Researchers from a university in Sweden published the findings regarding their study that dogs can mirror the stress being felt by the owner.
The research was conducted among 58 respondents who are all dog owners of border collies and Shetland sheepdogs. They examined the cortisol level from the hairs of the dog owners and their pet dogs. Cortisol is a type of hormone released into the bloodstream and detected in the hair follicles as a response to stress.
Depression, unemployment, physical exercise, can be examples of stresses that can affect the cortisol level in a person’s hair. The research team found out that cortisol levels in the hair of the dog closely resembles that of its owner both in summer and winter months. This indicates that the levels of stress o both human and dog are on the same trend.
The researcher thinks that it is the human that exerts the influence over the animal. There is not enough evidence about whether the dog also affects the stress level of humans. What was established was that whenever the pet owner feels stress, the dog likewise feels the same thing.
They cannot explain in particular why there is the synchronization of the hormone, but there might be a possibility that this is manifested more in competitive dogs and not so much on less competitive pooches.
The bond established between owner and pet animal through the years can be the reason why dogs are on the receiving end of the influence. Dogs are also more focused on their human owners rather than the opposite. Humans have other concerns other than their pet dog.
Cortisol does not necessarily mean negative stresses; it could also indicate a positive experience such as an exercise. Meantime, dog owners are advised to minimize the causes of stress on their pets. Allow them to play more to avoid the negative effects of stress.
The researchers also plan to conduct the same study on other breeds of dogs.
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Source: CBS Philly via Youtube