Stress, blood type and dogs

Disapproving look from a working spaniel

Stress and Blood Type

Recently I have come across scientific information about stress and blood type that have given me an interesting subject to explore in how my dogs mirror my emotions.  I’ve been working with and writing about the links between our dogs behaviour and our emotions for some years now.  But these posts are mostly based on my personal experiences and my own interpretations of my work.  It has been really encouraging for me to be to start to see scientific research that can support these concepts as well. 

Do you know what blood type you are? I came across some information recently that made a link between blood type and health conditions (what does your blood type mean for your health?) The article describes different health problems related to the 8 different blood types in people.  I had given blood in the past and I looked the information up on my donor card.   I have Blood Type A.  The article claims that people with Blood Type A have naturally higher levels of cortisol than the other blood types. This means that those of us with this blood type are more susceptible to stress. A few years ago I left my job  due to stress and I had never heard of this connection so I was interested to learn more

Cortisol Levels between Dogs and their Owners

Then I read about a recent study showing that our dogs mirror our cortisol levels.

Often called the “fight or flight” chemical, cortisol  acts as an overall stimulant., causing your body to react to a perceived threat, whether real or imagined –  The post Lower your Cortisol Levels, Reduce your Anxiety  gives a helpful explanation.

The full report Long-term stress levels are synchronised in  dogs and their owners  makes the following conclusion:

Our results show that long-term stress hormone levels were synchronized between dogs and humans, two different species sharing everyday life. This could not be explained by either physical activity or by the amount of training. Since the personality of the owners was significantly related to the HCC of their dogs, we suggest that it is the dogs that mirror the stress levels of their owners rather than the owners responding to the stress in their dogs. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show interspecies synchronization of long-term stress.

What can I do about it?

So now I have a scientific reason for why I might be more stressy than another person.  So maybe this is why my dogs gets stressed out, they are mirroing my behaviour.  The well-used phrase in dog land “its never about the dog” is ringing in my ears!  I have two dogs at the moment.  Archie, the labrador is quite a stress-bucket, and follows me every where. The hound Jack is more chilled, but he’s older and keeps himself to himself a lot – maybe that’s why!

I decided to try and investigate different ways of managing my stress levels to see if it affected my dogs.

Blood Type Diet

I read ‘Eat Right for Your Type’, by Peter d’Adamo. According to the author, eating a diet specific to your blood-type improves your overall health and well-being.  It also helps you lose weight naturally. Apart from my tendency to over-stress I consider my physical health pretty good but as someone who enjoys eating I’m always looking for easy ways to shed those extra pounds!

I wasn’t really being scientific. I had no way of measuring my cortisol levels, I just wanted to see if it made me feel calmer and whether it had any impact on my dogs’ behaviour.

Someone suggested it might be the protein powder that was responsible for the stomach cramps.  Perhaps it was the supplements that gave me chronic diahorrea. Maybe I wasn’t following the diet properly. I’ve no idea, but after 6 weeks of needing to be very close to a toilet,I decided my stress levels were too high and I brought the experiment to an end.


Another suggestion for reducing stress levels was particular forms of exercise. I read that the gentler activities like Yoga, Chi Kung and Tai Chi were better suited to Blood type ‘A’s. So for the good of my dogs (!) I decided to join a Tai Chi Class.

Practising Tai Chi has introduced me to a whole new understanding of myself and is having big influence on me, and how I am with my dogs. I’m going to try and explain what I have learnt about myself, in a way that will make sense to others, in my  next blog post. In the meantime, if you are interested in reading more about Tai Chi, you can read about the Five Winds School here 

Until then, are you a blood type ‘A’?  Do you think you have stressy dogs?    Or maybe you have another blood type, and see aspects reflected in your dog’s behaviour?  Leave a comment, I’d be really interested to know.

Also, if you want to read more about my own experiences with dogs mirroring our emotions check out Why Does Your Dog Hump You or Why Does a Dog Chew what it Chews?

Five Winds Glasgow Tai Chi Class
Five Winds Glasgow Tai Chi Class

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