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How Pets Benefit Our Health

Posted April 08, 2021 | By Wellbeing Network Team

Raise your hand if you like slobbery kisses, wet noses, and don’t mind picking up poop or scooping up litter on a daily basis. We’re looking at you, pet lovers.

You are trending worldwide these days. Nearly half of the people in the world own pets, according to some estimates. It’s no secret that pets are good for your physical and mental health, both of which have been impacted during these pandemic times.

People are confined to their homes. They can’t see their loved ones. They may be too nervous to go to their favorite restaurants. Socially distant seats at the movie theater may feel off-putting.

Enter Man’s Best Friend. Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters. Pick whatever cute and cuddly creature fits best into your needs and lifestyle.

It could even be a pod of tropical fish. Some of the benefits of a home aquarium include reducing levels of stress, improving sleep quality, and lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

It’s no surprise that since the summer, there has been a pet boom. People are stopping by pet shelters, non-profit rescues, pet stores and breeders, looking for love.

Some breeders are looking at waiting lists that stretch into next year, although there are plenty of other options if you are less picky at shelters everywhere across America. (and it’s a far cheaper option, too).

“Suddenly, it’s like touch is deadly,” Janette Young, a lecturer in health sciences at the University of South Australia, told Forbes. “Caring, companionable touch with another being is really vital to us as human beings.”

The focus of pet therapy has been well-documented in nursing homes and hospitals. That therapeutic touch now extends to our homes during these times of isolation. 

Young recently published a study in the Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy titled “Pets, touch, and Covid-19: health benefits from non-human touch through times of stress.”

“Touch is integral to human relating and relationships; from close intimate touch with those we love, to handshakes and air-kisses as formal greetings between strangers.”

In lieu of that, she offers some pet-friendly advice.

“Now is the time to grasp the value of cross-species relationships we call pets and develop policies that recognize and include them in the fabric of law and policies that frame the societies we share with them,” she writes.

Two paws up, people.

This article originally appeared on GrowingBolder.com, a partner with the Winter Park Health Foundation in the Wellbeing Network.

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