Pets help owners cope during isolation

a woman and a dog relaxing on the couch

The nation’s pets are there to help the millions of Americans practice social distancing and home isolation to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.  During stressful times, scientific studies show the therapeutic benefits of human-animal interaction such as reducing stress and loneliness and improving overall mental and physical health.

The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), supported by Nationwide, has funded and gathered scientific research that shows how companion animals can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, promote healthy activity and provide a boost to the cardiovascular system.

Research also shows that pets are also a part of the solution to social isolation and loneliness, a growing public health epidemic even before the coronavirus pandemic. A national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners by HABRI and Mars Petcare found that:

  • 85% of respondents agree interaction with pets can help reduce loneliness
  • 76% agree human-pet interactions can help address social isolation
  • 72% believe human-animal interaction is good for their community

“The human-animal bond can help lower stress, and the routine of caring for a pet can provide feelings of security and normalcy for improved mental health,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “Pet owners are also more likely to achieve recommended levels of daily exercise and have lower blood pressure, contributing to better physical health.”

“Nationwide is focused on supporting pet owners and strengthening the human-animal bond,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s associate vice president of veterinary relations. “HABRI research helps to reinforce the message that having a pet can be a huge benefit during this crisis.”

HABRI and the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) recently certified Nationwide as a Human-Animal Bond Certified Company, a designation bestowed for its commitment to strengthening the human-animal bond through research, education, professional development and support for its customers.

“Nationwide is committed to protecting our members’ pets through thick and thin,” added Dr. Benson. “As a veterinarian, I also want to call out the amazing work that veterinary practices are doing at this time to care for our nation’s pets.”

Current information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates there is no evidence that companion animals can contract or spread COVID-19. For more information about animals and COVID-19, please visit CDC.

“During these stressful times, it is more important than ever that our nation be able to depend on the mutual benefit of the human-animal bond,” said Dr. Benson.

To help maintain the health and well-being of your pet, make sure you have the right pet insurance coverage to cover their medical needs.