There is nothing more comforting than having your sweet, furry pooch snuggle up and nuzzle, staying at your side. It's like the dog really does know you are sick and knows that by just being there, your dog is doing everything he or she can to help you feel better.
Signs Your Dog Can Tell You are Sick
Dogs can vary in how they show their feelings. Take the time to observe your dog and to learn about dog body language. Just as your dog is good a reading your behavior, you have a responsibility to learn to read your dog's behavior.
There are many ways that your dog shows you affection when you are not feeling well. Your dog will show you concern by being near you and following you around. Your dog will show you appeasement, which is your dog's signal of "fitting in" or, perhaps, empathy.
Dogs show appeasement by not giving you direct eye contact. They will look away, blink, and give sideways glances. The dog will keep their ears down. The tail is relaxed. Your dog is not ignoring you or bored if they are yawning. You might see the dog licking the lips and settle the head on the paws.
When your dog comforts you, he or she is showing you love. There are other ways you can feel the love of your dog. Recent studies have shown that dogs will lift the left eyebrow when they love someone. You may also see the dog lift the left ear back. You may find your dog leaning against you.
Dogs will stare at something or someone they want. Those big, puppy eyes are sending you signals of "I love you". If you find your dog laying on your stinky socks, it is out of love. You are lucky to be greeted with enthusiasm by your dog when you come home because your adoring pet is really happy to see you.
- Lip licking
- Dropped Ears
- Averting eyes
- Staying by your side
- Mimicking your behavior
- Nuzzling or nudging you
The History of Dogs Knowing When Someone is Sick
Not only do we experience these physiological benefits, but we are emotionally better off as well. Our dogs lessen our anxiety. They make us feel safe and even bolster our courage to make us feel brave. They are sensitive to us as well.
In studies on the capacity of dogs to be responsive to humans, scientists show that dogs are sensitive to human facial and vocal cues, and have preferences for human praise. Just as we experience elevations in oxytocin when we are around them, their levels are higher when they are with their owners. It is no wonder they give us such comfort when we are sick and they are near.
The Science of Dogs Telling When We are Sick
Studies have also shown that dogs will read our facial expressions. When you are sick, your dog will be able to tell that something is wrong by your face. Dogs learn your body language and energy level. When your energy slumps, they will notice.
The dog has a fantastic sense of smell. They can smell hormone and physical changes in your body that occur when you are sick. They can even tell when you have changes in your blood sugar. Studies have shown they can detect cancer, narcolepsy, migraine, seizures, and anxiety attacks. A true mate, your dog is a loyal companion in sickness and in health.
Training Your Dog to Know You are Sick
First, make sure you are not turning your dog away when you feel sick. If you scold your dog or push them away from you when you are sick, your dog will think you do not want them near during times of illness.
Next, make sure you are rewarding your dog for doting on you. This can be done easily by petting and praising your pooch for being by your side when you are feeling bad. You can even sneak them a treat if you are looking to really reinforce this behavior.
Finally, make sure you return the favor when your dog is sick. Get them the medical attention they need, and give them extra care during their illnesses.
How to React When Your Dog Knows You are Sick:
Do not turn them away.
Praise them for taking care of you!
Cuddle them lots until you feel better.