The pandemic, to the whole world, could be many things. But to pet lovers, it could be that realization that we could love our pets even more. Yes, more than how we already did during the pre-pandemic.
The pandemic has not only brought families and friends closer. It has also brought pet parents and their pets closer. According to a survey conducted by Money.com, almost a year into the pandemic, 58% of Americans expressed how they love and care for their pets even more.
And not only that. Even those not into pets adopted their own as it helped them cope with their pandemic struggles. The majority of those who adopted said they have always wanted to adopt one. Some said they did because they knew they’d be at home most of the time, and pets could be good company. Others said they had the free time to take care of a pet. Meanwhile, some said they were lonely, and a pet could ease their loneliness. What’s even interesting is that a big number of them got their pets from shelters, which made it more inspiring.
The effect of having pets at home during the pandemic
Since time immemorial, studies have proven how therapeutic pet care could be. Even before the pandemic, spending time with pets, playing with them, and taking care of them have brought positive emotions towards their pet owners. But, having a pet as the whole world struggles with the pandemic is something noteworthy.
According to a survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital. 45% of those who own pets said that spending time with their pets while in self-isolation has increased their happiness at home. They said it eased their anxiety and appeased their uncertainties. This is especially true for millennials.
Pets have helped us deal with our stress and anxiety. But, we might also be projecting our negative emotions to our fur babies.
Our pets feel how we feel
Studies and surveys have shown how pets are helpful during this pandemic. But National Geographic also reported that pets showed signs of stress and anxiety when left alone at home. These signs include barking and being fidgety when there are loud or sudden noises.
The National Geographic report includes a survey conducted by behavioral consultant Jon Bowen at the Royal Veterinary College in London. According to the survey, some pet owners felt that the pandemic affected the quality of life of their fur babies. They also observed some changes in the behavior of their pets, specifically dogs.
This is why dog owners are encouraged to enroll their dogs in behavior modification training. These immersive training sessions include modifying behaviors. These include too much barking, dogs’ fear and anxiety, and resource guarding. This could take up to six to eight weeks, and this does not only include your dog. You will also be part of the training. This is so that you get to know your pet’s behavior more and so that you can manage them better at home.
But, while stuck at home, here are some tips for managing your pets when they feel stressed:
· Be calm.
Studies show that pets get a sense of how we feel, and in turn, feel the same way. If you see signs of stress on your pets, do not panic. They have to sense that you are confident and calm and that everything is alright. This will help calm them. Rub their tummies or pat them on the head. Eventually, they will feel at ease when they see you doing okay.
· Give them their spot.
Allot an area where they can stay in a corner when they feel stressed. It will serve as their safe spot where they can lie comfortably until they feel better again. Put their favorite pet goodies at hand, so they can reach them anytime.
· Distract them.
Good background music always works for pets who are distressed. You might want to turn on the television, too, so it distracts them from whatever that’s bothering them.
· Take them for a walk.
As long as you maintain social distancing outside, bringing them for a walk would be nice. Just as we, humans, are feeling cabin fever, our pets might also be feeling stuck inside the four corners of the house. It would be nice for them to see the outdoors and to breathe fresh air. If there are other dogs in the park, the better.
Pets are, indeed, a blessing to many households during this pandemic. Be mindful that just like us, pets also sense the atmosphere of their present environment. They get to share whatever their owners are feeling. If you don’t want your pets to feel stressed and anxious, surround them with love, care, and happiness.