Dogs Feel Your Pain

By Susan Aiello • Published: June 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

If you sometimes feel that your dog understands you better than your human family or friends, you might be right. Research has shown that dogs may actually empathize with human suffering.

More than just an instinctive reaction to human body language, dogs appear to sense human distress and respond sympathetically. This may be part of the reason why they summon help, or become protective, during accidents and emergencies.

This emotional ability may stem from canine roots in the wolf pack, in which pack members tend to empathize with one another. It is possible that centuries of domestication and selective breeding have helped dogs attune to these emotions in people.

So if your canine companion seems extra attentive when you’re sick or down in the dumps, be sure to give your friend an extra pat and appreciate the warmth of canine empathy.