Man’s Best Friend: Dogs Can Tell What You’re Feeling?

Man’s Best Friend: Dogs Can Tell What You’re Feeling?

Have you ever come home after a long day to have your dog come greet you? Do they put their head on your lap it just seems like they know you need it?

A new study by scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, reveals that this might just be the case. When presented with samples from 36 individuals, the dogs were able to identify sweat and breath samples with a staggering accuracy of 90-96.88 percent. “This study provides further evidence of the extraordinary capabilities of ‘man’s best friend’ quoted the original author and renowned animal psychologist Clara Wilson. She adds, “While it is likely that in a real-life context dogs are picking up on our stress from a variety of context cues, we have shown using a laboratory study that there is a confirmed odor component that is likely contributing to dogs’ ability to sense when we are stressed.” For the study the scientists trained 4 dogs to distinguish the samples. The dogs were presented with 3 pieces of gauze, one contained a sample from before the test, 3 minutes into the test, and one unused. They used this information in addition to taking the vitals and answers from a questionnaire into account. Wilson was pleased to report that “we were still surprised the first time the dogs were shown the pre- and post-math task samples and confidently discriminated between them.” Nicholas Dodman, the author of “Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry” attests “Dogs have a formidable sense of smell.” He continues, “To put it into numbers, we have 12 million smell receptors[…]Dogs have at least 50 times that number.” These astounding results truly display the amazing receptive skills dogs possess. 

For more information, check out how dogs can smell when we’re stressed out.

The Emerald asked SHC students what kind of pet they have or would want:

“I have a dog, Nacho, and two black cats, Pepper and Duffy, but I want a beta fish. Fun fact: Duffy means black in dutch.” ‘25 Sam Meraw

“I have a cavapoo dog named Mackinac Island Chocolate Fudge. We call him Mack.” ‘26 Francesca Zogaric

The Emerald asked SHC students about a notable moment they have had with their pets:

“One time when I was sitting on the couch, he jumped up and started nudging me because he wanted pets. I was super stressed at the time and petting him was really soothing to me. I felt like, at that moment, we were both on the same page.” ‘25 Tristan Woo

“Definitely when my dog Rusty could tell I was getting frustrated over something and stepped all over my computer. It was as if he was telling me to take a step back away from my work and to go and give him pets!” ‘25 Ana Ewing

“One time I was really sad and my dog came over to me and sat on my lap and tried to lick my tears. He is so compassionate and nice. And cute.” ‘26 Francesca Zogaric

“My birds are my therapists when I need to get things off my chest because they don’t say anything mean, they just chirp and poop.” ‘25 Salla Grigor

This only furthers the fact that your pets can understand your feelings and that you are absolutely right to talk to them when you are upset. Even if they can’t talk, it is clear that they can still console you in their own ways.