Now that many people are working from home, more and more people have the time to adopt and take care of a new pet. Chances are that you know someone who’s recently gotten a new dog, or perhaps have even gotten one yourself. More than just being cute and fun to play with, there’s evidence that owning a dog can be good for your health, both physical and mental.
Heath benefits of dogs
This summer, The Washington Post reported that there’s been an adoption boom since quarantine began, with shelters, rescues, and breeders all over the country struggling to keep up with the demand for dogs and puppies. Many organizations have even had to make waiting lists for puppies or certain popular breeds, and some breeders won’t have any more puppies available until 2021. The Washington Post theorized that this explosion of adoption is caused by the loneliness and boredom that’s come with quarantine, as well as the increased amount of free time.
Even before quarantine, most households in the United States had at least one pet. About 38.4% of American households have a dog, more than any other kind of pet. While owning a pet can certainly cure loneliness and boredom, it also has many tangible health benefits. The CDC points out that the bond between pets and owners fosters numerous positive health effects, including:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Increased opportunities for socialization
Can dogs be dangerous?
Your patients may be concerned about getting COVID-19 from their pet or vice versa. So far, there have been a small number of cases of dogs contracting COVID-19 from humans. The CDC recommends keeping dogs from interacting with people or animals outside their household. If someone in the house gets sick, they should be isolated from everyone else, the dog included. The reverse is also true if the dog gets sick. It isn’t necessary to disinfect a dog’s fur or make them wear a mask, as these things are ineffective and have the potential to cause harm to the dog.
So far, however, the benefits of owning a dog seem to outweigh the risk. As long as one has the time and resources to care for a dog, a dog can be an excellent addition to their household, during quarantine or otherwise.
This month, we’re partnering with NEADS World Class Service Dogs to give thanks for dogs and the support they provide on our health care journeys – from creating opportunities to exercise to assisting people with disabilities and mental health conditions. Help us support NEADS by sharing a photo of your dog on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter by December 2. Be sure to tag AllWays Health Partners and NEADS, and use #GiveThanksforDogs. Thank you in advance for your support, we can’t wait to see photos of your good boys and girls!