Dogs are incredibly insightful animals, and they aren’t known as man’s best friend for no reason.
They are often by our side for many years, suggesting they may have learned a thing or two about humans.
Reading: Can dogs sense danger
Scientists have done extensive research on whether dogs can actually tell if we’re sad, lonely, happy or sick, and it seems that over time our pets have developed some intuition.
Canines can sense everything from danger to mood swings in their owners, but can they tell if a human is hurt or sick?
can dogs tell if you’re not okay?
scientists have found that dogs can tell if you’re not okay, in certain cases.
The key to all this is in your sense of smell. humans give off a very different smell depending on our state of well-being, which means that we smell different from dogs when we are sick.
An example of this was found in a study of early cancers, where dogs were given stool and exhaled breath samples to see if they could detect colon cancer.
These dogs were specially trained to detect cancer by scent, and were able to detect the disease using these samples almost as well as conventional diagnosis.
Even without training, dogs have a clear advantage as their sense of smell is much more advanced than that of humans. in fact, scientists have estimated that it may be at least 10,000 times sharper.
Similarly, dogs have also developed the ability to read our facial expressions, which means they can sense if we’re in pain.
a 2016 study from lincoln university in the uk. Suggested dogs can recognize human emotions. In the experiment, 17 domestic dogs heard sounds combined with images in different combinations, showing positive or negative emotional expressions.
They spent much more time looking at the images that matched the sounds in terms of emotions, which means that if we look anxious and in pain, dogs can pick up on this.
researcher dr. Kun Guo of Lincoln University’s School of Psychology said: “Previous studies have indicated that dogs can differentiate between human emotions based on cues such as facial expressions, but this is not the same as emotional recognition.” /p>
“Our study shows that dogs have the ability to integrate two different sources of sensory information into a coherent perception of emotion in both humans and dogs. To do so, an internal categorization system of emotional states is required” .
“Until now, this cognitive ability has only been evidenced in primates and the ability to do this across species has only been seen in humans.”
If smell and sight weren’t enough, research from 2014 also suggested that dogs may notice differences in the way their owners sound when they’re sick. By presenting vocal stimuli to dogs and scanning their brain function, scientists found that they can hear the difference between a happy and sad owner.
Having said all this, it’s not clear if a dog actually knows you’re hurt and can instead sense a change in the atmosphere around you.
Speaking to Newsweek, People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) vet Anna Ewers Clark said: “Dogs may not be able to tell if their owner is injured or dying as such, but they will detect unusual behavior and they are likely to react strangely themselves they can also sense certain changes in our physiology which is how dogs can be trained to respond and detect changes in blood glucose levels to alert diabetic owners and help those who have seizures not to injure themselves.
“Contrary to popular belief, our dogs can’t sense ‘danger,’ but they do have very keen senses that can pick up signs or changes we can’t, and they’re adept at reading body language, behavior, and the face. expressions.
“This means your canine companion can pick up on dangerous situations before you do. For example, dogs can sense changes in atmospheric pressure and gases, so they can tell when a natural disaster is about to happen. occur, for example, an earthquake”.
what does a dog do if it feels you are hurt
according to dr. alexandra horowitz, an authority on dog behavior, it’s less clear how dogs respond to a person when they’re unwell or injured. they might feel distress or a change in the atmosphere, but they might not be able to figure out exactly what’s going on with their human counterparts.
speaking to the atlantic, he said: “we’re sending out a lot of signals, the kind that dogs are specialized to tune in to. it’s not clear if they think it means ‘disease.'”
When it comes to knowing how to react, though, a 2020 Arizona State University study saw scientists test how dogs react when their owners call for help from inside a box.
In most cases, the dogs tried to free their owners by hearing them call for help, so if there is an imminent threat, the dogs could come in handy.
ewers clark also said that dogs can change their behavior if they sense there is a problem with their owners, but this means that we must also understand our dog’s body language.
She said: “The first signs that your dog is scared can be quite subtle and if left undetected, your dog may have no choice but to start showing bigger, more obvious signs to tell you that he’s not Happy Signs that your dog is stressed often include yawning, lip licking, staring, or looking away.
“The strongest signs that your dog is worried include crouching, pawing, backing away, tail tucking, standing still on his back, stiffening and staring with wide eyes, barking, growling, and finally biting or biting “.
ewers clark suggests that in this case, after ruling out medical causes, try taking your dog somewhere where he can feel more relaxed.
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