If you are a dog owner, you should know that when you are stressed, the first thing you need to do is hug your pooch for good. And the reason might be something that you never expected.
According to recent research done in Linkoping University, Sweden, dogs also get stressed out when their owners are stressed. So, it’s most likely your dog is feeling the same as you when you are at your lowest point.
Reportedly, the study was focused on the hormone, the one that circulates in the blood and can be found in hair strands.
The strand goes on to become a record of the stress you experience every time, ultimately binding itself to grow hair. The Linkoping University professors wanted to compare this hormone in dogs and their female owners.
The study used 25 border collies and 33 Shetland sheepdogs along with their owners, which led to the discovery that higher cortisol in human hair came with a higher amount of the same hormone in their dogs.
Ethologist Lina Roth, who led the research, claims that this was the ‘first time we’ve seen a long-term synchronization in stress levels between members of two different species’.
She said, “We haven’t seen this between humans and dogs before.”
The researchers measured the amount of the hormone in both dogs and their owners in the winter and summer of the years 2917 and 2018. The link was constant throughout both seasons. However, it was higher in winters.
Upon looking at whether the dogs had a garden to play in, the hours the owner worked, and if the dogs lived with other dogs, the scientists found no effect on the levels of cortisol in dogs.
Nevertheless, the owners’ personalities, especially, neuroticism had a significant effect on the dogs’ stress levels.
According to the journal in Scientific Reports, owners who scored higher on neuroticism tended to have dogs with lower hair cortisol levels. A major explanation to this is that the owners who are more neurotic could seek more comfort from their pets, which can ultimately reduce stress in the dogs.
The researchers say, “We suggest that dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress levels of their owners.”
So, you know exactly where to go in case you are having a bad day!
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