When lockdowns started around the world, animal shelters were immediately emptied. It was no surprise that, when a global health crisis happened, leaving populations with collective trauma, people turned to pets for comfort and companionship.
For millions of people around the world, their pets of all shapes and types became a lifeline.
Now, mass vaccinations are underway in many countries around the world. Big countries like United States, United Kingdom, and even small countries like Australia and New Zealand are expected to reach herd immunity in a couple of months, creating hope that, soon, the pandemic will end and life will go back to normal. But, before everyone goes back to school or the office, let us look at how pets helped humanity through one of the worst events that happened in modern history.
Pets Are Good for Mental Health
To say that the pandemic caused high levels of stress would be an understatement. The lockdowns led to several losses, including the loss of livelihood and loss of a loved one. It was a terrible year and, as a result, millions of Americans experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In one survey of 1,000 Americans diagnosed with anxiety and depression, the majority, or 63 percent of all respondents, shared that their symptoms grew worse because of COVID-19.
But, pets are the antidote to mental health disorders. The presence of pets alone cannot cure anxiety or depression; patients still need to talk to a therapist for treatment. However, studies have provided evidence that taking care of pets can improve a person’s overall well-being.
In one study involving college undergrads, researchers found that spending time with a therapy dog can provide relief from stress. Moreover, the participants showed lasting benefits up to six weeks later.
Pets are wonderful because they are non-judgmental creatures who provide love and support. Spending time with pets feels good because people can feel at ease.
Caring for Pets Create Structure throughout the Day
The lockdowns also took away routines which, for many people, can disorient the mind. Even those who still have a job but have to shift to working from home felt stress, anxiety, and grief.
People can and do feel sad over the loss of normalcy in their lives. They experience symptoms common among those who are grieving, such as a feeling of numbness and emptiness, inability to feel joy, trouble sleeping, excess fatigue, muscle weakness, and social withdrawal.
The only way to move past it is to adopt a new daily routine. Pets can help with it. A dog, for example, needs a lot of attention. You have to feed them, train them and give them dog treats nz as a reward, give them exercise and play with them, give them a bath when they get muddy, and brush their fur. Your responsibility as the caretaker of your dog forces you to step out of the bed or couch and do something productive.
Creating a routine around a pet can boost a person’s mood and help them regain the structure of their every day. Regardless of how bland you think of them, routines are good for your mental health because they give you a sense of organization and control over your life. It provides predictability during very unpredictable periods.
Pets Cheer You Up
Every pet owner can tell you that welcoming a dog or a cat into your life brings so much joy. Their little unique quirks, the energy and excitement when they play, and the delight of seeing you come home will always lift your mood and put a smile on your face.
There is also science that explains why pets make you happy. Petting them triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone in your brain most associated with love. It calms the mind and relaxes the body, increasing feelings of social trust and, most importantly, love.
This is important now more than ever because people are isolated from their loved ones. Although they can still speak to friends and family, it has to be done via video chat. Physically being present in a location became too risky. It may endanger the lives of those who you care about.
A pet is physically with you, and they can provide the same love and support,
Pets have been helpful during the pandemic. They were companions to people who have to isolate on their own, far from family and friends. Likely, pets will continue to play an important role in the lives of their owners after the pandemic, helping them gain new social connections and recover from the collective trauma of 2020.