A lot has changed in the past couple of years—people work from home in increasing volumes, social gatherings are less frequent, meetings transpire over the web, children attend school online, groceries get delivered, and in general…people are staying home more to stay safe and to protect others.
The change from the society we once knew to our current world order is jarring and even though we’re accustomed to masking up and doing our parts, the instability of our plight gives us collective mental, physical, and emotional fatigue.
It so happens, though, this exhaustion is exactly why pets are the perfect quarantine companions. Not only are they relatively safe from catching and spreading the virus in the same capacity as humans, they’re also scientifically proven to help us combat the stressors posed by quarantine.
1. Pets Keep You Fit & Active
It didn’t take long for gyms to shutter during the first quarantine, and while some may have tentatively reopened, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay open. What’s more, for safety, many people who previously went to the gym chose not to return for safety reasons.
Thus, weight gain became problematic in the wake of the many quarantines; however, because pets like to play and dogs in particular need to be taken out for walks and potty breaks, pets have been instrumental in keeping people active and thus fit and healthy.
2. Pets Help Buffer Against Psychological Stress
Pets also help people eliminate stress. One study at the University of York and the University of Lincoln showed that 90% of 6,000 respondents said their pets hope them cope emotionally during the lockdown. In fact, it’s relatively well-known that petting your pet can help to eliminate stress.
3. Pets Don’t Judge the Bottom Half of Your Zoom Outfit
Pets are also the perfect quarantine companions because they don’t judge us. They might see that we’re wearing sweatpants or no pants and a sport coat, but they don’t care. They just love that we get to spend the day with them every day instead of trudging off to work.
4. Pets Don’t Have to Socially Distance
Intimacy has been a challenge for many since the start of the need to quarantine. Some couples have to distance themselves and for those who are single or who became single, the loneliness imposed by social distancing can be difficult.
Thus, pets are perfect quarantine companions because they don’t have to socially distance. They can cuddle up with us on the couch, and we can indulge in a nice stress-relieving pet-and-cuddle session. It’s enough to make you forget anything was even a bother!
5. Pets Help the Lonely Feel Connected
Pets also help us by keeping us connected. Sadly, depression has been a major factor during quarantine particularly for the elderly (as evidenced by an AARP article about seniors and their pets) who have to distance from family, grandchildren, etc. in order to minimize the risk of getting sick. Having a pet keeps people connected and it gives a sense of purpose.
6. Pets Motivate Us to Take Care of Ourselves
Pets in the lives of those who might otherwise be lonely give them someone else to care for and an additional sense of purpose beyond themselves. Many people put more effort into caring for others or their pets; thus, pets motivate people to take care of themselves in order to guarantee that they will be well and strong enough to care for the pets that need them.
7. Pets Lift Our Spirits Because They Don’t Know What’s Going On
If you’ve logged on social media in the past half hour, chances are you’ve seen something about the situation our country is in…and chances are it frustrated you and maybe made you feel disheartened. Yet another reason pets are the perfect quarantine companions is because they have no idea what’s going on.
They have no interest in sharing their opinion about a tweet or a podcast that got them excited because…they don’t care. All they care about is you and your happiness and the time you two spend together.
8. Pets are Excited to See Us When We Do Return
While the focus here is on quarantine, which we associate with being home, there are many people who have to leave home and navigate a minefield of social distancing and masked conversations in order to eventually return home at the end of the day.
The excitement that pets have when they see us is contagious. Nobody else is as excited to see you as your pet, which at the end of a long day…someone who is just happy to see you and who won’t disagree with what you have to say and who just wants to give you a cuddle really is all you need.
9. Pets Listen to Our Concerns without Interruption
Pets are also the best listeners. Whether you’ve been at home or solo parenting or out in the world trying to get back home, chances are, you’ve had a few thoughts that you’d like to get off your chest.
If you’ve tried to talk to someone else about your feelings, chances are, they interjected with their own. People are lonely and are dying to talk to someone. Thus, it’s awfully nice to have pets who just listen to our thoughts and feelings without any kind of interruption.
10. Pets Keep Us in the Present Moment
Finally, pets are the best quarantine companions because they take our minds off of the things we can’t control and put us in the present. We can’t control quarantine. We can’t control what trajectory any of the things in our world take right now, which is a lot to deal with (in addition to the stuff we already deal with…yeesh!).
Pets help us because as soon as we’re alone with our sweet pet, the rest of the world magically melts away, and the only place we are is with our pets…petting them, looking into their soulful eyes, and making a meaningful connection in the midst of a distant and chaotic world.
Pets really do help us connect; they keep us present. There’s no better quarantine companion than a pet. We at Wellness Pet Food believe in the power of pets. We also believe it’s important to keep pets healthy, which is why we make a large variety of natural pet foods…so your pet stays healthy for everyone they love.