Stay on target
If you’ve ever noticed your doggy companion’s fur gradually turning grey or white, you’re not alone. And it’s a real thing that’s happening. But it might not be due to aging. It could instead be due to stress, which could be a lot scarier, in fact.
Stress and anxiety can, in fact, affect humans’ hair and give them plenty of premature grey. It seems that a new study has found similar results when it comes to dogs, with many of them gaining grey muzzles in contrast to their calmer, less anxious canine counterparts, according to research by animal behaviorist Camille King. King noticed that dogs she saw for various problems with anxiety and other similar issues were going grey a lot sooner than other dogs.
King put together a study where she and colleagues ended up photographing 400 young dogs from 1 to 4 years old, found from visits to dog shows and dog parks and had owners fill out questionnaires about the dogs’ anxiety, fear, and impulsivity levels. The surveys would ask whether or not the dogs had issues with whining or barking when alone at home or other behavioral problems like hiding or cowering when at the vet being examined.
The data was soon examined, and researchers found that dogs who were more anxious and showing signs of impulsivity tended to have more grey fur around their snout despite their age, size, medical issues, or if they were spayed or neutered already. The dogs that were particularly more afraid of loud noises or strangers were good predictors of which ones would have more grey fur.
It just goes to show you how similar the connections are with animals and humans are a lot more similar than you might have thought before. Dogs get stressed, too. It’s always worth making sure our furry friends are happy, safe, and comfortable to keep them from having to deal with things we go through when we have anxiety.