Maintaining social connections is important for both our own and our dogs’ mental well-being. While we may not be able to give those who live outside our home a physical hug during this time, we can give them virtual hugs via apps such as FaceTime, Skype, Meet, or Zoom. Studies show that dogs can see what is on computers and television screens, and hearing familiar voices is also beneficial for them.

• Schedule a virtual meet-up with multiple friends or family members and chat in real-time. Include your dog or other pets on visual calls. You could set up a group meet-up and share what you’ve been doing and ideas to combat loneliness or boredom.

• Local nursing homes and hospice facilities may be open to virtual meet-ups as well. You could offer to show off your dog’s training tricks or simply hang out and talk for a short time. Evidence suggests that just looking at our pets…

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