Animal massage, for dogs, cats and horses, especially, is a growing massage-therapy specialty. A new review focuses on the emotional lives of animals, and it indicates that emotions may tell animals about how dangerous or opportunity-laden their world is, and guide the choices that they make.

An animal living in a world where it is regularly threatened by predators will develop a negative emotion or mood, such as anxiety, whereas one in an environment with plenty of opportunities to acquire resources for survival will be in a more positive mood state, the researchers note.

“To understand how animals experience the world and how they should be treated, people need to better understand their emotional lives,” the researchers said. “Public interest in animal welfare remains high, with widespread implications for the way in which animals are treated, used and included in society. We believe our approach could help us to better understand and assess an animal’s emotion.”

The review by Bristol University and Lincoln University (UK) researchers is published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

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