06 March 2017

HEALTH - New Heart Sensor Detects Stress in Dogs

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from anxiety and stress in varying degrees.

In fact, numerous drugs, behaviour modification protocols and devices have been developed to help our canine friends.

There are obvious signs of anxiety such as barking, trembling and drooling, and other more subtle symptoms like decreased appetite and increased sleep.
Researchers at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan have developed a method to detect real-time stress in dogs before the more overt signs present themselves.

A wearable heartbeat sensor transmits signals to a receiver that allows the owner to determine whether their canine companion is relaxed or stressed out.

“The device could be used for knowing when dogs are in pain or having health problems,” Shunsuke Shimamura, associate professor of veterinary medicine at the university, told The Japan Times.

“The use of this could lead to early detection of disease or improvement of medical treatments for dogs.”

The research team learned that as dogs got tense, the heartbeat intervals got more and more regulated and when they relax the intervals fluctuated significantly.

From this data, they created an index for canine stress levels.

The team is developing a device with Sharp Corporation and aims to have a marketable product available within two to three years.

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