Dogs with anxiety have similar behaviours and brain changes as humans with the condition, new research has found.
The study at EARA member Ghent University, Belgium, could lead to better treatments for both humans and animals.
Researchers scanned the brains of pet dogs and humans with anxiety, as well as lab-reared dogs that were not anxious, to identify the brain pathways that are linked to the condition.
The researchers saw that there were significant differences between the brains of anxious and non-anxious dogs – for example, anxious dogs had a more efficient amygdala (a brain region involved in processing fear), something that is similarly seen in people with anxiety.
“The prevalence of anxiety disorders among dogs is high and the most encountered behavioural disorder in daily practice,” the authors wrote.