Can dogs feel empathy?

Among the most uncertain elements of the animal world are emotions and the reactions that the brain has as a result of these, and the great doubt remains as to whether animals are really capable of experiencing all these processes or not.

It is more than proven that animals can feel not only pain and sadness but also happiness and tranquility, but what about empathy? Throughout the day-to-day living with dogs, people firmly believe in the emotional capabilities of their furry companions, in something deeper, but can dogs feel empathy?

Do dogs feel empathy?

The number of studies on this question is increasing every day, seeking to finally find the definitive answer to the doubts surrounding canine empathy both with humans and with other dogs and animals. Several of these studies have confirmed that dogs, like other animals, innately possess what is known as “emotional contagion,” which is the most primitive or basic level of empathy.

However, there is strong evidence that dogs have an even more developed empathy, as they are found to be able to identify, understand and try to alleviate the emotional states of other animals, especially with their human and pet companions.

Dogs tend to have an increase in anxiety and heart rate when they sense that one of their pack members is suffering, whether it is physical or emotional discomfort, such as sadness or anger. Studies such as the one conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Vienna are a step closer to finally getting an unequivocal answer to the question : Can dogs feel empathy? An answer that many dog owners already know.

Day to day

One way to delve deeper into this topic is to analyze your dog’s behaviors towards you and other members of your pack – what happens when he feels sad, stressed or angry? How does your dog react to your moods? The doubts as to whether or not dogs can feel empathy arose from the facts, from those little gestures on the part of the furry one on the rainiest of days, why not make the attempt to look a little more closely at them, and perhaps get the definitive answer to your doubt?

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