I write this blog post from my home, where my family and I have been self-isolating for eighteen days. You are most likely also at home, perhaps wearing your day pajamas until 8:00 pm, when it’s time to change into your nighttime pajamas.

The current pandemic has changed everyone’s lives, but our canine friends aren’t complaining. They have their humans home with them all day, and may even be getting extra walks and playtime as people yearn to be outside. It’s a tough time to be a person, but a good time to be a dog with a home. And our dogs make it a bit easier to hunker down, too.

Six Benefits of Staying at Home with your Dog

You have to get moving, at least a little. That pup needs to go for a walk, and so do you! Even if you have a fenced-in yard, your dog needs to get out and about to exercise, sniff around, and do his business. Exercise releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body, so take Fido for a walk! Or two, or three. 

Dogs can be stress reducers. Studies abound in this area; playing with dogs has been found to raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, and this helps you relax. Cuddle with your pup, pet her, scratch that belly…she’ll love it, and so will you.

You’re not alone. Dogs keep us company, and that can be a lifesaver during this period of self-isolation. And if you aren’t alone in your home but wishing you were at times, your dog may be the most consistently pleasant member of your household.

You’re not talking to yourself. Self-isolating is mentally stressful, but being able to talk to your pup may make you feel a little saner, especially if you live alone. On the flip side, if you’re tired of talking to the other humans in your home, your dog does not talk back.

There is plenty of time for training. Have a foster or newly adopted dog? You now have lots of time to train him. You can even use this time at home to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s mentally stimulating for him, and let’s face it…you could stand to step away from Netflix for a bit.

Caring for a pet adds structure and routine  At best, the pandemic is causing stress, isolation, and uncertainty. Our lives have been turned upside down, and one way to manage this upheaval is to maintain a routine that feels normal. Your dog is a creature of habit, and still needs to be walked and fed, so let her schedule help structure your day. Pets live in the moment and take one day at a time…try to follow their lead.