People, Pets, and a Pandemic

People, Pets, and a Pandemic

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., – Living through a pandemic has been an interesting and challenging time for all of us. It has caused us all to start putting time into other hobbies, get closer to different loved ones, and oddly enough caused us to add new members to our families.

No, we are not talking about marriages or adoption of people. We are talking about those other family members we get to choose… our pets.

A survey from TD Ameritrade showed that 33 percent of Americans are now starting to consider adding a new pet into their families while social distancing and lockdowns are still in effect. It seems that of the 33 percent, half of the people surveyed who wished to add a new pet into their homes were millennials.

According to Packaged Facts research firm “54 percent of US households own at least one pet” while they also predict that there will be a at least a 4 percent growth for pet ownership during this pandemic. This would increase pet owning household up to 71 million by the end of the year.

With all these households in America trying to add a new pet into their family it begins to beg the question of why do people really want to add a new pet into their home? Also, it would be interesting to see if there are actually benefits to having a pet in the household.

Studies have shown that having a pet in the household with children can help prevent the risk of allergies and asthma later in their life.  James E. Gern, MD, who is a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, “The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided.” Now we see an increasing amount of studies show that if a child grows up with a pet or an animal

Another benefit for having a pet in the house is the calming affect that pets have for patients with Alzheimer’s.

“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD.

While it is no doubt that pets do have a sort of calming effect on people. Studies have shown that stockbrokers, who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, who adopted a cat or dog, had lower blood pressure readings when they went back into stressful and high intensity situations.

Having a pet in the household can be more than just something different or new to get out of the rut of quarantine. There are proven health benefits to pet ownership, not even just for one individual but also to other members of the family.

Even though hard times are happening, and responsibilities do come with being a pet owner. It seems that with all of these benefits of having a pet, it might be worth going by the animal shelter and adopting one of these furry friends.

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