Science says it’s better to sleep next to a dog than a human

Author Article Here

If you’ve got a dog, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a snuggle on the sofa while binge watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. They look adorable when they’re sleeping, our entire camera roll is basically delfies, and they give the best cuddles.

But did you know that sleeping next to your cute canine is actually really good for you? A study by The Mayo Clinic found that you get a better night’s sleep when you snooze next to your pet pup.

Researchers found that the 40 healthy individuals involved in the study slept better when next to a dog, no matter how big or small the pet in question was, or how much it moved in the night.

The Mayo Clinic’s Lois Krahn said: ‘Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption. We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.

‘Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximise their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.’

Another study found that we love dogs more than we love other humans (true), and even newer research shows that you get a better night’s sleep when you sleep next to a dog rather than a partner (true again).

The scientific study by Dr. Christy L. Hoffman, a professor in Animal Behaviour, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius College in New York tracked sleeping habits to find out whether sleeping next to a pet affects women’s sleep patterns.

And the results showed that those who slept next to a dog reported a better, more restful sleep than those who slept next to a cat, or another human. Apparently, dogs are less disruptive and we experience feelings of comfort and security when cuddling a pet pooch.

Latest Stories

  • People are no longer allowed to ask the Queen about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

  • lidl christmas pudding wine

    Lidl releases wine that tastes like Christmas pudding and we’re here for it

  • meghan markle 1186997743

    Meghan Markle is ‘troubled’ by Prince Andrew’s sex comments

Dr. Hoffman told Broadly that the ‘keyword here is perception, this study is based on individuals self-reporting how they feel their sleep is affected.’

She added that it is ‘important to note that this is based on aggregated data and an average of responses, so getting a dog won’t solve everyone’s sleep problems.’

If you haven’t got a dog, don’t worry – this is probably the most perfect excuse to get one.

Dog Owners Are Much Happier Than Cat Owners – Here’s Why

Author Article

Dog with owner outside on the grass

VASYL DOLMATOVGETTY IMAGES

Dogs bring great happiness to their owners, quickly forming a bond through time spent together. But how happy are dog owners compared to those who own cats or other pets?

The General Social Survey shows that dog owners are much more content than cat owners, with 36% of dog owners calling themselves ‘very happy’, compared to only 18% of cat owners.

Those who own dogs are also happier than those who don’t, showing that dogs really do bring great joy to their owners’ lives. With over half of pet owners falling in love with their dogs in just 30 minutes, it’s no surprise that those with dogs are happier than those without pets.

Dog massage
by Country Living GB

Why are dog owners happier?

The study concluded that:

• Dog owners are more likely to form friendships with people in their neighbourhoods, especially when they’re out walking their pets.

• Dog owners are more likely to engage in outdoor physical activity.

• Dog owners tended to be more agreeable, more extroverted and less neuroticthan cat owners

• Dog owners are more likely to seek comfort from their pets in times of stress.

• 93% are also more likely to call their dog a member of the family, compared to just 83% of cat owners

• It also shows that a greater bond with their dog means they have a greater sense of well-being.

Elsewhere, a 2013 study showed that dog owners are also far more likely to engage in outdoor activities than those who own cats.

Dogs not only bring great happiness to their owners, but also help them to keep an active lifestyle. It’s just another reason to adopt a pup of your own today.

Science Says It’s Better To Sleep Next To A Dog Than A Human

Author Article

If you’ve got a dog, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a snuggle on the sofa while binge watching Queer Eye and eating your body weight in Easter eggs (yes, the official day isn’t for a good few weeks but who’s to say you can’t get your chocolate fix early?).

But back to dog talk. We love them. If you take a look at the best alternative festivals of 2019, there’s even a dog event (called Dogstival, naturally) that sounds like an absolute dream. Plus, they look adorable when they’re sleeping, our entire camera roll is basically delfies, and they give the best cuddles.

A study found that we love dogs more than we love other humans (true), and even newer research shows that you get a better night’s sleep when you sleep next to a dog rather than a partner (true again).

The latest scientific study by Dr. Christy L. Hoffman, a professor in Animal Behaviour, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius College in New York tracked sleeping habits to find out whether sleeping next to a pet affects women’s sleep patterns.

And the results showed that those who slept next to a dog reported a better, more restful sleep than those who slept next to a cat, or another human. Apparently, dogs are less disruptive and we experience feelings of comfort and security when cuddling a pet pooch.

Dr. Hoffman told Broadly that the ‘keyword here is perception, this study is based on individuals self-reporting how they feel their sleep is affected.’

She added that it is ‘important to note that this is based on aggregated data and an average of responses, so getting a dog won’t solve everyone’s sleep problems.’

