Do dogs sense when we are sick and just how do they “know?”

Can they smell our wounds, sense or pain, feel their intuitive senses far beyond our human understanding, that their pack member is down for the count? These questions resonate in my mind, especially this week, as I faced a medical issue and went down for the count to have surgery. Do you think dogs sense when we are sick?

What I feared: A boundless, bouncy and energetic Cocker Spaniel would greet me at the door postop and thrust his bear-like paws into my wounds.

What I received: A Marcus Welby treatment, sniffing of the wounds, whimpering of the voice, and a gentle ease into my hip, right near where the surgical point of entry began.

Hmph. Just when I think I’ve figured out how dogs think.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered a gentle calm and serene demeanor from my dogs; my last Cocker Spaniel exhibited similar behaviors. I felt almost fungus-like to her, with the safe distance she put between us (that or she didn’t like the looks or odors of a surgical site).

Experts and those who have been there-done that have mixed opinions. After all, there are dogs who can “smell” cancer, so why not dogs who sense their owner is anything less than 100 percent?

What do you think? Does your dog(s) act differently when you are sick?

For me, it’s a sense of wounded warrior; one of the pack is down for the count and it’s up to the other “pack” members to take up the slack, stay guard and watch over me. Well at least until a tennis ball gets thwarted my way and Cocker legs nearly land on my stomach.

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    1. I just had knee surgery today. It was a outpatient. I came home. My pit was happy to see me at first. But now he only comes to my beside and lick me then he leaves dsnt try to come near me.

      1. I had outpt knee surgery and when I came home & went to bed my shorkie
        who knows she can’t sleep in my bed
        attempted 3 times to jump in bed with me. On the 4rth time her little self made it & snuggled under me & we both went to sleep…I LOVE MY RESCUE
        FUR BABY❤️

  1. My dogs know without a doubt when I’m under the weather. They become loving, nurturing (and occasionally a bit smothering, since there are three of them) beings. They bark less, bounce less and love even more. I have no idea how they know, but they do. And I love that about them.

  2. Buddy our English Black and Tan Cocker becomes a little Nurse and is a Velcro Pup… I had heart surgery four years ago and He didn’t leave my side for three weeks. Leo our Parti Cocker was like his assistant they were so good and protective of me. I was very noticeable how their attitudes changed, they were extremely attentive and Velcro pups!

  3. Dr. Richard Sheldrake proved that dogs are telepathic with his work on how dogs know when their owners are coming home. What I see as a communicator is that dogs and cats can actually stand in front of an illness that is coming the owners way. When a dog has a UTI, I ask the owner, and 95% of the time they have one too!

    I researched for my book how dogs that can tell diabetic seizures & find cancer do it. The fact is that none of the monitoring systems change when the person has the seizure, so common thought is that it is smell. I know from working in the medical industry, that certain cancers give off certain smells. So it would make sense that the dogs “smell” the disease.

    Dogs are empathic- they react and feel their humans emotions and illnesses.

  4. I had carpal tunnel surgery yesterday, I have a dog who just turned a year old so she’s pretty much a puppy. Normally very active and playful. But since I came home she just lays on top of me and puts her head right next to my hand. She’s very gentle when I take her outside in her harness and is very good about not pulling. Even when I took out the trash she aligned yourself right underneath the trash bag and assisted me I’m taking it out. She’s been very very good, it makes me wonder if they could feel her pain, and they just instincts kick in and they know how to help?

  5. From my experience dogs and cats can feel when something is wrong and when we have some wounds they usually come and lick them. I do not know why exactly, but it helps.

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