Say Cheese! Do Pets Smile?

Do pets smile? I don’t have a “scientifically accurate” answer to this question; nor will I attempt to give you a link to the latest research study on this topic. My opinion is as good as it gets for this Pet Health Central blog post. So…my answer is…YES! Look at the evidence (see photo of adorable smiley bulldog). Bulldog smileThat sure looks like a smile to me!

Yahoo! covered the “Do Animals Smile” topic:

Professor Nicholas Dodman, head of animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine said: “Note that the lips horizontally retract into what’s called a ‘submissive smile’ – a sign that a dog is non-threatening. It’s an expression that disarms possible aggression, much like the human smile…

Until recently, scientists have generally underestimated the emotional range of animals. He says that today it is widely understood by scientists that mammals do experience primary emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and happiness and even some secondary emotions like jealously and embarrassment-and they communicate them. Dodman says that dogs even have a sense of humor and laugh with a kind of huffing sound.”

When my dog, Shay, gets excited her facial expressions show it. I work for an awesome pet care company, so Miss Shay frequently gets to enjoy many new treats and toys. Sometimes, I come home from work with a Sergeant’s bag in hand. Shay knows what this means. That’s when the jumping, tail wagging and the smiling (yes, smiling) happens. Whether it’s science, or not, our pets share emotions similar to what we humans do. Are they smiling on purpose? I think we should ask Dr. Tony or Dr. Rod Van Horn for a more accurate answer.

September is “Pet Smile Month”! Here are a few great photos to help us celebrate.

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-Photo Credit: Inset photos from flickr by brit_robin, Steve Parker, FreeWine and whaas984.

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