Dogs Can Be Stressed Together With Their Owners

Our pets cannot only show sympathy but also really suffer along with us. This conclusion was reached by scientists from Linköping University (Sweden). For the first time, they showed in an experiment that long-term levels of the stress hormone cortisol in two different organisms can be the same. To do this, the researchers analyzed 58 human-dog pairs and compared the levels of cortisol in their hair.

The character of a dog and a person was determined using two tests — the dog personality questionnaire and BFI (a test that determines the severity of five main human traits: extraversion, benevolence, consciousness, emotional stability and intelligence). Also, the scientists continuously monitored the dogs’ activity levels with a remote cloud collar for a week.

It turned out that in both summer and winter periods there is a correspondence between the concentrations of cortisol in human and dog hair. And this was true for dogs of many characters. It also found that even the dog’s activity levels did not affect long-term cortisol concentration. Scientists cannot say why this is happening. However, they have a hypothesis that this is because the relationship between pets and their owners is like how young children and their mothers influence each other.

In recent years, scientists have found increasing evidence that human intelligence and complex emotions are common to other living things, including dogs, primates, and even crows.

For example, not so long ago, scientists found dogs can understand the intonation and meaning of what their owners tell them. Besides, they communicate with people not for food, but for attention and positive emotions, and they understand the expressions on the faces of the owners. These animals can also memorize “unnecessary” information and use it when communicating with the owner.

And more recently, research by scientists has confirmed that dogs can notice the “smell of fear” — chemical signals of stress that a person gives off, and are easily “infected” by his experience.

Scientists showed volunteers videos that stimulated strong emotional experiences of joyful, frightening or neutral, and collected samples and sweat odors. then they were shown to pets and after that scientists recorded changes in their behavior and heart rate

Dogs that sensed the “smell of fear” showed more pronounced signs of stress than dogs from other groups: their heart rate was significantly higher, they were more actively looking for a connection with their owner and were less willing to get close to strangers. Because of this, scientists have concluded that a chemical communication channel may exist between a pet and its owner, which is invisible to humans, but extremely important for a dog, and by which our pets better understand our experiences.

Another new study complements the state of affairs. Research by scientists from Hungary showed dogs are aware of the relationship between their body and the environment, they have a certain self-awareness, and can also “predict” the consequences of their behavior. Such is the news. Take care of your pets!