Does Your Dog Know How You Are Feeling?
These are stressful times. Masks, vaccines, Zoom meetings, hybrid school, supply chain issues—the list of effects brought on by the pandemic is seemingly endless. Getting through anxiety-filled days like these requires the love and devotion of a good friend. For many of us, that friend has been our dog. Dogs seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to their owners. Often, they are able to perceive our emotions and provide the unconditional support we need.
Humans & Dogs: A Long Evolutionary History
This close connection isn’t a new phenomenon. Today’s domestic dogs are distant relatives of the wolves that coevolved with humans over thousands of years. The codependence that developed between our species was successful because it brought greater security to each. Esteemed anthropologist, Brian Hare1, found that as a result of this relationship, dogs actually understand our gestures extremely accurately. And, perhaps that explains why they are so good at perceiving and relieving our stress.
Study Shows How Accurately Dogs Read Our Emotions
A new study attempted to quantify this relationship by tracking dogs and their owners over the course of several months to see how stress hormones in both were affected. The results were fascinating. "If the owner is stressed, then the dog is also likely to mirror that stress," explains senior author Lina Roth2, a zoologist at Sweden’s Linkoping University. “Dogs are quite good at understanding humans,” Roth describes. “They’re definitely better at understanding us than we are at understanding them.”
Are You Reading & Treating Your Dogs’ Emotions Correctly?
This is where the problem comes in. Oftentimes when our dogs feel stressed, we don’t correctly interpret their emotions and the resulting behaviors they exhibit. In recent months, the issue has been exacerbated. Due to the pandemic, many dog owners have been spending the bulk of their time at home. Having their pack with them all day has made COVID a joyous time for many dogs. However, now that people are headed back to the office, the gym and out to dinner with friends, a new problem is affecting our dogs. Not only are they taking on our stress, but now they have additional stress of their own. Being left alone more and more can lead to high anxiety for many dogs. But there are ways to help your dog cope, one of which is through the use of Hemp products like the excellent product line offered by Redbone Nutrition. The use of high-quality Hemp products formulated specifically for dogs has been shown to provide relief from pain and anxiety, while imparting a sense of calm to your dog. These products have the potential to ease your dog’s burden and improve your relationship.
Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, MS, PhD,3 a member of the Petco Pet Wellness Council and senior research fellow, adjunct associate professor and head of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College describes the problem this way:
"The animals we live with essentially helped to care for us – providing companionship and cheer – in this time of the pandemic and social isolation. Many people saw their animals like never before. As our society shifts to spending less time at home, it is critical that we return the favor, appreciating their point of view and caring for their mental health as they're left at home without us."
That’s why it is so important for dog owners to recognize the symptoms that may indicate anxiety in our four-legged friends. These may include:
- Destructive behaviors like chewing or digging
- Drooling to excess
- Attempting to escape
- Restless pacing
- Excessive barking and howling
- Heavy panting
- Having accidents in the house
Studies Suggest Hemp Supplements Benefit Dogs
More and more vets are beginning to see hemp’s potential applications for dogs, one of which is anxiety relief. Ask your vet about the use of Hemp supplements to calm your dog’s anxiety. If this may be a solution that helps your pet, we recommend Redbone Nutrition’s Hemp products, all of which are formulated using all-natural ingredients. These products are tested by a third-party, independent lab to ensure integrity. Redbone Nutrition’s Hemp dog treats come in a variety of flavors that your dog is sure to enjoy.