Dogs can smell stress from human sweat and breath, according to a new study by Queen's University Belfast researchers.
The research involved four dogs - Treo (a golden retriever), Fingal (an old English terrier) Soot (a white German Shepherd labrador mix ), and Winnie. (A border collie).
36 people took part in the experiment where they gave samples of their own bodily fluids before doing an intensely difficult math problem that measured how much anxiety or worry one felt while solving it; only when these were taken did participants find out whether there had been any difference between what was happening inside them at different times during this task.
The dogs then sniffed the samples and demonstrated a remarkable ability to detect stress in humans, with an average accuracy rate of 89%. The results suggest that these animals have a sense of empathy with their owners, and understanding when they are feeling anxious or worried. The research team believes this could be important for developing new treatments for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In future studies, researchers hope to investigate further how dogs can help detect and respond to human emotions. Ultimately, it could provide evidence that shows just how connected our two species really are.
These findings provide us with a better insight into how we interact emotionally with our canine companions, highlighting their extraordinary sensory capabilities and emotional intelligence. It is clear that there is still much more to learn about the complex bond between humans and animals, but hopefully, this research will spark further investigations into how this important relationship can be nurtured and strengthened.
The results of this study are an exciting development in our understanding of the canine-human bond, offering insight into how dogs may one day play a larger role in mental health care. With continued research and collaboration with veterinary professionals, we may soon see a world where anyone struggling with mental health issues has access to the unconditional love and support that only man’s best friend can provide.
A link to the study is here.