Can Your Dog Sense That You Are Upset?

Can Your Dog Sense That You Are Upset?

Everyone loves pets- be it dogs or any other animal! But wouldn’t it be extra nice to know if our pets (especially dogs) could sense how we feel? Dogs as animals are intuitive. They know exactly what mood their owner is in, and with their knowing eyes and reassuring lick, dogs can do wonders for us by making us feel better when we’re down. 

As a dog owner, you may wonder if your dog can know how you’re feeling or is it just your imagination! Evidence has shown that some dogs are clever and can tell if their owner or even a stranger is happy, sad, ill, stressed, or even pregnant. Additionally, research has also shown that some dogs can sense your mood and health condition.

Can Dogs Know if you are Sad?

Studies have found that dogs distinguish human emotions. Adult dogs have a mind similar to a human toddler regarding emotional intelligence, mental abilities, and vocabulary. In addition, studies have proven that dogs are sensitive to emotional contagion, i.e., they respond to emotions without understanding what they are feeling. That means your pet friend understands your upset state, although they are unsure how you feel exactly. It is the main reason why they provide comfort. 

While you receive their love and comfort during your downtime, be the giver too by pampering your canine with all the love and goodies. Give them love, Best Dog Shoes for them!

How a Dog Can Show Empathy

Different dogs have different ways of showing empathy. Listed below are different ways how your dog can express empathy towards you.

  • By touching: Many dogs show comfort by putting their head on their owner’s lap, a lick on the hand, or an outstretched paw.
  • Giving you the space you need: On the other hand, some dogs will do the opposite of touching their owner. They instead provide their owners with some space. After sensing the changed emotion in you, the fur friends move away. They do so for as long as they feel their owner is not ready for their company again.
  • Distraction Method: Some dogs will try to cheer up their owner. They may encourage their owners to go outside with them or drop the ball at their feet.

Can dogs tell if we are feeling hurt or ill?

Dogs can use your facial expressions as cues to identify when you are happy. Similarly, they can do the same to tell when we are hurt or ill. It is most likely that you will have a different expression when you are injured or unwell then your usual everyday face. Possibly your different behavior and this change in appearance lead your dog to figure out that you are hurt or ill.

It is known that dogs possess an excellent sense of smell. Further, some dogs can even sniff out when a person is unwell. There have been many cases where the average pet dog, often untrained in detecting illness, has successfully saved its owner’s life by detecting cancer. Studies have proven that dogs are excellent at detecting breast cancer. It is assumed that the change in the patient’s exhaled breath causes the dog to link.   

Another study has confirmed that an average pet dog can be trained using a three-phase food reward method to detect breast or lung in patients compared to a control group of people.

According to a report by the International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it was found that a Labrador Retriever detected colorectal cancer with 0.91% accuracy and 0.99% accuracy in two sets of exhaled breath samples. The specially trained dog had even better results with stool samples. In addition, the Labrador was able to detect early signs of cancer with 0.97% and 0.99% accuracy.

Additionally, dogs are also trained to sniff out cancer-specific volatile organic compounds in human beings. Cells in humans can change when a heart attack is imminent. Our fur buddies have been known to detect the smell of these changes. This makes them perfect for detecting early warning signs.        

Are you aware that a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times better than humans? Yes, it is true. Further, it is also believed that up to one-third of a dog’s brain is devoted to its olfactory cells.

Hence, animal-assisted therapy is becoming popular, and it is more widely used in the medical world than ever. Doctors reported that their patients are happier and heal faster after interacting with a pet or other animal.

Can Dogs detect if we are happy?

Most dog owners or lovers will argue that a dog can tell when you are happy. It is not just because of your facial expressions but by your feel-good hormones oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Our levels of these hormones become higher when we feel happy. It is believed that dogs can smell and sense this change in our bodies.

Researchers in Vienna consider that dogs can detect human emotions by simply looking at pictures of faces. For example, they can recognize facial cues to examine if a person is happy or angry. It is assumed to be the first evidence of an animal discriminating against emotional expression in another species.


Whether or not your dog can sense your emotions, they will always remain your companion and friend in both good and bad times. For pet owners, it matters less if your dog understands how you are feeling or possesses the qualities of being an emotional dog. What matters is their company. And you will never fall short of their company or love!

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