Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Dogs Suffer From PTSD Long After Japan Earthquake

Dogs show stress long after the devastating earthquake and nuclear disaster

We all know that nonhuman animals (animals) are emotional beings. There are ample data that show that chimpanzees, elephants, and dogs suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, see and) and now a most fascinating discovery shows that, "Family dogs caught up in the Japan earthquake of 2011 and subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima showed signs of stress not inconsistent with PTSD long after the events."

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

In this research project, abandoned dogs rescued from Fukushima were compared with non-disaster affected dogs abandoned in 2009 and 2010, before the earthquake. The dogs who lived through and survived the disaster had stress hormone levels five to 10 times higher than the dogs who were abandoned or found as strays. In addition, the gap "narrowed but did not close even after 10 weeks of loving care in the rehabilitation program." The Fukushima dogs also remained detached from caregivers. 

This study clearly shows that animals show very similar responses to stress as do humans and that their emotional lives are fragile just like ours. Of course, many people are concerned with the psychological well-being of animals who are used in a wide variety of human venues and these data show that these deep concerns are not ill-founded. 

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

more...

Subscribe to Animal Emotions

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?