If you haven’t got a dog, don’t worry – this is probably the most perfect excuse to get one.

8 Physical And Mental Health Benefits Of Owning A Dog

Author Article

dog owner

GETTY IMAGESWESTEND61

We can thank our dogs for many things – laughs, companionship and muddy paw prints on the carpet included. But do you ever stop and think about the more long-term impacts that owning a dog can have on your physical and mental health?

This National Love Your Pet Day (20th February), we are thanking our pets for the health benefits they bring to our lives, from exercise to increasing confidence.

8 mental and physical health benefits of owning a dog

1. You might visit the doctor less

An Australian survey found that dog owners make fewer visits to the GP in a year and are less likely to be on medication for heart problems or sleep issues.

2. You could be less anxious

Veterinarian Dr Jo Gale, Mars Petcare Scientific Advisor, says: “Several studies have found that interacting with pet dogs or therapy dogs is associated with reductions in the stress hormone cortisol and reductions in self-reported anxiety.”

2. You could have lower risk of cardiovascular disease

A nationwide 2017 study in Sweden found that owning a dog could be beneficial in reducing the risk of the owner developing cardiovascular disease, thanks to having increased motivation to exercise and a non-human social support network. Interestingly, the study found that owning hunting breeds lowered the risk the most.

dog owner beach
GETTY IMAGES

3. You are more sociable

An American study, which looked at three factors of being sociable – getting to know people, friendship formation and social support networks – found that dog owners are five times more likely to know people in their community. They found that dogs, acting as companions, helped owners be more sociable on every level, from one-off interactions to the development of deep friendships.

4. You might live longer

In the Waltham Pocket Book of Human-Animal Interactions there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the physical benefits of having a dog can lead to a longer, healthier life. Section 8 reads: “The many health benefits of regular physical activity are well documented, and include lower rates of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression and certain types of cancer.”

5. You have higher self-esteem

2017 study by the University of Liverpool found that growing up with a dog can increase self-esteem in children. It also found young people with pets to be less lonely and have enhanced social skills. Lead author, Rebecca Purewal, states: “Critical ages for the impact of pet ownership on self-esteem, appear to be greatest for children under 6, and preadolescents and adolescents over 10.”

dog child
GETTY IMAGES

6. You exercise more

A 2019 study by Lintbells found the average dog owner walks 870 miles every 12 months with their pets. That equates to just four miles less than the distance between John o’Groats in Scotland and Land’s End in Cornwall. Just over half of the 2,000 British adults surveyed owned a dog, and they walk, on average, more than 21 miles a week – 17 of which are with their pet. That’s around seven miles more than non dog owners who only clock up 14 miles a week.

7. Children miss less school

Veterinarian Dr Jo Gale says: “Having pets in the home has been linked to enhanced immune function in children, as evidenced by better school attendance rates due to fewer illness-related absences. The effect was particularly strong for younger children (five to eight-years-old) and, in some cases amounted to nearly three extra weeks of school attendance for children with pets.”

8. You are less likely to be lonely

Studies have shown that, out of any other pet, dogs have the strongest connection to loneliness, mainly because they are on show a lot more. Over 80% 0f people who took part in Mars Petcare’s 2018 research said that, just one month after getting a dog, they felt a lot less lonely.

Do Anxious Owners Make For Anxious Dogs?

Author Article Here

We’re often amused when dogs and their owners seem to look alike—both have lanky limbs or shaggy locks, say. A recent study has found that dogs resemble their owners in an entirely different way: their personalities actually tend to be similar.

William J. Chopik, a social psychologist at Michigan State University and the study’s lead author, studies how human relationships change over time. Intrigued by the bond that people share with their pet dogs, he set out to examine those relationships and the dynamics within.

His study had the owners of 1,681 dogs evaluate their own personalities, and their dogs’ personalities, on standardized questionnaires. He found that dogs and their owners share personality traits. A highly agreeable person is twice as likely to have a dog who is highly active and excitable—and less aggressive—than someone who is less agreeable. The study also found that conscientious owners rated their dogs as more responsive to training and neurotic owners rated their dogs as more fearful. By contrast, “if someone is chill, their dog is chill,” says Chopik.

Chopik points out the obvious challenge in doing this study: you can ask people questions about themselves, but with a dog, you can only rely on owners’ observations of their pets’ behavior. But owner biases—the idea that owners may project their own personalities onto their dogs—don’t seem to come into play. Similar studies have found that acquaintances (strangers, friends, dog walkers) tend to rate a dog’s personality in the same way as its owner. (Does your dog prefer you over anyone else? It’s complicated.)

