Having a sympathetic owner did not lower the stress reaction of dogs that become anxious or fearful during noisy thunderstorms but living in a multi-dog household did, a Penn State study has found.
The study is among the first to measure, non-invasively, the production of a specific stress hormone produced by both the dog and its owner in response to stress in their home. The technique offers a new tool to assess animal welfare in a wide variety of non-laboratory settings, including high stress environments such as search and rescue and police-related pursuit.
Dr. Nancy Dreschel, a veterinarian who conducted the study as part of her work toward a doctoral degree in biobehavioral health, says, "There were no effects of the owners behavior or the quality of the dog-owner relationship on the stress hormone response that we measured in the canine. However, the presence of other dogs in the household was linked to less pronounced stress reactivity and more rapid recovery of the thunderstorm-phobic animal."
Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
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