Stress Changes Human Body Odor Dogs Can Smell

Dogs are able to sense extreme emotions through their smell, as has been known for a long time. Scientists at Queen’s University Belfast now know that dogs’ noses can detect stress in humans.

NBC News reported that previous research had shown that acute stress can alter compounds in the body’s sweat and breath. The new experiment involved 36 volunteers who reported a stress index before and during the calculation of a complex math problem. Four dogs were also tested for their ability to sniff after researchers took samples from their sweat and breath.

A report in PLOS One today reports that the dogs used in the experiment were capable of discriminating between two samples with an accuracy range of 90% to 96.78%. This is even more than what the researchers had expected.

Clara Wilson, an animal psychologist, was the lead author of this report. She said that the study further demonstrated the extraordinary abilities of “man’s best friend”.

Wilson said, “While in real life can detect stress from cues from a variety environment, laboratory studies have shown that one odor component may be causing dogs to sense stress.”

Wilson stated that dogs may be able to detect the differences in sweat and breathing when stressed. Wilson said that he was still amazed at the first time the dogs could identify the body odor samples prior to and after solving the math problem.