Do Dogs Cry? (The Truth Behind Dog Tears!)

Do Dogs Cry?
Written by Graeme Hall

You’ve just got back from work and discovered that your canine buddy has destroyed your new three-piece sofa set, you're livid, fuming, lost for words and your dog knows it! But, before you have time to scold him even further you notice that your dog is crying! Hold on a minute... do dogs cry?

Any Doggytastic! dog lover will tell you that dogs are probably among some of the most emotional animals around but can dog's actually cry real tears. According to Stanley Coren, a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, dogs have the ability to feel up to several emotions such as fear, joy, anger, and disgust.

But are those dogs tears really tears or could those watery eyes be something else altogether? Read on to discover the truth about dog tears.

Can Dogs Cry Real Tears?

To answer do dogs cry, isn't as straightforward as you might think and there are a couple of answers. The breed of your dog can play a role in whether they have over excessive watery eyes, however, this extra moisture doesn't necessarily mean your pooch is emotionally crying.

Humans, for example, get teary eyes when they get emotional, dogs, on the other hand, cry for a different reason, and it’s not because they’re sad.

Dogs typically cry because they are having problems in their eyes - it’s not because they're sad or emotional, but their eyes are doing what they're supposed to do, cleaning the eye of dirt and grime or the eyes could water for other reasons (more on that below). 

This doesn’t mean that your dog is incapable of expressing sadness to you. In fact, a dog's way of showing sadness or emotion is through whimpering.

I’m sure you've all heard your furry soulmate whimpering before (I bet he was when you scolded him from destroying your new three-piece sofa set!). This emotional sound from your dog can mean a lot of different things, and it's up to you as the owner to determine and understand why the noise is being made, you know your pooch better than anyone else if he's whimpering he’s got something to say!

what do dog tears mean

For example, your canine buddy might make this strange emotional sound because he wants you to open the door, it could be due to sadness or anxiety your even sickness - but this is your dog’s way of crying.

If your dog is crying and/or cowering in a corner for long periods of time and you cannot find the cause of your pups crying, it’s best to get your buddy checked over by a vet as soon as you can. He or she should be able to determine exactly why your dog is crying and making the whining sound.

Why Does My Dog Cry (Some Possible Reasons)

Now you understand that dogs don't cry like people but show their emotions by whimpering what could be the real cause for your pups crying. Let’s take a closer look at some reasons why your dog has tears.

1. Blocked Tear Ducts

Having blocked tear ducts is typically the number reason that dogs cry. When the tear ducts become blocked the eyes quickly fill up, and tears will flow from your dog’s eyes. In fact, there's actually a medical term for this eye discharge called Epiphora.

An easy way to tell if your dog is suffering from Epiphora is to gently feel the fur around the eye, if it’s overly damp there's a good chance your dog has this condition. If your canine buddy has been suffering from Epiphora for some time, you may even notice skin irritation due to the skin being constantly damp.

If you think your dog crying could be Epiphora make an appointment with your local veterinarian so they can offer help and make a proper diagnosis.

2. Allergies

Dog’s can cry because they have allergies, yes, dogs can get allergies just like us! If your dog has an allergy to dust, pollen, smoke, dust, and even certain food ingredients, it can cause your pup's eyes to be excessively watery.

If you think your pooch has allergies, it’s best to book an appointment with your vet so they can carry out a few tests to figure out exactly what's causing your dog's tears.

3. Scratched Cornea

If you have an overly active dog, you may find that he occasionally gets a scratched cornea which can cause your dog to cry tears, especially if he’s always running through long grass, thick bush or playing rough with other dogs.

Apart from the dog tears, you may also notice it inflames the eye in question, and your pooch might try to rub it with their paw constantly. If this sounds like your dog, it’s best to get your furry buddy checked out by your veterinarian.

4. Infection

Some dog's cry if they have an eye infection. Signs that your pooch has an infection could be an irritated or swollen eye area, or you may notice that your dog’s tears are yellow, bloody, or you might see mucus in the corner of the eyes.

If your dog is crying and showing any of these symptoms, it could be the sign of something serious, and you should get your pooch to your vet as soon as possible.

5. Dirt or Grime

If your dog loves to roll around in the garden, you may find that he is often crying. On this occasion if your dog is crying tears it's nothing really to worry about as it could just be the eye trying to clean out any specs of dirt or grime that has become lodged while your pooch was rolling around.

If this is the case, the dog tears should stop once someone has removed the debris. However, with that said if your dog is crying for an extended period you may have to bring your pooch to the vets to get their eye/s cleaned (this isn't something you should try yourself, you could make the problem worse).

Cry Look Animal Puppy Pet Dog Eye Sad Animals

Weepy Eyes In Dogs (Epiphora Explained)

I briefly talked about Epiphora above, but because it's such a common reason why your dog is crying I thought I would cover this a little more. Even though Epiphora is a common cause or dog tears, it can also look similar to other issues that can cause your dog to become teary-eyed.

For example, your pooch is maybe suffering from sinusitis, which is a condition in dogs because of inflamed sinuses. There are many reasons your dog's sinuses become inflamed from conjunctivitis to dirt and grime.

A congenital defect in dogs which can cause issues with the eyelid and the tear drainage system which can make your dog crying more prevalent can also cause epiphora. Some breeds are more susceptible to this condition such as Bulldogs, Poodles, and Spaniels.

When Should You Be Worried About Dog Crying?

As scary as Epiphora sounds it's fairly common and your K9 buddy probably doesn't even realize it's an issue can happily coexist with the condition. With that said, sometimes your dog's watery eyes should be looked at by a veterinarian.

If the tears seem to never stop, there may be an underlying problem such as something blocking the eyes and you should get your pooch checked out.

As I briefly mentioned above in my list of possible reasons of dog tears - if you notice that your dog's eyes are not clear or the eyes have mucus present, are swollen or inflamed you should get your pooch checked over by a vet.

Do dogs cry? YES, but it’s not what you think. Pay more attention to your dog's whimpering - that's their way of crying, and trying to express their emotion!

Dog lover get more content like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our Doggytastic! mailing list and get dog stuff directly to your email inbox.

Dog lover thank you for subscribing you'll hear from us soon!

Whoops! Something went wrong.

About the author

Graeme Hall

Graeme is the founder of Doggytastic! which is where he blogs about dog training, health, nutrition and anything else related to keeping a dog happy and healthy. Want to know a little bit more? Make sure to check out his full bio.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!