Dogs Mirror Their Owner's Stress

Is your dog showing signs of stress? Are they showing increased levels of anxiety? They could be picking up on how you're feeling.

It might not come as a surprise, but a new study has confirmed what many owners already suspected; dogs feel and mirror their owner's stress.

This study, which claims to be the first evidence of different species mirroring emotions over the long-term, measured cortisol levels in both dogs and their humans to see if there were any links. Cortisol is the stress hormone that circulates in the blood and leaves a mark in our hair.

Interestingly, as well as this discovery they also found that dogs tend to feel more stressed in the winter - perhaps because owner's don't take them out for walks as much due to the cold weather.

Scientists also looked at other factors which may cause stress in dogs including living conditions, whether they lived with another dog, and the number of hours their owner's worked. These things didn't appear to have any effect on the dog's stress levels.

But what did have an effect was the owner's personality. In particular, people who showed high neuroticism seemed to have more relaxed dogs. It's thought this might be because people who are neurotic seek more comfort from their pups. The dogs receive so much love and attention that their cortisol levels are reduced.

If you're worried that your dog is picking up on your stress, don't. Dogs are proven to help calm down their owner's, so their presence may actually be benefiting your health.

If you are concerned that your dog is stressed to the point that it is affecting their health or well-being, get in touch here.

You can read the full research report on dogs mirroring their owner's stress levels here.

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