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Does my dog know if I cry?

Does my dog know if I cry?

Dogs are known for being highly empathetic creatures and have the ability to pick up on human emotions. Their acute sense of smell, hearing, and sight enables them to recognize subtle changes in body language, tone of voice and scent which can indicate whether their owner is experiencing an emotional event such as crying.

Several studies have shown that dogs can distinguish between different human emotions including happiness, anger, and sadness. When a human cries in the presence of a dog, the dog often responds with a range of behaviors such as approaching them with a gentle nuzzle, licking their tears, or snuggling up close for comfort.

Dogs may also modify their behavior to match the emotional state of their owners. For instance, if their owner is feeling down or depressed, the dog may become more subdued and less energetic. Some dogs have also been known to follow their owners and offer physical comfort during a crying episode.

It is important to note that not all dogs respond the same way to emotional events. Some may not react at all or may express their empathy in different ways. Additionally, the bond between the dog and their owner may also play a role in how the dog responds to their emotions.

There is evidence to suggest that dogs can indeed recognize when their owners are crying and respond with empathy and comfort. However, as with all animal behavior, there can be individual variation and other factors that may impact a dog’s response to their owner’s emotional state.

Can dogs tell when you’re emotional?

Yes, dogs can tell when you’re emotional. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, hearing, and sight, which allows them to pick up on various changes in your body language, tone of voice, and behavior. When you’re feeling emotional, your body will emit different scents and produce distinctive sounds that your dog can detect.

They are incredibly intuitive animals that are always alert to the changes in their environment and the behavior of their owners.

There are several ways that dogs can tell when you’re emotional. Firstly, they can recognize changes in your tone of voice. When you’re happy, you have a different tone of voice than when you’re sad or upset. Dogs have an excellent sense of hearing, which allows them to pick up on these subtle differences in your voice.

They can hear the tone and pitch of your voice, and they can also detect the inflection and rhythm of your speech.

Secondly, dogs can observe your body language and facial expressions. When you’re emotional, your facial expressions will change, and your body language will also be different. Dogs are highly skilled at reading human body language, so they can tell when you’re upset, anxious, or stressed. They can pick up on your movements and behavior, and they can often sense when you’re upset before you even realize it yourself.

Lastly, dogs can also detect changes in your scent. When you’re feeling emotional, your body will produce different chemical signals that dogs can pick up on. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, which is much more powerful than ours. They can detect several different substances that our noses can’t, including pheromones, hormones, and other chemicals that are related to our emotional well-being.

Dogs are incredibly perceptive animals that can detect changes in your body language, tone of voice, and behavior. They are highly intuitive creatures that are always alert to their environment and the behavior of their owners. Therefore, it’s not surprising that dogs can tell when you’re emotional.

They are loyal companions that are always there to comfort you when you need it most, and they can detect changes in your emotional state before anyone else can.

Can dogs sense suicidal thoughts?

There is some evidence to suggest that dogs can sense changes in behavior and mood in their owners, including when their owners are experiencing feelings of sadness or depression. While dogs are not able to understand human language, they are highly attuned to human body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

They are also able to pick up on subtle changes in scent and may be able to detect changes in the chemicals emitted by a person’s body when they are feeling anxious, sad, or stressed.

However, the idea that dogs can specifically sense suicidal thoughts in their owners is not backed up by scientific evidence. While there are many anecdotal accounts of dogs preventing suicide attempts or acting in a protective manner when their owners are in distress, it is difficult to say whether these actions are based on an actual detection of suicidal thoughts or simply a response to changes in behavior and mood.

It is important to note that if someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, it is important for them to seek professional help from a mental health provider. While dogs can provide emotional support and companionship, they are not substitutes for professional treatment. Additionally, it is important for loved ones and caregivers to be on the lookout for signs of suicidal behavior and to take appropriate action, such as seeking emergency medical attention, if necessary.

While dogs are highly attuned to their owners’ moods and behaviors, there is no established scientific evidence to suggest that they can specifically sense suicidal thoughts. If someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, it is important to seek professional help from a mental health provider.

Why do dogs lick your face when you cry?

Dogs have been known for their incredible ability to sense different emotions in their humans. They have an innate ability to read body language, facial expressions, and even smell changes in emotional and physical states. Hence, when they see their owner crying, they feel the need to comfort them in the best way they know-how.

In such a situation, dogs tend to lick their owner’s face when they cry because licking is an instinctual behavior for canines that begins when they are newborns. Puppies use licking as a means of communication with their mothers, as well as to stimulate milk production. Therefore, when an adult dog licks your face as you cry, they might be trying to communicate that they are here for you and that they want to comfort you as if you were their own pups.

