Dogs offer unwavering loyalty, companionship, and help when we’re depressed by lowering our stress levels. In some cases, dogs can even sense when their owners are sick before showing signs of illness.
Dogs, indeed, have a sixth sense that allows them to observe small details about the humans around them and respond accordingly. Dogs won’t know if you have a fever or sniff out a splinter in your finger, but they can tell if something is different about you.
Let’s look at what the research says about the question, do dogs know when you are sick, how dogs react to human being illnesses, and how we can explain it from an objective standpoint.
How Do Dogs Know When You Are Sick?
Science shows that dogs are intuitive creatures and may sense when their owners are sick even before symptoms show. Here are reasons why your dog already knows you’re unwell:
Dogs can sense when you’re sick simply by observing you. They may see you eating less food or moving slower than normal, indicating something is wrong.
Dogs are extremely perceptive creatures. They depend on their sense of hearing, smell, and touch to interpret their environment and decide how to react. And because these senses are particularly heightened when it comes to their owners, dogs may sense sickness before signs of illness are visible to the human eye. Isn’t that interesting?
They are also very empathetic and mindful of emotions and moods. They can utilize this knowledge to assess if their owner is feeling unwell. Dogs can even tell when someone is particularly stressed or anxious, which may indicate that something isn’t right with their owner.
Humans are incredibly loud and boisterous creatures. We move around, we talk loudly, and our mannerisms are more dramatic. Because of this, dogs can easily sense our emotions.
Dogs are cautiously conscious of the things around them and can comprehend slight details humans miss.
What Happens When Dogs Know You’re Sick?
Dogs are also natural responders. They can initiate doing what they think is best in certain situations. They are very compassionate animals, so knowing that you’re sick can be very unsettling for them. Your dogs might know you’re sick if they act this way:
They Show More Affection Than Normal
It’s common for dogs to act clingy and try to stay close to their owner when they know something is wrong. Other dogs may try to comfort their owners with affectionate behaviors like pawing or licking.
In other cases, they may keep trying to put their head in your lap, snuggle on the couch or bed with you, or be near you. Your dog wants to comfort you and let you know they’re there for you.
They Try To Nurse You
Dogs may even attempt to nurse you back to health by bringing you blankets, food, or drinking water when you’re sick. Some dogs go even further and actively seek out help.
Other dogs have been known to call 911. Dogs trained to spot certain health problems, like seizures, may actively try to get you medical attention. There was an incident in Florida where a dog managed to call 911 to save her owner, who had a diabetic seizure.
They Become More Submissive
Your dog could act less burdensome during playtime and strolls, or probably tug less or become less enthusiastic while off on a walk. The hound acts this way since they know of your acute fatigue and reduced energy level.
Dogs take your cues to heart and modify their behavior correspondingly. Your dog wants to comfort, lift your spirit, and create a less anxious environment for you when you’re unwell.
Can Dogs Smell When You’re Sick?
Absolutely! A dog’s smell is 10,000 to 100,000 stronger than a human’s. They can smell chemicals in the air that aren’t detectable by the human nose, like carbon monoxide or the pheromones of nearby animals.
Therefore, they can pick up on subtle changes in your scent that indicate illness. Dogs also have a special area in their brains dedicated to processing smells, allowing them to discern different odors more easily than humans can.
When you’re sick, your body chemistry changes, producing different hormones and chemicals. The dog’s sensitive nose can detect these changes even if you’re not showing any other symptoms yet.
Dogs can smell hormones thrown off-kilter when you’re sick. This is primarily valid in menstruating women. Similarly, dogs can smell bacterial infections, parasites, and viruses in the bloodstream. They may be able to smell these things in your blood before humans can detect them.
Dogs may also perceive elevated blood glucose levels if you have diabetes. Other health conditions that dogs can detect include:
- Fear and Stress
- Low Blood Sugar
Helping Your Dog Feel More Comfortable When You’re Sick
If your dog reacts badly to signs of illness, you can do a few things to make him feel more comfortable.
Consult your vet regarding ways to make your dog feel more secure when you’re sick. Your vet can help you decide when and how you should quarantine your dog and give you ideas for ways to make your dog feel more relaxed when he’s in a separate space.
As much as you’re sick, try to keep your energy level up for the sake of your furry friend. They can already sense something is wrong, so acting right will make them less anxious.
Finally, ensure to give him plenty of attention and affection. Let him understand that you’re always there for him despite not feeling well.
Dogs are great at reading human body language, picking up on subtle changes in our tone and facial expressions. They also have an incredible sense of smell and can often tell when something is wrong with our bodies.
Your dog may be more gentle and loving and will do the most suitable to make you feel better. Sometimes you’ll notice their mood changing to being sad. While there are a couple of things to do to cheer them up, above all, take care of yourself. Get enough rest and maintain your stress level down. If you’re feeling better, your dog will too.