Animals have the uncanny ability to pick up on our feelings. That range of our emotions can make a Tripawd’s amputation recovery hard or easy. Our experience can depend on how we behave around them after surgery. A study about “emotional contagion, the mirroring of emotional or arousal states between individuals,” takes a look at this phenomena.
You Have the Power to Make a Tripawd’s Amputation Recovery Hard, or Easy
Three things about Tripawd recovery that you will learn today
1. Emotions are contagious between pets and people.
2. When humans feel stress, pets feel it too.
3. What to do when you feel worried about your dog or cat’s amputation recovery.
First, it’s important to know that our positive emotions go a long way when it comes to helping our dog or cat recover from amputation surgery. Be positive, and your pet will feel that emotion. Be negative, and they’ll give it right back to you. Whatever you put out, you get right back. Your emotions can make recovery hard, or easy. We recently discovered a dog study done in 2019 that reflects our long-time philosophy. Stay pawsitive during recovery, even when things get tough.
In the 2019 study “Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners,” researchers studied the phenomena of “emotional contagion” between dogs and people. The study gives solid evidence that dogs really do mirror their owner’s stress level, rather than vice versa.
- 58 herding dogs and their parents were studied
- their hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) were sampled, once in winter and once in summer
- personality traits of both dogs and their people were also reviewed. Parents completed a Dog Personality Questionnaire (DPQ) and human Big Five Inventory (BFI) survey.
- then scientists monitored the dogs’ activity levels with a remote cloud-based activity collar for one week.
The Results of the Dogs and Humans Stress Study
The results showed significant interspecies correlations in long-term stress where human HCC from both summer and winter samplings correlated strongly with dog HCC (summer: N = 57, χ2 = 23.697, P < 0.001, β = 0.235; winter: N = 55, χ2 = 13.796, P < 0.001, β = 0.027).
Interestingly, the dogs’ activity levels did not affect HCC, nor did the amount of training sessions per week, showing that the HCC levels were not related to general physical activity.
Additionally, there was a seasonal effect in HCC.
But here’s the kicker:
However, although dogs’ personalities had little effects on their HCC, the human personality traits neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness significantly affected dog HCC. Hence, we suggest that dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress level of their owners.
Matching Happier Pet and Parent Relationships
According to animal ethologist Dr. Marc Bekoff, author of “Unleashing Your Dog,” what makes this study significant is that it was the first time that stress levels have been directly correlated between two different species. Of course it’s something that we pet parents have known for a long time. But now it’s documented. The researchers plan to study other breeds and pair different sexes. Ultimately the findings could help better match dogs to humans for longer, healthier, happier relationships.
“If we learn more about how different types of dog are influenced by humans, it will be possible to match dog and owner in a way that is better for both, from a stress-management point of view. It may be that certain breeds are not so deeply affected if their owner has a high stress level,” says Lina Roth, one of the researchers.
Read more about “emotional contagion” between dogs and people in the Science Daily Journal report, “Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners,”
Get the Facts About Dog and Cat Amputation and Recovery
If you’re new to the Tripawds community, do your homework. Get our e-books. Post in the Discussion Forums. Share your feelings and worries. We are here to help so that your dog or cat doesn’t need to worry for you!