Dogs can smell when we are stressed

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A study shows that dogs are able to detect chemical signals of stress through smell alone

Dogs can smell when we're stressed

Dogs can detect with greater than 90% accuracy when a human is in the act of attacking. stressed. This phenomenon, according to a new scientific study published this Wednesday in the journal 'PLOS ONE', is due to the ability of these animals to perceive the “signals chemical”, odors and physiological changes associated with moments of acute stress. 

To verify the exact mechanism behind this canine 'superpower', Researchers collected breath and sweat samples from 36 people before and after undergoing a stressful task. from there the samples were placed before four dogs of different breedsand they were asked to They had to identify which ones came from stressed people and which ones belonged to people in a state of rest.

According to the results of this experiment, the animals managed to complete the task successfully in 675 of the 720 tests carried out. All dogs managed to hit the nail on the head in more than 90% of the cases. Some, more clever, even achieved more than 96% success. This would show that, beyond From the 'myth', this ability of dogs to detect stress responds to a biological mechanism.

“Research highlights that dogs do not need visual cues or audio to detect human stress. This is the first study of its kind and provides evidence that dogs can smell stress from breath and sweat alone, which could be useful when training service dogs and therapy dogs,” explains researcher Clara Wilson from Queen's University, one of the experts who has led this work.

Dogs can smell-when-we-are-stressed

One of the dogs that has participated in the study while sniffing a sample.

Kerry Campbell

The team responsible for this study argues that this phenomenon is probably due to several reasons. On the one hand, to the ability of dogs to “detect changes in volatile organic compounds produced by humans in response to stress.” And on the other, it is It is likely that the close history of domestication and coexistence of these animals with our species has prepared them to be aware of these types of changes.

beyond Despite how endearing the ability of dogs to perceive our stress may seem to us, scientists remind us that demonstrating the operation of this phenomenon is very important. “Thanks to this, these animals can help people with anxiety, panic attacks or post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD),” emphasize the researchers who have led this investigation. 

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