Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A quality dog/owner relationship no help to storm-phobic canines

16.12.2005


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."


The study is detailed in the current (December) issue of the journal, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, in a paper, "Physiological and Behavioral Reactivity to Stress in Thunderstorm-phobic Dogs and Their Caregivers." The authors are Dreschel, who is also an instructor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Dr. Douglas A. Granger, associate professor of biobehavioral health.

Thunderstorm-anxious dogs not only suffer classic signs of fear, including pacing whining and hiding, during a storm but also experience a 207 percent spike in the production of cortisol, a hormone also produced by humans during stress, the new study has shown.

Dreschel notes, "Thunderstorm anxiety in dogs is a very common problem with reports of 15 to 30 percent of pet dogs affected. The prevalence likely varies depending on location and the frequency and intensity of storms."

To measure the cortisol response in both the dogs and their caregivers, the researchers asked 19 dog-owner pairs, in which the dog had been diagnosed as storm-phobic, to listen to a 5-minute recording of a thunderstorm in their own home. The dog and its owner were both videotaped during the listening session. The dogs included five purebred golden retrievers, four other purebreds, including a corgi, a keeshond, a border collie and a Labrador retriever, and 10 mixed breed dogs over 15 pounds each.

Immediately prior to the listening session, both the dog and its owner provided a saliva sample in which the cortisol could be measured. The owner put a small cotton plug in his or her mouth to absorb saliva and the dog chewed on a small, absorbent cotton rope, which became saturated with saliva.

Twenty minutes after the 5-minute exposure to the storm recording, saliva samples were collected again from both owner and dog and, then once again, forty minutes after the listening session.

Dreschel says, "On average, the cortisol levels of the caregivers did not increase. The owners probably did not show signs of stress because they knew that the thunderstorm they were hearing was a recording. The dogs probably did not know it was a recording; although, one dog did fall asleep on the couch during the listening session."

Dogs that lived in multi-dog households had significantly less overall change in cortisol compared to dogs that lived in single-dog households. This finding corresponds to a less extreme reaction in dogs from multi-dog households and more rapid and complete return to normal following the listening session. However, dogs in multi-dog households started out with slightly higher cortisol levels, which could indicate that dogs living with other dogs are under more stress.

Dreschel does not recommend that the owners of dogs with thunderstorm anxiety get additional dogs. She notes that there was no difference in the behavioral response of the dogs in multi-dog households vs. dogs in single-dog households.

After the study, Dreschel offered behavioral recommendations to the participants. She notes that it is possible to de-sensitize dogs to storms but that it doesn’t always work. Efforts to reduce the anxiety should be made, however, because of the toll on the dog and the owner. The behavior of storm-phobic animals can cause owners to experience lack of sleep, destruction of household items and furnishings as well as worry about their dog’s physical and mental health.

Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>