Making the best of self-isolation – how your pets can help

In self-isolation to protect yourself and others from COVID-19? Here’s how to make the best of the next two weeks with your fur babes.

It’s a scary time – businesses have closed their doors, workers are being laid off, and thousands of people across the globe have been infected by COVID-19. For some people, self-isolation isn’t just smart… it’s mandatory. But practicing this or any degree of social distancing isn’t easy. Chances are, being at home during this outbreak means that life as you know it is completely out of whack, and that can bring up a lot of emotions. The good news is, there are a lot of things you can do to cope with these feelings – including spending some quality time with your animal companions.

Pets help us process

Even if you aren’t experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, you’re likely feeling confused, stressed, anxious, lonely and angry, among other things. But if you’re a pet parent, you have an invaluable support system at your disposal during this isolation period – your dog or cat! Studies show that spending time with our animal companions helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, eases feelings of loneliness, and encourages an overall happier mood. In other words, if anyone can help bring a smile to your face these days, it’s your pet!

In addition to lifting our spirits, dogs and cats are wizards when it comes to helping us be present and grounded. They live in a state of mindfulness – the ability to experience and accept each moment as it unfolds. This state of being is reflected back at us when we’re near them, which helps reduce stress and enhance overall well-being. So if you feel your thoughts start to spiral during this self-isolation period, look to your pet!

Safe, beneficial companionship

Whether you’re self-isolating or practicing social distancing – another “degree of separation” recommended by health officials in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak – you’re bound to experience bouts of loneliness. While they can’t talk to you, dogs and cats can be a great source of companionship during this time. In general, pet owners are 36% less likely than non-pet owners to report feeling lonely – so don’t underestimate your pet’s ability to keep you company when you’re hanging out in the safety of your home.

Because loneliness is linked to various health problems, it’s important to take advantage of your fur babe’s presence. Use this time to give your pup a bath, talk to your kitty about your fears, and soak in all the cuddles you can!

Don’t be afraid of fresh air

Social distancing doesn’t mean shutting yourself indoors. In fact, it shouldn’t! Being outside can be extremely beneficial for our mental and physical health in times of crisis or change – it strengthens your immune system, improves energy levels, and helps combat stress and anxiety. So unless you’ve been advised by medical professionals to stay indoors, strap on a mask and take Fido on a walk! The exercise and fresh air will make you both feel much better.

Our dogs and cats aren’t affected by COVID-19 the same way we are, which means they’re the perfect companions during this outbreak. Whether you’re required to quarantine or choosing to take precautionary measures by distancing yourself from others, make healthy choices — and keep your fur babes close!