They can sense your stress too!

Pet parents with their pooch

Be it work pressure or academic stress, it transpires from your workplace to your humble abode. We tend to undermine the effect it has on our near and dear ones. More so this anxious aura gets passed onto your four-legged family member too.

A couple of Swedish researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden examined a group of 58 individuals who own border collies or Shetland sheepdogs, respectively. They conducted an experiment wherein they collected hair samples from the dogs and their respective owners to have a closer look at cortisol levels in the bloodstream.


Cortisol is the hormone released in response to stress. When the body experiences stress, the chemical substance is released into the bloodstream and then absorbed and stored by the hair follicles. Lina Roth, one of the researches, outlines how concerns like depression, excessive physical exercise and unemployment aggravate the levels of cortisol found in one’s hair strands.

Linköping University Campus

Linköping University Campus

After an assessment of both types of hair, Roth and her team found a correlation of stress found in both the dog and the dog owner’s hair. From this test, she concluded that the personality traits of the owners played a huge role in canines experiencing stress.

That being said, the researchers haven’t found a proper link that justifies the sync between the two family members. A theory that has been proposed by the team is that the connection may have formed during the initial stages of this bond. It could also be evaluated from the angle of how the pet idolizes his/her owner.

Dog owner and Dog

When speaking to the HuffPost, Alicia Buttner, the director of Animal Behavior with the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha said “New evidence is continually emerging, showing that people and their dogs have incredibly close bonds that resemble the ones that parents share with their children. There are many factors that could affect a person or dog’s stress levels and could possibly even dampen them”.

So here’s a Pawtip for all you pet parents; when you heal yourself, you’re healing your pet too!

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About the Author: Netra Venkateshwaran

A part time journalist but a full time animal lover. Netra is an avid traveler, a caffeine addict, and a food enthusiast. She also has a keen interest for fashion and luxury designer wear.

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