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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views July 2019 Issue

Are You Up For a Canine Sleepover? It Will Significantly Reduce a Shelter Dog’s Stress

Noise levels in shelters can easily exceed 100 decibels (think jack hammer or power lawn mower), and 6 months of exposure to that amount of noise results in hearing loss for dogs. Shelter dogs are also often confined to small spaces and don’t get to interact much either with other dogs or with people, leaving them socially isolated. They sleep less in shelters, too, about 11 hours a day, according to one study, compared with 14 hours a day in a household environment.

But researchers at Arizona State University’s Canine Science Laboratory found considerably less of the stress

hormone cortisol in shelter dogs permitted a one- or two-night sleepover in the homes of volunteers when compared to cortisol levels in dogs confined to shelters 24/7. The shelter dogs, from facilities in Arizona, Georgia, Montana, Texas, and Utah, slept much better, too.

More and more shelters are allowing dogs to spend a night or two away. If you’d like to pay it forward for dogs who are waiting for a forever home but you don’t want to foster a dog for an extended period of time, a short-term sleepover might be just the thing.

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