Are You Always Under Stress? Study Show Your Dog Mirrors Your Bad Feelings

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How many times have you come back from work depressed or tense and plagued by worries, only to have your pooch come up to you and seem like they understand your woes perfectly? Well, according to scientists, this no coincidence. Not only that dogs understand your emotions quite well, but they also mirror the stress levels you experience.

The team of Swedish researchers focused on tracking cortisol, a stress hormone, in the hair of both humans and their four-legged best friends. Interestingly enough, the hormone which indicates how much stress we are under circulates through blood but leaves traces in hair, which makes it perfect for scientists to monitor. The study involved 25 Border Collies, 33 Shetland Sheepdogs, and their female owners- some of the dogs were just pets, others were also competing in dog sports “on the side”.

The findings were interesting, to say the least. They indicate the existence of a long-term emotional convergence between dogs and their owners, but there are also some subtle differences. For instance, it seems that female dogs, as well as those participating in agility and other sports, feel the stress more keenly than male companions. Surprisingly, dogs whose owners scored higher on neuroticism had lower stress levels- hinting that owners personalities could also play a role in the way dogs experience stress.

In the words of the study’s lead scientists, this is the first time that a long-term synchronization in stress levels between members of two different species has been documented. Fascinating, am I right? Of course, this also means that all those bad vibes and negative feelings you’ve been experiencing are something your dog picks up and internalizes, as well. So the next time you catch yourself stressing over the small stuff, just let it go: your fur baby will be thankful for your new-found chill.