Why do these similarities exist? The study doesn’t address causes, but Chopik has a hypothesis. “Part of it is the dog you pick, and part of it is the dog it ultimately becomes because of you,” he says.

Chopik says that when adopting a dog, people tend to gravitate towards one that will naturally fit into their daily rhythms. “Do you want a rambunctious dog that needs a lot of interaction, or one that’s more chill for a more sedentary lifestyle?” he says. “We tend to choose dogs that match us.”

Then, whether through conscious training or just day-to day interactions, we shape their behavior—and they change as we change. “Our lifestyle changes trickle down,” he says.

Behaviorist Zazie Todd, author of the website Companion Animal Psychology, says it’s important to note that the five main traits widely used for evaluating people’s personalities (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, negative emotionality, and open-mindedness) are not the same as the five personality factors used for dogs (fearfulness, aggression toward people, aggression toward animals, activity/excitability, and responsiveness to training). “But there are some really interesting links” between human and dog traits, she says, and qualities tend to match up.

“Even though you measure things in different ways, you find correlations,” Chopik says. “That makes similarities harder to detect, but we found them anyway.”

For example, while “extraversion” isn’t a trait that maps cleanly onto an animal’s personality, extraverted people are typically more outgoing and energetic, so a dog being highly active and excitable is a close parallel.

Future research could potentially tease apart the two possible causes for the personality links. In other words, that chicken-and-egg factor. For example, are friendly, outgoing owners more likely to choose a less fearful-seeming dog? Or is their outgoing lifestyle more likely to rub off on a dog over time? “People who are more agreeable may take their dogs out and about more so that the dog is better socialized and more used to different things,” Todd says. “It could be that people are shaping their dog’s personalities, and this is the most interesting possibility for me.”

Dogs’ Personalities Can Change To Be Like Their Owners’, Michigan Researchers Find

Author Article

Dogs apparently do become like their owners — and now there’s research to prove it.

new study by psychologists at Michigan State University (MSU) found that dog personalities change over time and their owners play a part.

“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs — and to a surprisingly large degree,” William Chopik, a professor of psychology at MSU and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

“We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t have the wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot. We uncovered similarities to their owners, the optimal time for training and even a time in their lives that they can get more aggressive toward other animals,” he continued.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality, is one of the first — and the largest — of its kind that looks at changes in dogs’ personalities.

Chopik and his colleagues surveyed owners of 1,681 dogs, including 50 breeds that ranged in age from a few weeks old to 15 years old.

Owners were asked to evaluate their dog’s personalities, answer questions about their dog’s behavioral history and describe their own personalities.

The three main findings from the study were: a correlation of the dog’s age to its personality, a correlation of the owner’s personality to their dog’s personality and the influence a dog’s personality has on its relationship to its owner, Chopik said.

Chopik’s research found that people who were extroverted scored their dog as being more excitable and active, while owners who felt more negatively about their pets rated them as being more fearful, less active and less responsive to training.

People who ranked themselves as agreeable also rated their canines as less fearful and aggressive to other people and animals, the survey found.

The research also found the best time to train a dog is around the age of six.

“Older dogs are much harder to train; we found that the ‘sweet spot’ for teaching a dog obedience is around the age of six when it outgrows its excitable puppy stage but before it’s too set in its ways,” Chopik said.

Owners whose dogs were better trained, more active and more excitable reported feeling happiest about their relationships with their canines, as well.

“There are a lot of things we can do with dogs — like obedience classes and training — that we can’t do with people,” Chopik said.

“Exposure to obedience classes was associated with more positive personality traits across the dog’s lifespan. This gives us exciting opportunities to examine why personality changes in all sorts of animals,” he added.

Do Dogs Have Love Languages? Here’s How Your Pup Loves To Love, According To Experts

Author Article

Whenever I pick up a bone for my dog Hank at the store, I can hardly contain my excitement before giving it to him because I know that he loves treats more than almost anything in the world. The moment he smells anything tasty, his ears perk up and he begins to run in circles, and trust me — it’s the cutest thing to watch. I think it’s safe to say that every dog loves treats, but besides loving food, do dogs have love languages? According to experts, they definitely do, and figuring out how your pup gives and receives love isn’t as hard as you might think.

According to Dr. Matthew Goetz, medical director at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, deciphering your pup’s love language is all about paying attention to their actions. “If your dog does something that does not benefit them at all but because it keeps you safe or brings you joy, they are doing it out of love,” he tells Elite Daily in an email.

The dog love is real, folks. Michelson Found Animals, an animal welfare non-profit organization, recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 people, and found that 81 percent of respondents consider their pet to be one of the greatest loves of their life. What’s more, 47 percent of people in the survey said their pet actually taught them how to love.

