There’s never a bad time to have a dog, but you will be especially thankful for your furry friend during a pandemic. Dogs provide company, a source of happiness, a reason to get some exercise, and they can distract from the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Isolation takes a toll

During a time when everyone is supposed to practice social distancing, it’s easy to feel lonely. Maybe you are accustomed to seeing friends and colleagues at work or school, but you’re now confined to your home. Social gatherings of more than 10 people are out of the question, so your weekly book club stopped meeting and the kid’s sporting events have been cancelled.

Self-quarantining also disrupts diet, exercise, and sleep. Maybe you’re eating more frozen dinners, take-out, and convenience foods. Your gym is closed and you’re not leaving home, so you’re not moving as much as you usually do. Maybe you’re staying up later or napping during the day to pass the time, and your sleep schedule is thrown off.

It’s a troubling time for everyone, but social isolation can be especially difficult for those who don’t have a large family to spend time with. Consider yourself lucky to have a dog.

How your dog can help you during a pandemic

Your dog can help you overcome some of the biggest challenges of social isolation and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak: loneliness, anxiety, stress, depression, physical inactivity, boredom, and uncertainty.

  • Your dog provides a nice distraction when cabin fever sets in. Take the opportunity to practice obedience commands or learn some new tricks.
  • Dogs, just like people, need physical activity everyday. Your dog helps keep you accountable to get your steps in each day. Take your dog for a walk, while practicing social distancing, or step out in the back yard and play some fetch.
  • Dogs provide excellent company. They love you and think that you’re the greatest human in the entire world!
  • Research shows that dogs help improve your mood, make you happy, and prevent loneliness and depression.
  • Taking care of your dog during this time can help you establish a routine; this helps give you a sense of control and certainty. Your dog depends on you, and appreciates everything that you do.

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