What do you know about your pet’s emotional wellness? If it’s not much, you’re not alone! Many pet parents don’t consider their dog’s mental health or emotional wellness, that is unless their dogs crying whining, or begging for attention. But, can dogs cry? And just how much emotion do dogs feel? Can they laugh? Is dog guilt real? These are all questions we’ve been wondering, so we created this post to give you the lowdown on all your dog’s emotions, along with some tips to support his mental health.
Can Dogs Cry? And, Do Dogs Have Feelings?
When you look at your pup and see a glistening tear in his eye, is he crying? In short, no. While dogs do have tear ducts, us humans are the only animals that cry. So, if dogs can’t cry, do dogs have feelings? To this question, the answer’s a resounding yes! Your pet has emotions, feelings, and a complex mind we’re only just beginning to understand.
There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years thanks to research focused on studying our pets’ emotions and cognitive function. When examining MRI images of canine brains, it’s clear that pets experience emotions. And, they’re more complex than we ever realized!
Which Emotions Does Your Dog Feel?
It’s a little tough to pinpoint exactly which emotions your pet feels because Fido and Fifi can’t talk! While we can assign language to describe the emotions we’re feeling, our pets can’t let us know exactly what those feelings mean to them with words.
Sure, we can read their body language, and as pet parents, we’re good at decoding each bark, yowl, head gesture, and the like. But to truly understand what pets feel, we need more research to study our pets and their brains.
That said, studies show that your dog feels some form of these emotions:
- Love And Attachment: Your doggo definitely knows how to love, which should come as a surprise to no one. Pets are great at giving us love and loyalty, probably because it’s something they experience, as well.
- Fear And Anxiety: If you’ve ever seen your pup lose it when he gets spooked or come home after a day at work to a house that’s a disaster thanks to your stressed pet, you know that fear and anxiety can be powerful emotions for your dog.
- Joy and Happiness: Those wiggly, ziggly happy tails and big gummy smiles are no joke! Your pet is able to experience joy and happiness and most pets are all-too-happy to express their contentment.
- Sadness And Depression: On the flip side, your dog can feel sad. And depressed. If he’s sleeping more, seemingly uninterested in things he once loved, and is having a hard time spending time alone, he might be expressing to you that he’s feeling depressed.
While it might seem like your pet experiences many more emotions than those covered in this list, there is no definitive data to back that up. Many pet owners just know dog guilt is a real thing. And others are sure their pet’s jealous, empathetic, etc. Whatever emotion you think your pet’s experiencing or expressing, we’re hopeful there’ll be more research to teach us about our pets and their mental health soon!
How To Support Your Pet’s Mental Health
You know how important mental and emotional wellness is for humans. And the same is true for our pets. To support your dog’s mental wellness, you can do many of the same things you do for yourself. Here are some ideas to help put your doggo’s mind at ease and boost his mood:
Create A Stress-Free Environment At Home
Your pet’s home and environment can greatly affect his stress and anxiety. If he seems on edge and has a hard time calming down, make sure your home’s as stress-free as possible! Designate an area that’s just for your pet. Giving him a place where he feels safe enough to unwind is a great way to help reduce anxiety. Clean up visual clutter and other obstacles that could stress your pet out, too. He likes a clean, orderly home, just like you do.
Establish Routines To Soothe Anxiety
Your pup may worry when he doesn’t know what to expect next. And sticking to a schedule can improve your pet’s mental wellness by soothing his anxiety. Always feed Fido at the same time(s) each day. Designate potty break times, so he knows when to expect a trip outdoors. Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. And it’s even a good idea to develop a bedtime routine with your doggo, so he knows when it’s time to get rest.
Get Plenty Of Exercise
Not only does exercise trigger the release of ‘happy’ hormones in our bodies, but it does the same for our pets. Plus, it’s a good way to help your dog expend enough energy to allow him to rest and unwind when he’s back at home. Whether your pup prefers a lengthy game of fetch or loves to go for a walk, take care of your dog’s mind by getting plenty of physical exercise.
Show Your Dog Lots Of Love
Your pup’s a social creature and he needs lots of attention and affection to put him in a good mood. Make time for quality cuddles and belly rubs. While this might seem obvious, it’s easy to take our dogs for granted because they’re such an integral part of our lives. To support your pup’s emotional wellness, make sure you’re showing him just how much you love him each and every day.
Take Care Of Yourself, Too
One amazing trait our dogs possess is the ability to read our body language and cue into our feelings. So, if you want to help your pet feel his best, it’s also important to take care of yourself. If you’re stressed, anxious, or upset, your dog will feel it, too. If you’re angry, frustrated, or sad, your pet will pick up on those emotions, as well. Spend some time relaxing, so you don’t inadvertently upset your dog with your bad mood.
Feed A Balanced Diet And Mood-Boosting Supplements
A healthy, balanced diet is key to your pet’s overall health and wellness. It plays a big role in his emotional wellbeing, so it’s important to feed him food that’ll support his mental health. That said, there are many additional ingredients and supplements you can consider adding to your pet’s diet to boost his mood and fuel his brain:
- Omega Fatty Acids: They’re brain boosters that can also affect your pet’s mood. Adding plenty of them to your dog’s diet, either through food or in supplement form is a great way to help his body maintain a balanced mood.
- Hemp: Hemp’s a calming agent that can ease a stressed pet’s worried mind. It’s a great ingredient to add to the dog bowl if your pup’s a worry wart who’d be happier if he could just relax a little.
- Chamomile: This is another great calming ingredient that can help your dog unwind. Feed it to your dog in a baked treat, or add it to his diet as a supplement.
- Vitamin D3: This nutrient is key to emotional wellness, for people and pets. Make sure your dog’s getting plenty of Vitamin D3 either from the sun or a supplement.
Pethonesty Products That Support Your Dog’s Emotional Wellbeing
Want to help your pet feel his best? Then, add some fish oil to his diet. Not only will it support healthy skin and a strong coat, but it’s also beneficial when it comes to your doggo’s emotional wellness. The Omega Fatty Acids present in fish oil can positively impact his emotions and may improve cognitive function, as well. Try PetHonesty Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil to add some fish oil to your pet’s diet. And, when you want to add soothing ingredients to the dog bowl, grab some PetHonesty Premium Hemp Calming Chews or PetHonesty Calming Hemp Chews. They’re packed with calming ingredients to help your pet.