Do dogs have feelings?

dogs Sep 9, 2021


Do dogs have feelings?  This is a controversial question.

Most owners have a special bond with their dogs and they can easily read their dog's emotions. Some of the best examples are:

  • when you arrive home and your dog jumps around and wagging its tail - Happiness, Love
  • when your dog chewed all your good shoes and you scold him, he immediately feels guilt and his tail will be down, he'll do the puppy sad eyes - guilty
  • when your dog doesn't like a dog in the park and he bark and growls, his tail is down - anxious, angry

From these examples, we can clearly see the emotions of our dogs. But the thing is that many researchers approved that dogs can experience: love, joy, anger, but actually they cannot have complex emotions like guilt, shame, or pride. Actually, I thought that dogs feel guilt because I saw so many cases where dogs appear to feel guilty, including my dog. They actually feel fear. Our dogs have learned that when they do something bad, like chewing the sofa, they gonna be scolded. So, what we see when they do those puppy guilty eyes is fear of punishment. This fear is usually based on previous experience.

Are dogs capable of love?

dogs capable of love

Dogs are capable of having emotions offering company and unconditional love. That's why they are used in therapy for people. Also, rising a child along with a dog is proven therapy.

Also it is known that during the emotional states, dogs have the same hormones and chemical changes as we humans have, but with higher levels of oxytocin. This hormone helps dogs feel love, affection and attachment to their owners and other people and animals.

Oxytocin it is also knows as “the love hormone”  because it makes us and our pets loving with the need to hug, touch, lovingly eye contact with the person we love or like.

Other dog's emotions

dogs emotions

Likewise, dogs that are in uncomfortable conditions show high levels of the stress hormone, named cortisol. This hormone is usually released when the dog is left alone for any period of time. That's because, dogs like wolves, are pack animals that need to have companionship. You'll rarely see a solitary dog being happy. Owners that have a full time job at the office or no time to get home to have care for its dog should think about this situation. Because of this, many dogs suffer from depression and anxiety.

There are cases when dogs become depressed when they are in pain or  suffer from some kind of illness. If you observe that your dog is sad, with no mood for play or eat, then you should take him to the vet to make sure he doesn't suffer from any illness.


So, with the same neurology that people have, we can admit that dogs have emotions that are similar to ours. They can feel happy or sad, they can feel love or dislike, but never hate. Hate is another complex emotion that dogs cannot manifest. They usually dislike a person with a reason: fear, threat, or because of a particular situation of aggression.

To sum up, dogs can have feelings and emotions like: love/attachement, fear, frustration, depression/anxiety, joy and even jealousy, disgust, curiosity and surprise.

Hope you enjoyed this article! Paws & love! 🐾


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