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Achieving Some Certainty In Uncertain Times


–by Anna Cooke


Pet foster applications have increased by more than 200% over the last few months as a result of the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders. Millions of Americans have been prac- ticing social distancing and home isolation to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and our pets have been a godsend. Scientific studies have shown 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 Pet Insurance, has funded and gath- ered scientific research that shows how companion animals can reduce stress and anxiety, promote healthy activity and pro- vide a boost to the cardiovascular system. The research proves that pets are also a part of the solution to prolonged social isolation and loneliness, a growing public health


Whiskey, who is covered by Nationwide Pet Health Insurance, and


his human Ashton.


epidemic even before the coronavirus pan- demic. A national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners by HABRI and Mars Petcare found that:


•85% of respondents agree that interaction with pets can help reduce loneliness. •76% agree that 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 leading to 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.” While we value our own healthcare, the


extra time at home has us also thinking about our pets’ healthcare. Over the last few months,


www.TheNewBarker.com


some of us may have cancelled annual or semi-annual wellness checkups, and perhaps missed important vaccinations. Uncertainty may have us also thinking more about the what-ifs: an injury or an unexpected illness with our pets. We’re in front of our computers now


more than ever. Pet health insurance and determining its value is another area pet own- ers are contemplating and researching. More than two million pets in the United States and Canada were insured at the end of 2017, up about 17 percent from 2016, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). A May 2020 report from NAPHIA shows that close to 2.82 mil- lion pets were insured at the end of 2019 and that pet health insurance has been increasing at an average growth rate of 22.1 percent over the last five years. We recently spoke with Dr. Jules Benson,


associate vice president of veterinary relations for Nationwide Pet Insurance. “We’ve defi- nitely seen an upswing in pet health insurance along with pet adoptions,” Dr. Benson told us. Unlike most pet health insurance compa-


nies, a Nationwide pet policy covers up to 90% of wellness costs in addition to veterinary expenses associated with illnesses and injuries. “Wellness checkups are important to a dog’s health and overall well-being,” Dr. Benson reiterated. “From puppy to geriatric. And, remember, some dogs get older quicker than others. So, the costs of a wellness checkup may begin to add up as the dog becomes older and additional tests and/or blood work may be needed.” Still, for some pet owners, pet health insur-


ance may be considered a luxury; something that just isn't in the budget, especially now. “From a budgeting standpoint,” said Dr. Benson, “it is much easier to budget a known recurring cost than to wait and see what the bill is going to be during a vet visit.” We also found that Nationwide Pet


Insurance has reasonable rates to fit the budget of almost every pet parent’s wallet. The compa- ny makes reimbursement easy. Nationwide also covers behavior and genetic issues.


THE NEW BARKER 79 Continued g


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