Feeling stressed? Pets help people cope during isolation

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Studies funded by HABRI and supported by Nationwide confirm therapeutic benefits of having pets during stressful times

“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.

As millions of Americans practice social distancing and home isolation to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the nation’s pets are there to help. Scientific studies show that human-animal interaction can reduce stress and loneliness and improve 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.

About HABRI
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit http://www.habri.org.

About Nationwide pet insurance
With more than 800,000 insured pets, Nationwide is the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States. Nationwide pet health insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2018); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2018). Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit http://www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2020

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Jamie Baxter
The Impetus Agency
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