In addition to this, dogs’ licking also releases endorphins, which make both the dog and their owner feel better. Endorphins are hormones that promote feelings of happiness, pleasure, and comfort. Therefore, when they lick your face as you cry, they release these “feel-good” hormones, helping to calm you down and make you feel better.

Moreover, dogs also have a heightened sense of smell, which makes them excellent at detecting changes in their owner’s body chemistry. When someone cries, their body releases chemicals such as cortisol, which has a different scent than usual. Dogs can pick up on this scent and instinctively want to help their owner by soothing them through licking.

Dogs are incredibly intuitive and perceptive animals that have an innate ability to sense our emotions and respond to them in remarkable ways. When we cry, they show us love and compassion by licking our faces, releasing endorphins, and trying to ease our discomfort. As much as we provide for them, dogs give back in numerous ways, often exceeding our expectations.

Do dogs worry about their owners?

But based on scientific research and observations, it has been found that dogs tend to form strong bonds with their owners and they are capable of exhibiting emotions, such as joy, sadness, anger, and fear, just like humans. With that being said, it is possible that dogs could worry about their owners, particularly when they sense something wrong or when their owners are under stress or showing signs of distress.

Additionally, dogs are known to be intuitive creatures and can pick up on subtle changes in a person’s body language or behavior, which could cause them to worry or become anxious.

In several instances, there have been reports of dogs initiating lifesaving rescue efforts for their owners in distress. These cases suggest that dogs not only recognize when something is wrong but also act appropriately to help their owners. Research also suggests that when dogs are separated from their owners or left alone for extended periods, they can show signs of anxiety, indicating that they are worried about the well-being of their owners.

Moreover, when an owner shows signs of worry or anxiety, a dog can pick up on those emotions are bound to mimic those emotions. For instance, a study conducted by the University of Oslo found that dogs exhibited higher levels of distress when their owners displayed worrying behaviors than when they acted calmly.

Furthermore, dogs can sense their owners’ emotions and respond to them accordingly.

While it is difficult to gauge precisely whether dogs worry about their owners, there is enough scientific evidence to suggest that they form strong bonds with their owners and can recognize subtle changes in their behaviors or moods, leading to empathy towards their owners. So dogs can be concerned about their owners in some way or another, both through their own independent intuition and how their owners’ emotions and behaviors may impact their beloved furry companions.

Do dogs understand when humans cry?

Dogs are highly social animals and have unique abilities to perceive human emotions. Multiple studies have shown that dogs have the cognitive skills to recognize human facial expressions and body language, which allows them to interpret the emotional state of their owners.

When it comes to crying, studies have shown that dogs exhibit empathy towards their owners. This empathy allows dogs to pick up on the emotional distress their owners are feeling when they are crying. Dogs may even approach their owners when they are crying to offer comfort, such as nuzzling their owners or licking their tears.

Scientific research has revealed that dogs have a strong sense of attachment to their owners and can detect changes in their owners’ emotions. The emotional intelligence and social ability of dogs make them ideal companions and emotional support animals for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, it is important to note that not all dogs may exhibit the same response towards their owners when they cry. Some dogs may not recognize or respond to their owners’ emotions, while others may become aggressive or anxious when their owners are upset. The reaction of dogs towards their owners when they cry may depend on several factors, such as breed, age, temperament, and past experiences.

Dogs have shown to possess the ability to understand when their owners cry, and the empathy that they exhibit towards them is a testament to their emotional intelligence and devotion to their owners. The bond between a dog and its owner is unique and goes beyond the physical and material aspects. Dogs offer their owners a sense of emotional support and companionship, which makes them valuable pets and essential members of many households.

Can my dog sense when I’m sad?

One of the most critical roles that dogs have in human lives is their ability to provide emotional support, and this is because they are incredibly attuned to picking up on various signs of human emotions. For example, dogs can read body language and facial expressions, and they correlate these with emotions.

Sadness is known to cause physiological changes in humans and can lead to changes in body language and facial expressions. Thus, dogs who are trained or have learned to interpret human emotions can pick up on these cues.

Moreover, dogs have an acute sense of smell and can detect chemical changes that occur in the bodies of humans when they are experiencing emotional states. For instance, when humans are anxious or stressed, their body produces higher amounts of cortisol, which dogs can sense through chemical changes in their owner’s sweat or breath.

Dogs are also known to be very sensitive to their owner’s tone of voice and pitch, and this too can contribute to their ability to sense when their owner is upset or sad. In general, dogs are observant animals and can pick up on the slightest changes in their surroundings, including their owner’s emotional state.

