Chill DOG-tor

Fido! What’s dogging you?


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.


It can be heartbreaking to see your nervous pup pacing restlessly. The brain function of dogs is a big mystery! What’s the key to calm their canine jitters?! 


Enter Yangfeng Xu and team from Ghent University in Belgium. They wanted to understand brain function in dogs with anxiety. 


Scientists studied twenty-five healthy and thirteen anxious dogs. They used brain imaging to understand how different regions of the brain interact. And they compared the images to the troubled dog’s symptoms.




Scientists found that nervous dogs had stronger and longer brain connections in specific brain areas. Some areas, like the frontal lobe and the amygdala, are part of the anxiety circuit! When upset, these regions of the brain are overactivated. Like squirrels running wild!


This research could bring treatments that might provide much-needed relief for our anxious, furry friends!


Trust me! I’m a DOG-tor!


Xu, Y., Christiaen, E., De Witte, S., Chen, Q., Peremans, K., Saunders, J. H., Vanhove, C., & Baeken, C. (2023). Network analysis reveals abnormal functional brain circuitry in anxious dogs. PLOS ONE, 18(3).