August 11


A New Study Says Your Stress Can Spread to Your Dog

By Peter Julian

Even though petting or playing with a dog can help make you less stressed, the unfortunate flip side is that your stress can sometimes spread to your dog. Swedish researchers did a study of a few dozen Shetland sheepdogs and border collies with female owners. They found that higher levels of stress — as measured by the cortisol found in hair samples — in the humans correlated quite closely with high levels of stress in the dogs. This is the first study to find a connection suggesting that dogs can pick up on their owners’ stress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cortisol synchronization can happen between dogs and their owners, as established by hair tests.
  • Canine lifestyle is not as big a factor in stress as the personality and stress level of the owner.
  • If you are frequently stressed, it is better for you and for the dog to choose a breed that tends to be more relaxed.

“Dogs might ease your stress, but they can also catch it.”

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