While dogs cannot communicate in human language, they are excellent at reading humans’ emotional states and can sense their owner’s sadness through various cues such as body language, facial expressions, chemical changes in the body, and tone of voice. Hence, if you feel down, your furry friend will be there to comfort and support you in their unique and effective way.

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Can Dogs Sense Sadness?

Humans do things like crying or ‘moping around’ when we are sad or depressed.

Children will actually shake sometimes or throw tantrums when they are sad.

In many cases, we just assume that canines have the same set and spectrum of emotions like we do.

Science has proven that dogs can’t be spiteful, for example, and yet many people believe their dog relieved himself on the floor on purpose.

So, can dogs sense sadness? Do they know when we are feeling depressed, sorrowful, dejected, or downhearted?

Or are we just anthropomorphizing our dogs?

Can Dogs Sense When You Are Sad?

Yes, dogs sense when you are sad and are usually very aware of most other emotions.

They can tell when we humans aren’t feeling optimistic, out of sorts, or downright miserable.

It isn’t some mystical aura of emotion we give off or a strange and mysterious mental connection you share with your dog.

There is no all-powerful magic that allows emotions to flow from human owner to dog either.

Still, our dogs can absolutely sense when we are sad, often better than we can sense the sadness in each other. But how do they do it then?

Our dogs sense sadness because they can sense the changes that occur because of it.

The following statement is probably more accurate: Our dogs can sense change (not emotion).

Our Dogs Read Body Language

Unlike you or I, dogs don’t talk in a spoken language to each other.

They will send vocal signals through barks, whines, yips, snarls, or yelps, and wolves do use an intricate system of howling to express various things.

However, these sounds still aren’t used as a canine’s main form of communication.

Dogs communicate mainly through a set of visual cues. In fact, their bodies are designed for it.

A dog’s tail acts as an antenna, immediately letting other animals know their state of mind based on tail position.

His ears, eyes, posture, and even a dog’s fur itself can be used to send signals.

If you’re curious exactly what your dog’s tail positioning means, head on over to ‘Dog Tail Down or Up And Stiff? Dog Tail Meaning Explained!’.

A careful observer will be able to tell exactly how a dog is feeling about any given situation in the fraction of a split second it takes signals to travel along our optic nerves to the visual cortex in our brains for interpretation.

To most dog owners, this happens as naturally as breathing.

We rarely put any conscious thought into it at all.

If we can learn to easily read a dog’s visual communication so well, how natural do you think it is for the dogs themselves?

They’re constantly observing.

A dog looks like he sense discomfort while a human holds the dog

You might say dogs know their owners better than they know themselves.

Your dog is constantly watching you for even the slightest visual change.

They are always reading our emotions, constantly tracking our movements.

If there is anything out of the ordinary, or we carry ourselves differently somehow, they want to know what it means for them.

If we are showing signs of anger or frustration with this video game or after that phone call, our dogs almost always know to keep their distance.

If you have a gamer friend, for example, take note of the ways his dog reacts.

They also follow our gestures if we point somewhere and there have been experiments where seemingly more resourceful wolves lost against domesticated dogs since they knew that following the human’s finger = reward.

Pheromones of sadness.

We all know dogs enjoy one of the most powerful senses of smell of all land animals.

The few animals with stronger olfactory senses will never be capable of a dog’s empathy, so they might as well enjoy the strongest sense of smell.

Many scientists think we might secrete pheromones depending on our emotional mindset.

Whereas our tears are odorless to us, a dog will absolutely be able to detect the sugar and sodium in them.

Not only can dogs easily detect subtle changes in the visual cues we give off, but they can also probably smell certain changes in emotion.

There’s a reason why people want to hire animal communicators to lay a bridge to their dogs.

However, reading their mind is simple than you might think.

How Do Dogs Comfort You When You Are Sad?

Imagine yourself sobbing or hunched over in the kind of submissive posture we display when depressed.

Your furry little cuddle buddy notices this change in your behavior and lies down next to you on the couch.

Simply by sitting there with us, perhaps offering the swipe of a cool, wet tongue, our cherished companions are offering the much-needed comfort that companionship provides.

Just like dogs, we humans thrive on companionship (most of us).

The mere presence of another living empathetic creature we can cuddle up next to provides a strong sense of security.

We want to offer our dogs attention when they approach, especially when we are sad.

That feeling of loving devotion helps console us in our times of sadness.

“It’s possible that dogs learn to approach crying people because their owners give them affection when they do, the researchers wrote.”

LiveScience – Canine Comfort: Do Dogs Know When You’re Sad?

This is a slightly more complicated question, and the answer would depend on how each person reacts to sadness.

Your dog might become upset when you cry, but not sad from a human’s perspective.

We have learned a lot about canine social behavior.

