A new study examined how our stress impacts our best friend’s mental health. The researchers studied Shetland sheepdogs, border collies and their owners and found that dogs living with people who had high levels of stress hormone (cortisol) in their hair follicles, similarly had high levels of cortisol in their fur. In contrast, canine anxiety does not appear to run off on people. That’s good news for those of us lucky enough to own an anxious dog.
That does not mean people who are experiencing stress should not own dogs. Quite the contrary. Research shows that letting your dog sleep with you at night and taking them for walks reduces chronic stress and thus just might reduce your dog’s stress too.
Sundman A-S, Poucke EV, Holm A-C S, Faresjo A, Theodorsson E, Jensen P, Roth LSV. Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners. Scientific Reports. 9: 7391, 2019.