How conscious are animals? Do they reflect on their lives like humans? Pete the Vet Podcast on the Pat Kenny Show

Animal consciousness is a fascinating topic: to listen to this week’s podcast on the topic, press play at the bottom of this page.

The key advance in the accepted view of animal consciousness happened in 2012, when a group of world leading neuroscientists attending a conference at the University of Cambridge in the UK, signed “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” which states the following:
“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates”
The podcast discusses this topic in more detail.

Questions from listeners about pets

The following questions were asked by listeners and Pete answers them during the podcast:

  • How do you stop two male dogs fighting: one is three and one is a year old? They get on well sometimes.
  • We have two young German Shepherds who nip playfully at our grandchildren. How should we reprimand them?
  • My five year old Pomeranian is going upstairs and peeing on the children’s beds: how can we stop her?
  • How can we get rid of bats that have settled into our attic?
  • We have a Norwegian Forest Cat who plays games: she chooses to play hide and seek with us. Is this common?
  • My 13 year old Labrador has dementia, howling at night, and staring at the walls. Please help us get some sleep!
  • My neighbour tells me that my dogs barks when I go to work. He has a long walk every morning before I go. What can we do?

Pete also did a Facebook Live session answering more questions: you can watch it here.

Listen to the podcast:

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