Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Dogs mirror stress levels of their owners, study finds
The study found that owners with high stress levels have dogs with high stress levels.
Researchers assess how dogs’ cortisol levels are influenced by their owners

Dogs mirror the stress levels of their owners, according to a study led by Linköping University in Sweden.

In the study, researchers assessed how stress levels in dogs are influenced by the people they live with. They found that owners with high stress levels have dogs with high stress levels, while owners with low levels of stress also have dogs with low levels. The results of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

In the study, researchers examined 33 Shetland sheepdogs and 25 border collies, all of which were owned by females. The dogs and their owners gave hair samples on two separate occasions, once during the winter and once during the summer.

Owing to the fact that exercise can increase stress levels, the researchers also wanted to compare companion dogs with those that competed in agility or obedience. They, therefore, recorded the physical activity levels of 44 of the dogs for a week, using a remote cloud-based collar.

Previous research showed that short-term cortisol levels in saliva increase both in the dog and its owner when they compete together. In this study, scientists found that physical exercise in dogs did not affect the long-term cortisol in their hair.

Conversely, the stress level of dogs taking part in obedience and agility appeared to be synchronised more strongly with that of the owner. The researchers believe this could be linked to a greater degree of interaction between dog and owner when they train and compete together.

The researchers also assessed the personalities of the dogs and their owners through surveys to see if stress levels are linked to personality traits.

“Surprisingly enough, we found no major effect on the dog’s personality on long-term stress,” explained senior lecturer and principal investigator for the study, Lina Roth. “The personality of the owner, on the other hand, had a strong effect. This has led us to suggest that the dog mirrors its owner’s stress.”

Researchers say more studies are needed before they can make any conclusions about the cause of the correlation.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.