Dogs are affected by their owner’s stress

Nationwide Animal PoliceDog, Photo: Pixabay

If you are a dog owner and go through a long-term stress period, then the risk is great that your dog is just as stressed according to Swedish researchers.

One common belief is that having pets can be stressful. But according to researchers at Linköping University in Sweden, there is much to suggest that dog owners transfer their stress to their dog.

58 people and their dogs of the breeds border collie or Shetland sheepdog participated in the survey. Researchers measured the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the hair from both the dogs and the dog owners.

‘’Depression, extreme physical exercise and unemployment are just some of the stresses that can affect the amount of cortisol’’ said Lina Roth, one of the researchers behind the study, publishedon Thursday in the journal, Scientific Reports.

Roth and her colleagues found that cortisol levels in the dogs’ hair coincided with the levels found in the owner’s hair strands. The levels were almost equal over a longer period, both summer and winter.

Roth believes that the owners affect dogs rather than vice versa because several human personality traits appear to affect dogs’ cortisol levels. However, the researchers do not know why the dogs’ cortisol level is synchronised with that of the human.

But dogs are pack creatures, and it is conceivable that humans make up a more central part of the dog’s life, while people have other social networks believes Roth.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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