The paws-itives of pet ownership during the pandemic
The benefits of spending time with our four-legged and feathered friends for both our physical and emotional wellbeing are widely accepted: owning and caring for a pet has been shown to help reduce feelings of loneliness, is thought to have a positive impact on our mental health and has even been linked with improving heart health.
Throughout the pandemic, and particularly in lockdown, many people, and especially those who otherwise live alone, have developed an even greater appreciation of our pets and the important role they have played in helping us to cope during this difficult time by:
Giving us focus and purpose
Most pets are creatures of habit, but maintaining their regular routine lends structure to our days too and helps us to keep a much-needed sense of normality. Looking after the wellbeing needs of our pets also gives us something to focus on, which can help to distract us from negative thoughts and feelings.
Providing comfort and companionship
When we’re experiencing feelings of distress, anxiety or sadness, stroking, hugging or even just sitting with our pets can be very calming and help to lift our mood. With many more of us currently experiencing increased feelings of loneliness and isolation as a result of being unable to see or spend as much time with family and friends, our pets are an important source of comfort and companionship, always there to lend a non-judgemental ear when we need to talk.
Helping us to stay connected
Pets are great at helping us to stay connected with others. Whether it’s enjoying a socially distanced chat on your daily dog walk or in the supermarket aisle while picking up the cat food, or sharing stories about your animals’ entertaining antics online while you’re working from home, talking with other pet owners provides a great opportunity for social interaction.
Keeping us active
Dogs, in particular, need regular exercise and taking your pooch for their daily walk is also beneficial for your wellbeing, giving you the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and helping you to stay active and keep fit.
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