Studies have long demonstrated that pet ownership can improve quality of life, lowering blood pressure, alleviating loneliness, and encouraging more physical activity. Research following pandemic lock-downs found that there are significant mental health benefits to owning a dog.
According to a new study from Nestle Purina Research published in the journal PLOS One, dog owners had lower depressions scores and a stronger sense of social support. These perks of pet ownership may have provided people with furry housemates with a buffer against the isolation and stress of the global pandemic.
According to a recent Yahoo Living report, 91 percent of dog owners who participated in this new study said their dogs helped them cope emotionally and 96 percent said their pets helped them stay active during quarantine with daily walks. Pet dog owners were found to be significantly less depressed than non-pet owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were a few drawbacks to owning a pet during shut-downs of 2020 – access to veterinary care, grooming and pet supplies may have been limited causing some difficulties for pet owners. But, dog owners who were surveyed for the study had a significantly more positive attitude towards and commitment to pets.
Pets can help provide emotional stability and affection during stressful events and people often say that pet ownership boosts self-esteem and they feel unconditional love from their pet relationship. A 2018 study investigating successful aging in older adults also reported a link between dog ownership and psychological wellbeing. Having a dog was associated with fewer chronic illnesses and higher functional ability. Dog ownership was also found to raise subjective success among older adults who lacked human support.
Even with all the busyness of the holiday season, don’t forget to thank your fur baby for their devotion throughout the years with a nice walk or a play in the park, and a little tasty treat.