Animals are more intuitive than people realize. Just as dogs can pick up on pregnancy in a human, man’s best friend can also detect our stress levels. If you think your dog is more stressed out than normal, it might be time to take a look at how the stress you project could be affecting your pooch.
Matching Stress Levels
In a study that examined the relationship between dogs and their owners, evidence was found that suggests dogs can take on the stress of their owner. Study participants were required to answer questions, both about themselves and their dogs. The subjects in the test (both human and dog) supplied hair samples, showing the levels of cortisol present over a span of six months. In both instances, the sample from the dogs matched their owners when measuring the stress hormone.
How Dog Behavior Gives Us Clues About Our Health
Knowing that dogs imitate our stress levels, and not the other way around, means it can help to pay attention to them. Because dogs share their lives with their owners, it is easier to pick up on subtle signals we might otherwise ignore. If you see your dog displaying signs of agitation or other stress, for example, consider what’s going on in your life. Do you take home stress from work and internalize it? Knowing that your beloved pet can provide clues into your life can help you make positive improvements.
Knowing the Signs of Stress in Dogs
For a better understanding of the connection between dogs and their owners’ stress levels, it helps to know the signs of stress in a dog. Knowing what to look for can help you better determine if your dog’s mental well-being may be suffering.
According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most common signs include:
- Panting excessively.
- Going to the bathroom in the house, even if they are potty trained.
- Acting aggressive when they normally aren’t.
- Destructive behavior.
If you notice these situations occurring, it may be time to take a step back and look at what could be wrong. Pay attention to how you react to situations, particularly those where your dog is present. Making efforts to keep a calm, level head, even under stress, can create a more peaceful lifestyle for you and your dog.
Dogs can pick up on stress from their humans, even if it’s unintentional. By taking the time to better understand your dog and catch yourself in moments of unintended stress and panic, you can work toward a calm and peaceful life that benefits everyone.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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