Thank God for Pets: Keeping You Physically and Mentally Fit in COVID-19 Times

pet dog concept

Some scientists are claiming pets add only to the burden of the virus; others support pets saying they’re a panacea against a string of health and mental issues. While different people with different experiences will have a wide variety of responses to how pets help during the pandemic, it’s a given. Pets allow you to care for something aside from yourself, and that can have a powerful effect on your mental well-being.

In the United States, statistics reveal dogs top the list of household companions. Almost 40% (38.4) of households own dogs, while cats come in a close second (25.4). That’s telling you furry friends are doing their part in keeping American homes whole. here are some other reasons why keeping pets in your precious abode is wise in these pandemic times.

Your Ultimate Health Booster

Over time, dogs have indeed become man’s best friend, assisting him in times of need. Police work, for one, has relied heavily on a dog’s powerful scent-locating ability for years now. Moreover, blind and near-blind people have gained guidance while on the street via trained dogs.

And yet, your mental health can also gain a lot from keeping a pet. And keeping one or two could play a huge role in surviving the pandemic whole. WHO survey details COVID-19 has blown a huge hole in people’s mental health all over the world.

Studies show pet owners are less prone to suffer from the ill effects of depression compared to those with pets. Such a calming effect is most pronounced in stressful situations. People with pets exhibit lower blood pressure in those times than those without pets.

Further, pets help us attain greater physical health. Even those with borderline hypertension will stand to win big time when they adopt dogs. Once they do, their blood pressure dropped significantly. The same holds true for people who have suffered from heart attacks. They survive longer when keeping one than without.

The therapeutic effect of pets has been attributed to their ability to help us fulfill our apparent need for touch. It’s been observed that even the most hardened criminals from prison will show changes in their behavior upon interaction with pets. This is why touch via hugging, stroking a pet can give you quick stress relief.

Caring for Your Pet

Owner kissing her dog

But pets do suffer during the pandemic too. A sad example is Buddy, the first dog that died of COVID-19 complications in America. Indeed, he was the family buddy, cuddling with his human family the Manoneys when they needed a hug. But in mid-April 2020, he succumbed to the virus.

In more ways than one, his memory lives on through photos and video. But an excellent way to let a pet be part of you even beyond death is through the fine art of taxidermy. Your pet stays with you for years to come, and your family will feel their presence through the life-like modeling of a proper taxidermist.

Of course, the better option is to ensure your pet stays healthy and doesn’t catch the virus. CDC recommends you stay away from your pet if you catch COVID-19 (either confirmed or presumed). Meaning, you should social distance from your pet and must not in any way make contact with the animals in your household.

Instead, have other people take care of your pets. You can leave them with your relatives if you’re leaving alone. Avoiding contact means you should not initiate acts of hugging or snuggling with your pet. That means no more sharing sleeping areas. If you’re confused, think of your pet as another human being. How you practice social distancing should be the same for your pets.

If you’re not sick with the virus, keeping proper hygiene is wise when it comes to your pets. Although there is no research that shows pets are playing a central role in the spread of the virus, you should observe health protocols when around them.

So it would be best if you washed every time after handling your pets. Take time to clean up after your pets regularly. Take note that without keeping them clean, you could put your children and other older adults at risk. People whose immune systems are low are at risk of getting sick from pathogens that pets carry, and that includes the coronavirus.

When you care for your pets, you’re also caring for the people around you. It shows that you value not only your fur and feather babies but also the people that care for them. Best of all, you’re caring for the most important person in your life: You.

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