If you are stressed, so is your dog

The relationship between humans and dogs has been forming for thousands of years, resulting in the creation of a strong bond between the two. The reasons behind dogs being called “man’s best friend” are varied, but the main ones are dogs’ deep loyalty to people and their ability to interpret human emotions.

Dogs have the ability to sense and detect the various signals emitted by humans, both through body language and the smells emitted by people. But this same canine ability forged by centuries of living together can go even further, to the point of absorbing what their human companions feel. Making “if you’re stressed, your dog is stressed” more relevant than it is today.

Can a human’s stress and anxiety be transferred to their canine companion?

Dogs, like humans and other animals, can suffer from stress and anxiety, along with all the problems these can trigger if they last longer than is naturally normal. But in addition to the common causes of stress and anxiety, recent studies have shown that dogs can also develop stress and anxiety due to the mental state of one of their owners.

In the study published in the journal Scientific Reports on June 06, by zoologist Lina Roth and colleagues at Linkoping University in Sweden; it shows that dogs living with people suffering from prolonged anxiety or stress are highly likely to manifest the same levels and even enter its chronic stage. All this thanks to the dogs’ ability to sense human emotions and consequently make them their own.

In this way and through various tests, Roth and his colleagues found strong evidence that the emotional states of humans affect dogs, as they feel the energies transmitted by their owners. This can be seen to a greater or lesser extent in day to day life, when the person is happy, their dog is even happier, when the person is discouraged the dog gets sad, and if you are stressed, your dog is stressed too.

The study conducted by Linkoping University

For the study, 58 pairs of dogs were recruited, including 33 Shetland Shepherd breeds and 25 Border Collies. The research focused on studying the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the hair of pets and their owners to measure the different levels over an extended period of time.

And despite measuring other variables such as seasonal differences in activity levels and lifestyle, the stress and anxiety levels of the canines studied always corresponded to those of their owners. That is, when there was a person with high levels of cortisol in their hair, their dog also had similar or equal levels of cortisol.

A curious fact obtained during the research was that this only occurred in one direction and not the other way around, so that stressed dogs or dogs with prolonged anxiety did not produce this state in their owners; but humans did transmit it to their pets.

Image courtesy of (www.expertoanimal.com), all rights reserved.

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