Do animals have emotions?

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Animals have emotions, including dogs

Much research and time has been put into the subject of whether or not dogs and other animals have emotions. However, even without the scientific studies of many contemporary animal behaviourists, the general consensus is that animals do have emotions.

I have spent most of my life being around dogs and other animals. Personal experience has led me to strongly believe that animals do have emotions and I will not believe anyone who tells me otherwise. There have simply been too many instances in which animals have shown their emotions and these cannot be attributed to downright coincidence. Their facial expressions change according to their moods and simple body language easily shows fear, anger or even joy. Watch as a dog happily wags its tail as a telltale sign of elation when it is in the presence of its owner. Simple conjecture will tell you that the outside displays of the dog speak volumes about what it is feeling on the inside.

The reason scientific research is even put into an area as blatantly obvious as this is because emotion cannot truly be quantified or measured. Theoretical constructs and scientific indicators must be used to gauge or test for these feelings instead.

Nonetheless, as time goes by, less and less people actually doubt the fact that dogs do experience emotions very much in the same way human beings do. Respected scientific journals have even reported tests and findings that show rats experiencing emotions such as joy. Yet other tests have proven that mice have empathy and that elephants can feel grief, loss and sadness. Information such as these solidly back up claims that the everyday household pet like your dog has emotions as well.

Assuming that animals have been concluded to have emotions, the next logical question to ask would be why they have it. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that emotions have developed over time as the animals evolved. Much like human beings, animals have social norms they follow that have been developed over time. It is this bond that draws them together as a species and helps in their survivability. For instance, fear allows them to escape from enemies, whereas love and trust allow for reproduction and gene propagation.

Interesting Examples

Recent studies have reported that mice are not only empathetic but fun loving as well. In more surprising findings, iguanas have been found to seek pleasure, which is a trait mostly associated with human beings and more intelligent mammals like dolphins. On the other hand, elephants have been concluded to have flashbacks and post traumatic stress disorders. In addition to these, fish have also been proven to be sentient. Displays of affection and grief have also been found to be exhibited by otters. With evidence as plentiful as this, it is not hard to believe that our lovely pet dog also experiences many emotions similar to how we do. As such, try to make it a point to communicate with your dog and always try to understand its feelings like you would a fellow person. Understanding this only helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

13 thoughts on “Do animals have emotions?”

  1. I always figure that anyone who says animals don’t have emotions don’t hang out around animals much. Or if they do, they must figure it’s easier not too believe it. It’s much easier to be cruel to some creature if you don’t admit or care how it feels about it.
    It’s worth noting that their is scientific evidence to suggest that people who are cruel to animals as kids also grow up to be cruel to be people.

    Somehow, I just know whenever the horse knocks over the wheel barrow and then stares at you while you yell, that is certainly evidence of a sense of humor….

    1. Yes, you are right. Sociopaths and psychopaths usually demonstrate cruelty to animals as children, then move on to arm other human beings as adults.

  2. Of course they do, just don’t be anthropomorphic about it. They have their own range of emotions.
    We interpret them as we understand them. Love being the prime example. That’s how people get into trouble with exotic pets. Thank God they are in our lives. As we seek to understand them we realize they are sentient beings and here for a purpose. Once we remove our ego the communication and learning begin. Thanks for a great article.

  3. Animals definitely have emotions; look at the amount of dogs who have anxiety when left on their own, or who are happy when their owners return after their day at work!

  4. 100% they do!!!! My friend has a dog and when she needs to go abroad ,she leaves Lola(dog’s name) to me,to take care of her. And sometimes Lola gets very depressed when she thinks of her “mother”…she even cries with tears,so overwhelming! How can some people say that animals are heartless?!

  5. Without a doubt animals have emotions. Whenever my friend yells at his dog he puts his head down, wimpers, and retreats to his cage and is very quiet. But when my friend gives him attention he is barking, wagging his tail, and you can just tell he’s happy. That’s why they are called man’s best friend. Really great article thanks for posting. Very informative keep up the good work.

  6. Yes that’s true animals having an emotions and they feel it, I have a dog , when my father come from the shop my dog wipe their tail,And show their happiness. If he is in angry mood he barked on everyone.So i think animals having emotions.

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