Why our pets are so important during lockdown

We all dread hearing the words “lockdown”.

As a dog sitter, I get a triple dose of disappointment as not only am I in lockdown, but we lose income without our regular guests, and my dogs miss their playmates and the extra company they are used to having.

Lockdown might sound easy in principle, but we know the reality is far from it. The lack of social contact, not being able to visit elderly family (or any family), events & holidays we have been looking forward to are suddenly canceled, uncertainty and lack of control over the outcome.

But one thing is certain and that is our beloved pets. There is nothing like those wagging tags and cuddles to make you feel better and help you get through your day.

Pets can provide company and comfort in the face of social isolation and high anxiety.

Our pets provide nonjudgmental emotional support, she said, and studies show that contact with pets helps reduces stress and anxiety, particularly when you are experiencing a stressful situation. Research also has shown that animals help older adults cope better with social isolation—that is, being physically separated from others—and loneliness

This instinct to turn to our pets during this pandemic is supported by science

Studies have proven that owning an animal such as a dog or a cat, has benefits for good mental health. Interactions with animals may help with depression and anxiety, particularly under stress-prone conditions. Human-animal interactions may even improve peer-to-peer social relationships, as well as enhance feelings of respect, trust, and empathy between people.

A lot of us are connecting remotely with other people right now, and that’s great but pets are physically present in a way that other forms of social and emotional support aren’t these days for many people, and there’s really something to having that tactile component of petting or touching a pet.

Pets might also give you an excuse to take a break and head outside for some quiet, fresh air, and exercise, which is good for your own mental health and in establishing a routine and some degree of normalcy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to so much uncertainty and but one thing we can rely on is our pets.