Are you stressed? Your dog can smell it in your sweat and breath

It is well known: animals are sensitive to stress. This is especially true for dogs. Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have found that these adorable furballs can smell stress in anyone’s sweat and breath.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists conducted an experiment involving four dogs, named Treo, Fingal, Soot and Winnie, and about forty people. They asked them to try to solve a particularly difficult math problem. The corn ? Collect small amounts of their breath and sweat before and after they set to work. Note that the researchers only took the second sample when they detected an increase in the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate – two clear indicators of stress.

Meanwhile, Treo, Fingal, Soot and Winnie have been trained to spot specific scents from a selection of scents. The scientists then presented the four dogs with the two types of samples collected from study participants, to see if they could tell them apart by sniffing them. Verdict: they were all able to correctly identify the samples taken from each volunteer after the math exercise, even though they had never encountered them before.

Clara Wilson, a doctoral student at Queen’s School of Psychology and lead author of the study, said the results showed just how much stress dogs feel. “This study shows that dogs do not need visual or auditory cues to detect human stress. This is the first study of its kind and proves that dogs can sense stress only from the breath and sweat, which could be useful for training service and therapy dogs,” she said in a statement.

Many scientific works are interested in the formidable sense of smell of dogs. And for good reason, this animal is able to recognize certain diseases that emit odors that are undetectable to humans. Among them, malaria, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and certain cancers. With 100% effectiveness for breast cancer, as the Curie Institute announced in 2017 based on the first results of its Kdog protocol. Proof, if one were needed, that the dog is truly man’s best friend.

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