So while you might think of Valentine’s Day as a time to appreciate your romantic partner or your “galentines,” make sure you don’t forget to celebrate your puppy love, too. Here are some of the ways your cute canine shows and receives love.

A WIGGLY BOOTY

Giphy

One of my favorite things in the world is asking Hank if he wants to go for a walk, and then watching his excitement skyrocket until he just can’t contain his joy. The adorable doggy butt wiggles are one way of expressing love, says Jessa Paschke, a pet behavioralist with Mars Petcare. “When dogs are with those they love, their body language typically becomes relaxed and very wiggly,” she explains. Show your fur baby some love in return by giving him some extra butt scratches.

A BIG OL’ GRIN

Giphy

If your favorite humans are happy, chances are, they’re grinning from ear to ear. It turns out, dogs really do express emotion using their faces, too. According to Paschke, “dogs will also show very soft, almond-shaped eyes, and may even ‘smile’ when in the company of their loved ones.” Praise your very good boy in your most loving voice, and he’s sure to feel the love right back.

SHARING TOYS

Giphy

“If your dog brings you one of their favorite toys and drops it at your feet, it’s likely they are giving it to you as a gift,” says Dr. Whitney Miller, director of veterinary medicine at Petco. “Sharing their favorite things is one way they demonstrate love.” Take a few moments to toss the toy around so that you get some good bonding time, and your pup will be sure to know she’s the love of your life.

HE NEVER LEAVES YOUR SIDE

Giphy

Does your dog always “protect” you when you’re in the bathroom? This may seem annoying and invasive to you, but Dr. Goetz says this means your little shadow truly loves you. Whether or not you decide to enforce a “no dogs in the bathroom” rule is totally your call, but just know that the nosiness comes from a place of love.

TAKING NAPS WITH YOU

Giphy

“Although all animals are individuals, dogs show love by their affection, wanting to be close with and commune with their family,” explains Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, a dog trainer, behavioralist, and CEO of Fun Paw Care. In my opinion, cuddles are one of the absolute best parts of being a dog mom, and it turns out that if your pup loves to sleep next to you, that’s a sure sign that she loves you, too.

GIVING YOU *ALL* THE KISSES

Giphy

According to Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, a veterinary genetics research manager at Wisdom Health, your pup’s wolf ancestors would lick their mothers’ faces to indicate that they were hungry. “The modern dog uses this instinct to let us know that they care about us and are not a threat,” she tells Elite Daily. “They will also do it as an act to groom you, which is another way to show intimacy.” If your dog seems to love physical touch like this, shower her with belly rubs and head scratches.

JUMPING ALL OVER YOU

Giphy

Is there anything better than coming home from a stressful day at work to an angelic puppy jumping all over you because he missed you so much? Not in my book.

Even if this is something you find more annoying than endearing, according to Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert, for dogs, jumping to greet their owner is an instinctive display of affection and shows how excited they are to be reunited with their favorite human.

JUST SPENDING TIME TOGETHER

Giphy

Bottom line: If your adorable dog wants to spend every second of her day with you, she loves you. Spending one-on-one time with your pup — whether you go for a long walk, hit the dog park, or just cuddle up for a long Friends marathon — hanging out together is a great way to make sure your fur baby is feeling extra loved on Feb. 14.

Dog Personalities Can Shift Just Like Those of Humans, Study Says

Author Article

We like to imagine that all dogs are good dogs — and the vast majority of them never give us a reason to question that belief — but just how good they are is something that can change over time. A new study suggests that canine personalities aren’t set in stone and, just like humans, they can go through dramatic personality changes based on life events.

The research, which was published in Journal of Research in Personality, is the largest study of dog personality ever conducted. Over 1,600 dogs spanning 50 different breeds were included in the work, which surveyed pet owners and attempted to draw links between life events and changes in the behavior of the animals and their caretakers.

“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs—and to a surprisingly large degree,” William Chopik, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

“We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t have wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot. We uncovered similarities to their owners, the optimal time for training and even a time in their lives that they can get more aggressive toward other animals.”

The researchers found that the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks does have some basis in reality, with older animals being harder to train once they are set in their ways. But what was particularly interesting to the scientists was how the personalities of dogs tended to follow that of their owners.

Active and outgoing individuals tended to be matched with dogs that were the same, while dogs that were anxious or hostile had owners that were more negative. Pets that were more excitable and happy were also shown to be easier to train, while the fearful and anxious animals didn’t respond as well to direction.

