Pets can provide company and comfort in the face of social isolation, high anxiety, and the stress many of us may be experiencing these days. Pets provide a nonjudgmental, emotionally supportive relationship for individuals of all ages!
There are many health and mental health benefits of owning a pet. Studies point to the physical and emotional benefits of our relationships with other species. Specifically, studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to owners (Wein, H., & Hicklin, 2018).
Some of the health benefits of having a pet include:
• Decreased blood pressure
• Decreased cholesterol levels
• Decreased triglyceride levels
• Decreased feelings of loneliness
• Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
• Increased opportunities for socialization
Pets can also help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. Most households in the United States have at least one pet, in fact, an estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet.
In setting a daily routine for yourself while respecting the COVID-19 health guidelines, make sure to include your pet! An example of this could be:
• Scheduling at least 5-10 minutes before or after meals to spend time with your pet
• Scheduling certain days throughout the week to clean their ears, brush their teeth, or give them a bath
• Teach them a new trick
• Take pictures with your pet and share with others!
In the same way that we are doing our best to stay healthy, it’s important for us to keep our pets healthy too!
It is important to wash your hands to help reduce the risk of getting sick from germs pets can carry (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019).
Always wash hands:
• After touching or playing with your pet
• After feeding your pet or handling pet food
• After handling pet habitats or equipment (cages, tanks, toys, food and water dishes, etc.)
• After cleaning up after pets
• After leaving areas where animals live (coops, barns, stalls, etc.), even if you did not touch an animal
• Before eating and drinking
• Before preparing food or drinks
• After removing soiled clothes or shoes
I hope you all take some time to spend with your pets today as there are so many physical and emotional benefits in owning and caring for pets!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). About Pets & People. Retrieved from
Wein, H., & Hicklin, T. (Eds.). (2018). The Power of Pets. Retrieved April 2, 2020, from
By: Nicole Gulkis, MS, LPC