Does Your Dog Know When You Are Sick or Sad?

Did you ever notice how your pets are able to sense when you are ill or sad? They are great at picking up ‘cues’ that something isn’t right and we need the extra cuddles.

My daughter recently got hurt and was in need of surgery, our dogs seemed to know that she needed some extra sleep time and they were often found in bed with her or on the couch cozy. They normally sleep on their own chair in the window!

Dogs have a much better sense of smell then humans do, as shown by their ability to sniff out drugs and explosives at the airport. This plays a part in why they sense how you are feeling. The changes that we have in our breath are small changes in dopamine and serotonin, which are the “feel good” hormones. Many dogs can tell this and get a sense of how we are feeling and if we need a little extra attention. This is released in changes with emotions: sad, depressed, or happy as well as with stress and nervousness. So, your dog can often truly tell if we are upset or sick.

They are also can be good at reading facial expressions. We may grimace with pain, or cry with sadness and our pets will read these. They know when perhaps we need an extra bit of comfort and they would like to do what they can to help us out.

Pets are open and loving and want to make us feel better. Enjoy the extra!

Written by Lisa Clifford, RVT