Your Dog Knows When You Are Sick

Your Dog Knows When You Are Sick

Ellen Britt for CNT #wooftips

Many dog owners who are starting to feel under the weather have had the experience of having their dog curl up next to them as soon as a sniffle starts. Sometimes it seems your dog knows you are getting sick even before you do!

But how is this possible? Do dogs have a sixth sense?

Not really. But a dog’s sense of smell is so very highly developed that it seems like a sixth sense to us humans. 

While six million olfactory receptors in our human noses seems like a lot, dogs have an astounding 300 million receptors in theirs! This makes a dog’s sense of smell so acute that they can sense when you are ill. 

Research Backs This Up

Plus studies show that our dogs get information from our voices and can tell when our moods have changed. You may have also noticed that when you are feeling ill, your dog is not as apt to be as energetic as when you are feeling well.

Some dogs have been trained to be medical detection dogs, and can accurately detect illnesses such as malaria, diabetes, certain types of cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Dogs are even being specially trained to sniff out the coronavirus!

So next time you are feeling under the weather and your dog wants to curl up next to you, let him, as he’s just doing what comes naturally to him.

By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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