Dogs can sense their owners’ stress in breathing and sweating

As the saying goes, the dog is man’s best friend. True balls of love, our faithful companions are particularly capable of capturing human emotions. According to a recent study, dogs cry with joy when they find their owner. They are also of great help to us thanks to their developed sense of smell, capable of detecting drugs, explosives and diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

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But that’s not all. Scientists reveal that they are also able to sense their owner’s stress, by sniffing their breath or perspiration.

650 tests passed out of 700

To reach these conclusions, the authors of the study, published in the journal Plos One, on the behavior of four dogs, Treo, Fingal, Soot and Winnie. Facing them were 36 human volunteers, who reported their stress level before and after solving a difficult mathematical problem. Samples of their sweat or breath before and after were also taken, and placed in capsules.

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The mentioned capsules were then presented to the dogs. If they remained still or sat in front of the “stressed” sample, they were rewarded with a treat. In more than 650 out of 700 trials, all four canines passed.

“We had a lot of evidence that dogs can pick up scents from humans that are associated with certain medical conditions or diseases – but we don’t have a lot of evidence that they can smell differences in our psychological state”said lead researcher Clara Wilson in the press.

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This discovery is therefore a great step forward. The study authors now hope that these results will be transferred to the training of therapy dogs.

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