We know that animals have feelings. Studies have shown that animals have consciousness and emotions. But if you have a pet, you know this firsthand.
Just think of how thrilled your dog is when you come home after a long day away or how your cat purrs when you open a can of food.
But do our pets actually smile at us when they're happy?
When your dog is content, his mouth will be relaxed and could be slightly open, psychologist and best-selling dog author Stanley Coren, Ph.D. writes in Modern Dog. His ears are up, his head is high and his tongue may be lolling out if he's ready to play. This may look like a happy smile.
Morty often has this contented look on his face. (Photo: hookamabutt/Reddit)
Cats typically don't "smile" in the same way, say behaviorists. They might show their affection in a different way with something like a slow blink. Your kitty may look at you, blink slowly and then possibly look away. She's not bored or tired. Instead, she's showing that she's comfortable with you, says veterinarian Dr. Wailani Sung, in VetStreet.
Because direct eye contact or a prolonged stare is considered aggressive in the animal kingdom, your cat is saying she's not threatened or fearful.
"While a slow blink does not always mean your cat wants physical contact with you, it is a way of signaling to you, to another person or to another cat that everything is A-OK and she is comfortable being around you!" Sung writes.
It's a feline way of smiling. Or maybe, like the cat below, your cat smiles too.
This kitty's grin shows off some pretty impressive fangs. (Photo: Reddit)
Here's a look at dogs and cats that sure look like they are smiling. Maybe they're happy or maybe those are just their natural pleasant-looking expressions. Whatever the case, they certainly make us smile.
If I grin like this, can I have a treat? (Photo: smartstocks/imgur)
It's easy to be happy when you're an adorable puppy. (Photo: rock12567/imgur)
This dog certainly seemed to enjoy his first trip to the beach. (Photo: rock12567/imgur)
This cat is either ecstatic or about to get in big trouble. (Photo: pregglt/imgur)
Rambo 'smiles' each time you point a camera at him — or maybe he's just showing off his pearly whites. (Photo: Agr3ss1vePanda/imgur)
Is that a smile or a funny little mustache? (Photo: fashion4ward3/Reddit)
Somebody's happy to be out in the sunshine. (Photo: jango_broughty/imgur)
This dog is smiling so big he can't keep his eyes open. (Photo: chaboijohnny/Reddit)
Odin the kitty looks happy to be on the bed. (Photo: hugo464/imgur)
This dog always smiles when he gets a belly rub. (Photo: BreezyBumbleBre93/imgur)
This dog takes the 'Say, cheese' thing very seriously. (Photo: ifinallyreallyreddit/imgur)
It's easy to smile when you look this good. (Photo: rock12567/imgur)