Imagine this- It’s Friday afternoon, you’ve had a tough but productive week. You are making plans for how you’re going to spend your weekend. Catch up on chores maybe or just sleep for straight 2 days. Suddenly, you get an email for an urgent task that needs to be submitted by EOD. This is followed by another one asking you to re-work on a task that will take a whole day to complete and you just remember that you have two meetings lined up for today! This Friday suddenly does not look so good. At that moment, your little furry friend walks into your room and just looks at you with a tilted head. Your shoulders feel lighter now and your stress appears to melt away. That’s the effect our pets have on us, just their presence makes everything seem 100 times better than they are.
This doesn’t just apply to pet parents and working professionals of course. The internet is full of funny and silly cat and dog videos for a reason! There’s a reason why cats and dogs are helpful for therapy. Pets bring us joy. They help reduce stress and release happy hormones in the human body.
We know this fact is backed by science. Psychologists believe that therapy dogs work as great emotional support for human beings. The relationship between a dog and a human is unlike any other and the pandemic has helped strengthen this fact.
This pandemic has been distressing for all of us in all sorts of ways but our pets have been a great emotional support for us during this time. Here are just some of the ways our pets help us beat the pandemic stress:
They provide a sense of routine
Uncertainty and unpredictability are two feelings everyone has shared in this ongoing pandemic. These feelings can trigger anxiety, negative emotions and be stress contributors. Our pets provide us with a sense of certainty and predictability by giving us a routine. For example- your demanding cat will meow uncontrollably if you forget to give her food on time.
They help release happy hormones
Did you know petting, holding, cuddling your dog/cat or just watching them helps your brain release endorphins like dopamine and oxytocin? These endorphins help in increasing positive emotions and decrease blood pressure and heart rate.
They provide contact comfort
Contact comfort is the term psychologists use for the comfort you get from touch. Humankind misses hugs and high-fives now more than ever! But cuddling with your dogs and cats can make up for what social distancing has deprived you of. Interacting with your furry friends can reduce the sense of loneliness and make up for the reduced human interaction.
They make you laugh
Remember that uncle who told you his morning laughter therapy sessions are the reason for his good health? Maybe he was right. It is known that laughter helps reduce stress and has positive after-effects. Your pets’ weird shenanigans are sure to make you smile and laugh. This eventually helps in reducing your stress levels & releasing feel-good hormones.
They make you move
Working from home you’re usually stuck in one room for a good 8 to 9 hours. Being in one place for that many hours is not good for your physical and mental health. Your pet’s curiosity to see what’s on your laptop or their constant demand for attention makes you move out of the room every now and then. This makes you get up and take a break. Dog pet parents especially have to take a walk outside every day. This increases your contact with nature and helps to keep you mentally & physically active.
They provide support without judgment
Your pet will love you even if you stay in pajamas all day. Their love is non-judgemental. They make you feel valued and provide unconditional support without any criticism. Even if the pandemic is giving you a tough time and when you’ve had a bad day at work, you can simply walk to your pet, hug them and for a moment you will know that it’s all going to be okay.
You need to give back the love
Remember that if the lockdown is hard on us, it’s hard on our pets too. For our pets, the pandemic has brought its own set of problems. Lack of food supplies, veterinary care along with a change of routine has left them confused. This has led to an increase in behavioral issues as well.
Dr. Anand, an Expert Canine Behaviorist and the Head of Veterinary Services at Wiggles.in has come across multiple cases of changes in dog behavior due to the lockdown. If you’d like to know more about it, head to this blog.
Our pets are always there for us and we need to be there for them too. So, as responsible pet parents, we must take measures to keep our pets happy in this pandemic. Dr. Anand suggests to help your pets utilize their pent-up energy. Play with them, take them on regular walks and spend an ample amount of quality time with them. This helps to keep your pets mentally & physically stimulated & happy.
Apart from this, continue taking care of yourself and your pets because the pandemic is not over yet. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Help pets practice social distancing during your walks. You can go on walks early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid meeting a lot of people.
- Sanitize your pet only with a pet-friendly sanitizer.
- Minimize contact with your pets if you feel unwell or have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Assign a caretaker for your pet. This caretaker should be equipped with all your pet’s details including deworming papers & vaccination documents.
- Keep a pet emergency kit handy. This kit should include at least 30 days worth of your dog’s medications among other necessary supplies.
- Keep at least 2 week’s worth of your pet’s food stocked up.
Continue taking care and remember to cherish this time with your pets, you know you’re going to miss it once we start stepping out again.