Can Dogs Cry?

Can Dogs Cry?

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You don’t have to be an animal expert to know that dogs have emotions and feelings just like us.

Just think about it: when they see us for the first time after a long day at work, they greet us with a wagging tail and plenty of excitement, and when they can’t have our leftovers, our furry friends can even sulk! 

It’s a similar affair when it comes to sadness. From time to time, we’ve probably all caught our dogs looking forlorn with glassy-looking eyes – but does that then mean that they’re crying? If you’re currently asking yourself this question, then you’ve clicked on the right article.

Even though dogs can quite often experience feelings of sadness and other types of emotional pain, it is widely considered that dogs cannot cry in the same way that we humans do.

Fun fact: humans are the only species on earth that cry tears when experiencing pain, whether emotional and physical.

Nevertheless, this article is going to take a deep dive look into the question of whether or not dogs can cry, as well as explore some potential reasons behind puppy tears.

Along the way, we’ll also talk you through some of the other ways that dogs commonly display sadness, so that you will be able to read your pup’s body language more easily. 

Do Dogs Cry? 

Technically speaking, dogs do cry, although it’s likely not because of sadness. Like us, dogs have tear ducts, and these are used to keep the eyes clean and free from any junk and debris.

In addition to that, unlike humans, the tear ducts in dogs work by draining water back into the nasal cavity, which means that tears running down the face should never be seen in healthy dogs.

For this reason, if you’re noticing that your dog’s eyes are frequently streaming which are causing you to wonder whether or not your pup is crying, then it will likely be down to the following reasons:

  • Allergies
  • Irritation to the eye
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Damage to the eye

So, if you’re noticing that your dog’s eyes are watering, then we recommend that you immediately check out your dog’s eyes so that you can inspect whether or not there’s something in your dog’s eye.

However, if you can’t see any potential irritants across the surface of your dog’s eyes, then we recommend scheduling a visit with your dog’s veterinarian, as they will be able to then take a closer look at your dog’s eye and provide a solution.

So, How Do Dogs Express Emotional Pain?

So, now that you know that dogs don’t cry to express their emotions, is there any other way that dogs choose to express sadness?

Well, as it turns out, there’s a variety of ways that dogs are able to express emotional pain, and the key to being able to understand your dog’s needs is by learning to understand your dog’s body language.

Let’s take a look:

Just like human babies, puppies very quickly learn how to express their emotions by crying or whimpering to get attention.

In addition to this, puppies and young dogs will learn to frequently vocalize to their mothers or owners when they are cold, hungry, or in need of some affection – and this is a behavior that will follow them throughout their lives as they grow to become an adult dog. 

However, unique puppies who will vocalize quite frequently as and when they need something, it is far less likely that an adult dog will do this. Instead, an adult dog will most likely whimper and whine when they are trying to communicate excitement, hunger, or of course, feelings of sadness.

So, if you’re noticing that your dog is vocalizing more frequently than usual, then you should also analyze any other visual cues that your dog is providing, as this will help you to make a better judgment as to what your dog might be feeling.

Generally speaking, more often than not, if your dog is whimpering or barking, then it is usually to get your attention to play or give them food.

Dogs will usually bark or whine because they are excited to greet a visitor or go on a walk, and can sometimes even whimper because they are trying to communicate to their owner that they are in need of belly tickles.

However, there are instances in which a dog may vocalize in order to display signs of sadness and distress, so it’s important to make sure that you are keeping a close eye on additional behaviors that your dog is displaying. 

As an example, if your dog is whimpering/whining and you also notice that their tail is pointing downwards and close to the body, then this is a sign that your dog is distressed and potentially in pain.

In addition to this, if you’re noticing a lack of energy and/or your dog is sleeping a lot more frequently than usual with a lower desire to play or go on walks, then this is another surefire indicator that your dog might be feeling sad or even depressed. 

If you are getting the impression that your dog is displaying emotional pain, then it’s very important to try to get to the root cause of the issue.

This could be anything from a change in your dog’s environment to missing a member of the family, however, if you’re noticing that your dog’s emotional distress is persisting – then we strongly recommend taking your dog to your veterinarian, who will be able to assess the situation further.