man smiling while petting his dog
29 October 2020

How Healthy Pets Breed Purposeful Lives

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Posted by Tony Rumschlag | 29-Oct-2020


Dr. Tony Rumschlag is Elanco’s Senior Director of Consulting Veterinarians for U.S. Companion Animals.

Our pets show us how to live in the moment in a busy world where daily stresses pull us in many directions. They teach us how to focus on the now by approaching each day one step, or one paw, at a time. This hasn’t been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study conducted by Elanco, 68% of dog owners say their dogs have become even more of an emotional companion over the course of the pandemic, in a time when many people have reported increased worry or stress due to the virus. What’s more, dog owners – particularly Millennials, Gen Z and Gen X – say they plan to include their dogs more in their daily lives from here on out.

When we need a break from the computer screen or the news on TV, our pets motivate us to get our steps in. I’ve racked up many miles by taking long walks with Abby around our neighborhood. This daily activity is not only a great way for me to stay active, it’s also a fun exercise for Abby. She loves to chase squirrels on our walks, and once we get home Abby is happier and calmer—and I am too.

We have an epidemic of loneliness in our society. Spending more time at home these last few months means I’ve met more of my neighbors — walking Abby, playing in the yard – through my dog. Companion animals can play a big role in our connection as a community. In fact, 40% of pet owners say they receive social support from their pet and 11% of dog owners say they plan to take their dogs to more places after the pandemic than they did before COVID-19. In a world where we’re more self-sufficient and digitally connected, yet lonelier than ever before, companion animals encourage us to rediscover life beyond our devices.

Pets motivate us because they require action – they require us to get up and go. They provide a purpose greater than us and are a driving force in our lives. When our pets are healthy, they help bring out the best in us. I know that’s true for me and Abby. Tune in to Elanco’s podcast, where I sit down with veterinarian Dr. Andy Roark as we discuss the role that companion animals play in helping us to lead a life of passion and purpose. When we take care of our emotional, physical and social wellbeing, we can reach our full potential and I encourage everyone to bring their pets along for the journey.

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