“There are a lot of things we can do with dogs—like obedience classes and training—that we can’t do with people,” Chopik explains. “Exposure to obedience classes was associated with more positive personality traits across the dog’s lifespan. This gives us exciting opportunities to examine why personality changes in all sorts of animals.”

Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?

Author Article

Humans, navel-gazing and self-obsessed beings as we are, are nothing if not relentlessly and unapologetically anthropocentric. We tend to assume that our experience of the world is the only one that counts, and that anything that is different from us is either strange, weird or otherwise unaccountable. Hence we ask questions like, “Do dogs have belly buttons?” For all placental mammals, of which humans are only one species, an umbilical cord is a necessary part of typical gestation. In humans, a belly button is a scar, a physical reminder of our nine months as uterine passengers.

Do dogs have belly buttons in the same place as humans?

A man petting a dog flipped over on his stomach.

Dogs are physiologically different from humans in many ways; the difference most relevant to the answer, “Do dogs have belly buttons?” is the positioning of a dog’s nipples and navel. In humans, the nipples are toward the top of the torso and the navel toward the bottom. In both male and female dogs, the navel is flanked on either side by nipples.

One reason we think to ask, “Do dogs have belly buttons?” is that we are accustomed to having generally less body hair than dogs and thus having our navels more readily visible. Following a successful whelping, a mother dog removes the umbilical cords from her puppies. Not only is this scar negligible in size compared to a human navel — and generally flat — but it is also rapidly obscured by fur.

There can be no doubt about whether dogs have umbilical cords. Where you find an umbilical cord, you’ll find a belly button. This means that the answer to another frequently asked question — to wit, “Do cats have belly buttons?” — is likewise a resounding yes. In humans, of course, the scar is far more plainly visible — it either sticks out or appears as a small lint-attracting chasm in our lower abdomen.

How do you find your dog’s belly button?

The next question that comes to mind after, “Do dogs have belly buttons?” is how can you find them? Unlike humans, a dog’s belly button is really only visible and noticeable for a short time after birth. For many short- or medium-haired dogs, the best place to seek evidence of the former connective point of the umbilical cord is right around the little tuft of hair where your dog’s coat meets around the base of the ribs. What we might refer to as a dog’s belly button is usually a small thin scar located just below the end of the ribcage, and just above the start of the abdomen.

As far as belly buttons in the animal kingdom go, humans are outliers to have such apparent navels. We’re certainly the only species of placental mammals to decorate them with tattoos or furnish them with jewelry. Monotremes (egg-laying mammals such as the platypus) and marsupials (pouched mammals like the kangaroo) are really the only mammals out there that have no need of a true umbilical cord, and thus not to have a belly button of any kind. Most other placental mammals are more like dogs and cats, in that they have a navel scar which simply fades with time.

A dog’s herniated belly button

Another question that follows after, “Do dogs have belly buttons?” might be, “What if my dog’s belly button is really apparent?” Indeed, the only time you’d have reason to notice a dog’s belly button is if something goes wrong with a puppy’s development. A hernia is one such unfortunate situation. As you may know, a hernia is basically a condition where something meant to be securely positioned inside the body bulges out. An umbilical hernia in dogs is a medical condition in which the small wound created when the umbilical cord is severed does not close over or heal properly. Normally, a wall of muscle seals itself after birth at the spot where the umbilical cord was connected.

In my youth, I had a dog who had a very small knob-like bump where its flat belly button should have been. I never gave it a second thought, but it was probably an uncomplicated umbilical hernia. An uncomplicated umbilical hernia presents no cause for concern, and will often subside of its own accord.

With a complicated umbilical hernia, in which parts of the internal abdomen, such as a bit of intestine, protrude through the gap in the muscle wall. It’s only when you notice a dog with a pronounced dog belly button at all that you should give a dog’s navel any serious thought. Since this kind of hernia is most common in young puppies, most canine patients can have the problem surgically repaired around the same time that they are spayed or neutered.

Although they can occur in any breed, certain dog breeds are genetically predisposed to develop umbilical hernias, either complicated or uncomplicated. Prospective owners of Airedale TerriersBasenjisBeagles, and Pekingese should keep a close watch on newborns and puppies in the first few months of life, just to be safe.

Can you find your dog’s belly button?

Dog belly buttons are inherently fascinating to humans from the moment we notice them as infants or toddlers. While many animals play with or poke around in their ears, we are probably the only ones that bother with the spot where our umbilical cord once provided nutrients and waste disposal during gestation.

Tell us: Have you ever patted or rubbed your dog’s belly, just sort of feeling around to see if you could locate the navel? Has your dog ever dealt with an umbilical hernia? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography © GeorgePeters | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published in 2014.