playtime or if you need some warm hugs.
According to a recent study, it was discovered that pets helped many people cope with the mental stress of being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic. Survey respondents also shared that their pets helped them remain physically fit and active by taking their fur babies out for a walk or a quick jog every day.
How Your Pooch is Helping You Make It Through the Pandemic
Owning a pet has been known to help decrease stress levels and improve heart health in an individual. They also help build and enhance emotional and social skills in children. But more than these benefits, here’s how the unconditional love of our canine companions became our source of comfort and joy in the face of the pandemic.
Dogs provide us with our daily dose of serotonin—through snuggling!
One of the greatest challenges we had to face when the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place was the eventual disconnect we experienced with our loved ones. The relatives we usually have dinner with every Sunday, the friends we make travel plans with over long weekends, and the officemates we eat lunch with—most of them have become faces that we can just interact with through video conferencing. This led to feelings of loneliness and isolation in most of us.
Thankfully, our beloved hounds are there to give us the daily dose of warm hugs and cuddles we need! When we snuggle with our pet dogs, our brain releases serotonin, also known as a feel-good hormone. With a few minutes of cuddling with your fur baby, you’ll feel like you’re ready to get back up and face the world once again.
Dogs help boost your self-esteem.
During this time of uncertainty, it’s easy for us to feel insecure. And with minimal face-to-face interaction with our loved ones, we might not be able to get the encouragement and assurance we need as often as we want to.
But this might not be the case if you have started to consider your pet dog as one of your closest companions in life. The good thing with having a furry friend is that they are not judgmental. They don’t care if you telecommute to work in your PJ’s or if you act silly around them.
Having someone who accepts you for who you are (be it an actual hoo-man or a pet) boosts confidence in oneself. In a research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was found that pet owners had higher self-esteem, as well as a better sense of belongingness and meaningful existence, than non-owners.
Dogs help you stay paw-sitive and live in the present.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety in all of us. Sometimes, we can’t help but think of thoughts like “Will I still be able to keep my job in the next months? If not, will my pet have separation anxiety when I go back to work?” or “What if one of my loved ones get infected by the virus and there’s no vaccine yet?”.
Our adorable hounds can serve as a good distraction from our anxious thoughts. When we spend time with our dogs and see how carefree they can be, we are reminded to live in the present and that tomorrow will take care of itself. It’s definitely not easy to keep a positive disposition all the time, but with a cute and loving four-legged friend by your side, you will still be able to laugh your worries off and stay grounded in the present.
Make Your Pooch Feel Loved and Special
Although they can’t say it, dogs also feel stressed and fatigued. Seeing how they have done so much for us during the pandemic, don’t you think they also deserve to be rewarded and feel extra special? If you’re a pet parent looking for treats or fun activities to try with your dog, here are a few suggestions:
- A play date the park (link to https://thesavvysitter.org/services/park-play-date)
- A long walk around the neighborhood (link to https://thesavvysitter.org/services/dog-walking)
- A pampering day at a nearby salon
- A personalized dog tag to match his or her new OOTD (link “personalized dog tag” to https://www.dogids.com/)
Our dogs have done nothing but shower us with unconditional love and warm hugs. We might not be sure how long we’ll have to navigate through this health crisis, but knowing we have a loyal companion by our side makes it a little bit more bearable.
About the Writer
Dani Smith is a content creator for dogIDs. Aside from writing, you’ll find her mountain biking with her dog Crash, binge-watching her favorite series, or food prepping her next high-carb meal.
Preidt, R. (30 September, 2020). Pets Helped People Cope During Pandemic: Study. WebMD. https://pets.webmd.com/news/20200930/pets-helped-people-cope-during-pandemic-lockdown-study