Dogs can help us live longer, healthier lives.
With the added stress, isolation, and health risks brought on by coronavirus, dogs can do more for your health than you might think. Many people are currently experiencing the most stressful period of their lives and they are scared. But our pets and support animals are happier than ever to have us around. They don’t know what’s going on or why they’re getting so many more walks and couch time, but they’re delighted.
Dogs can do a great deal to help their humans cope with stress.
The relationship between wellbeing and canine companionship is well documented. Having a dog or other companion animals have enormous health benefits that go beyond mental. The presence of animals has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve recovery from heart disease, and even reduce asthma and allergy rates for children raised with pets. As many of us know, caring for animals can improve our psychological well-being and self-esteem. This has even been demonstrated among the homeless and vulnerable communities. Caring for an animal actually helps us make better decisions.
If the current pandemic has left you feeling isolated, consider fostering a dog. If your building or landlord does not allow dogs, but the presence of a dog would alleviate stress, consider registering your dog as an Emotional Support Animal. Emotional Support Animals are exempt from housing policies under the Fair Housing Act.
Dogs and support animals can provide much needed companionship during this trying time.
Dogs provide unconditional love and affection. It’s no surprise that 98% of animal owners consider their pets part of their family. Dogs have shown over and over to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. Don’t take our word for it, in the past month, thousands of animals from shelters and humane societies have been adopted or placed in foster homes as people all over the country seek out companionship during this time. Shelters are even running out of adoptable pets. Consider adding love and support to your life by fostering a dog during coronavirus. Fostering is a great way try out what it’s like to have a dog. Remember adoption is a lifelong commitment.
Dogs create a sense of routine.
If you don’t have kids getting you out of bed, consider the four-legged kind. Dogs literally require you to leave the house every morning and a few other times a day. A daily routine that gets you out of the house at a consistent time is arguably the best thing you can do to create a sense of normalcy and add to your wellbeing. In fact, dog owners are likely to live longer than non-dog owners. Having a dog reduces risk of death from any cause by 24% according to a study published by the American Heart Association. The benefits are most likely related to increased activity from regular walks. Coronavirus doesn’t mean anything to dogs and they still expect their morning walk.
If you have a Service Animal, you should do your best to maintain their sense of routine. Service Animals are used to working and they may become bored or even depressed if they don’t get to perform their daily tasks. Be sure to continue their exercise and keep their brain active with puzzles and games.
Dogs are not known to spread coronavirus.
The Center for Disease Control has stated that there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to their people. CDC is aware of a very small numbers of pets including dogs and cats outside the US who have tested positive for COVID-19 but there are no reports in the US.
The first report of an animal testing positive for COVID-19 in the US was a tiger in a zoo in New York City. Evidence is still being collected, but it is believed that several lions and tigers became ill with respiratory issues after being exposed to an infected zoo employee with active symptoms.
If you become ill and care a Support Animal or Service Animal, you should take precautions.
There is still no evidence of animals spreading the virus to humans and there is no reason to make any preemptive changes to your dog’s routine at home. If you become sick with COVID-19 (suspected or confirmed) you should restrict contact with animals just as you would with other people at home. While there are no reports of coronavirus and dogs in the US, the CDC is still recommending to use caution until more is known to ensure you and your animals stay healthy. You can avoid snuggling and being licked, and take caution when handling their food. You should wash your hands before interacting with your animal and avoid touching your face. Support Animals can still perform their daily tasks during this time.
Now is an especially good time to enjoy companionship from a pet or Support Animal.