We’ve known for a while that dogs can be trained to sniff out seizures, infections, diabetes, extremely elevated blood pressure, and sometimes even cancer. Therapy dogs and service dogs can be trained to help people with movement and balance problems, panic attacks, PTSD, cognitive fogginess, (including getting up and going in the morning), poor attention and concentration, and executive functioning and memory loss.
A series of recent studies indicated that dogs are also responsive to the release of cortisol and adrenaline in humans, using their exceptional sense of smell, the human stress hormones. If you have a dog that is very attentive, or at least stays near you when you are not feeling well or having a bad day, they are not only showing the affection and loyalty they have for you, they FEEL you.
One patient who has a rigorous job with deadlines throughout the week reported that she can be sitting tensely in her home office and will look up to see her dog staring at her. Instead of sleeping, he monitors her. When she’s not doing well, suddenly, her dog will start panting I have heard this phenomenon from dozens of patients.
Dogs can smell your stress. And they know something is wrong.
Also read: Mindfulness in Fur.