Feeling anxious during Quarantine? Consider more time with your pet

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Dogs has shown to statically improve individuals’ well-being in a number of studies.

Jannine Lozano, Section Editor

“Sixty- Seven percent of U.S. households, or about 8.5 million families own a pet,” according to the American Pet association in a survey conducted in 2019-2020. Studies show that pets can positively impact one’s life, by providing companionship that may ease anxiety and provide a smaller chance of health issues.

According to a nationwide cohort study, owning a dog can reduce health risks. In a study conducted in Sweden with 3.4 million participants of men and women between the ages of 40-80. Those that own a dog have a decreased risk from death by 33%, and 36% from a death related to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, dog owners have a 11% lower risk of getting a heart attack.

Companionship from animals may affect human health in later age. Such as a lower risk from a heart attack and early age death.  

“Dogs are very present. If someone is struggling with something, they know how to sit there and be loving” ”

— Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher

Pet owners might also have a lesser chance of experiencing respiratory issues. In a study conducted from  “Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology” it was finalized that exposure to a cat in childhood may decrease the risk of asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis. All respiratory infections that could potentially be harmful when not treated properly. 

Pets are scientifically proven to provide comfort and support to their owners. According to “News in Health” pets can help manage stress and pain. “…attention, intention, compassion, and awareness” are the characteristics animals bring, Dr. Berger said. In a study conducted in order to help children with ADHD, researchers conducted a 12 week study consisting of a group of children who spent 30 minutes a week with a dog. It showed children who spent time with animals had significantly better social skills and experienced fewer corporation . 

Jessica Fox is thankful for her pets on a daily basis. Fox recognizes that her pets make her feel comfortable, “My pets help provide a sense of comfort when feeling stressed or anxious…they help just by being near me whenever I feel isolated due to quarantine.” Fox said. Fox currently has two dogs and two leopard geckos who are “positive and energetic.”

Fox enjoys walking and playing with her dogs outside as well as feeding her geckos while letting them crawl on her. She is a clear example of just how much happiness a pet can bring you.

“Dogs are very present. If someone is struggling with something, they know how to sit there and be loving,” Dr. Ann Berger said.

Along with the enjoyment of having a pet comes responsibility. Providing the right care for your pet is an important aspect of pet ownership.Pets teach children valuable life lessons like responsibility, trust, compassion, respect and patience” said Tracy Trautner, a participant in the MSU extension program. 

Animals may also increase sociability as well as decrease stress. According to the CDC pets “increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize.” Meaning that with exercise, pets could possibly keep one in good health. The CDC also mentions that pets can “lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.” Such as a decrease in blood pressure, cholesterol level, and loneliness while an increase in exercise and socialization. With animals we see an increase in mental and physical health such as more exercise as well as lower stress levels.

Pets can increase interaction with others. Survey results conducted from Harvard health show that there was an estimated 60% of pet owners from the 2,700 tested to socialize with their neighborhood. “Pet ownership appears to be a significant factor for facilitating social interaction and friendship formation within neighborhoods,” said Dr. Lisa Wood, a professor at University of Western Australia. Pet owners usually tend to be more friendly compared to others.

Many studies and people would agree with Ohio State University Medical Veterinary Center, “pets provide their owner with comfort, love and humor, all of which have health benefits.”