This again is a self-note so keep this in mind. I do not claim to know anything nor do I care if you care if I sight or reference anything. "This is for me and for me alone." but feel free to comment on it if you want.
From my reading and watching on the internet of research documents and neurologist videos, there is an exciting finding that we contain very thin "wires" that were previously did not see before because they were too thin to notice that solely "reflect" back localized functionality to every part of the brain in continual pulses.
These thin wires essentially connect a single neuron to every other neuron and are responsible for awareness. Think of consciousness as an overall agreement of the brain of what's happening to itself. Awareness does not equal understanding or focus so our prefrontal cortex is obviously very useful for that purpose of understanding concepts and putting them together etc using our memory.
If this is correct or partially correct, this would mean that higher intelligence is not necessary for consciousness but rather the degree of it. We love our pets and know they love us back as it just feels like they do. They seem aware of themselves and other animals around them as they can focus on us and on those things but completely fail at tons of logical tasks that we take for granted to various degrees.
Let's take this further. Imagine you are not aware you are on planet earth and not aware you are an animal of a certain species or not aware you are an individual being, then consciousness could be so minuscule as to essentially not matter or exist at all such that a fly is only aware of a good smell or the taste of food but that's it and it can only be aware of a very small concept at one time, such as danger or hunger but never piecing any of them together as a whole as it lacks the connections and memory to do so. There is some awareness there but very very insignificant to a human's awareness and arguably not at all compared to a human.
Therefore, assumptions assuming, other animals can have consciousness to a degree that we do as we have common ancestors and also have their own sensory perceptions that we do not possess such as 1000 times smell sensitivity or infrared or ultrasound. However, its the degree of understanding the world and our ability to recursively self-reflect far above other species that makes us unique but we still have that emotional bond with dogs, cats, monkeys etc. that are aware of us as we are aware of them on a more fundamental level. The ability to logically reason is our killer app, not that we are conscious.