Highly educated biologists have spent endless hours detailing the countless minute habits of our canine friends.

That being said, we can make a very general determination.

Dogs will react to our emotions based on what they get out of them.

Keep an eye out for negative emotions.

For example, certain people might become very confrontational, screaming, or displaying signs of physical aggression when extremely sad.

These intense human reactions are going to give dogs anxiety, causing them to avoid us for fear of our own outward aggression.

Your dog would absolutely become upset in these situations.

Consider the example of a screaming match with a significant other, causing intense crying.

Many dogs become extremely anxious, even to the point of visibly shaking, when owners scream at each other.

They’ve likely learned to fear potential outcomes, such as the owner venting frustration by screaming at them.

Sadly, some dogs have simply learned to fear their owner’s emotional imbalances.

They’ll either try to escape the situation, make themselves seem as small and non-threatening as possible, or react defensively themselves.

What behavioral changes do you see in your dog when you are feeling sad or depressed, as opposed to happy and cheerful?

So, canines do learn to avoid angry people. How good for them.

They can be defensive of their human parent.

Your dog might also see physical vulnerability in your sadness.

Thinking their human family member could be facing a potential threat to their well-being, your pet could show aggression to the instigator.

Have you ever either noticed your own dog or heard of a friend’s dog growl as one human yelled at another?

Dog rests closely next to owner on the bed.

Beneficial companionship is also possible.

Consider the opposite scenario.

You thrive off your dog’s companionship, offering plenty of attention, pets, scratches, and praise.

Your signs of sadness would let your dog know he has something to gain from your companionship.

He would want to be around you, and wouldn’t become upset at all when you cry.

Do you become very depressed when you cry, closing yourself off away from your dog?

Your dog would be upset because he knows he is about to become an afterthought.

With all things considered, your dog becomes upset when you cry because it doesn’t mean good outcomes for him.

If you only want the absolute best relationship with your furry companion, check out ‘The Right Way to Bond With Your Dog’.

Do Dogs Reflect their Owner’s Emotions?

You already know dogs are able to read our emotions or reactions extremely well.

They chose how to judge a certain situation based on how we seem to perceive it.

If we seem scared, shaky, or frightened, our dogs will automatically know something is wrong.

For example, if something seems to have us visibly frightened, they will know something isn’t safe and either become anxious or defensive.

Dogs don’t always reflect our emotions as much as respond to our emotions.

But I’ve Seen My Dog Cry!

You might have actually seen tears from around your dog’s eyes.

You probably thought this was either a spectacular show of empathy or extremely sad.

Posts of crying mother dogs are especially popular on social media outlets for the gut-wrenching emotions they make you feel.

Not even the author always knows these are misleading.

Though it might be disappointing, dogs are in fact physically incapable of shedding an emotional waterfall, no matter how depressed or anxious they may be.

In a physiological sense, their bodies just don’t work this way.

Dogs don’t express sadness through tears, but they do have lacrimal glands that produce tears as a method of lubrication, just like us.

A normally functioning canine tear duct shouldn’t produce so much moisture they appear to cry.

To veterinarians, epiphora describes an overflow of tears from the eyes and can be associated with several possible eye problems in dogs.

According to VCA hospitals “The most common cause of insufficient tear drainage is a blockage of the nasolacrimal ducts or poor eyelid function due to a deformity”.

So look out for your canine if he seems to cry.

Can Dogs Sense Grief?

Dogs are very much able to notice grief through the body language cues we give off, changes in tone of voice, and smells only a dog would notice.

Our dogs can usually tell if there is a big problem or not based on how we react to it.

If we are grieving the loss of a loved one that also meant a lot to our dog, for example, studies show they won’t just sense our grief but grieve themselves.

This is a drastic change in their lives because they also just lost someone very important to them.

This makes perfect sense from a psychological perspective.

The dog also feels distressed towards this undesirable change that means discomfort (or less comfort, uncomfortable anxiety) to them.

Dogs mourning alongside their owners is a common denominator and not all too rare sight (although we all hope that it’ll never come to that).

Can we hide our grief?

Only humans that are extremely good at internalizing emotions are able to mask grief from their dogs.

If you’re able to express a consistently happy, joyful persona on the outside while sad or depressed on the inside, your dog probably won’t know the difference.

You would have to be very good at maintaining a visual body language constant, or your dog will detect a change and know something is up.

Any change in behavior will alert our dogs to potential problems.

We don’t yet know the full extent of our dog’s ability to smell changes in our body chemistry.

Dogs are being trained in medical settings to ‘smell’ abnormalities, alerting physicians faster than human detection methods, so this is a natural conclusion.

“Dogs are most famously known for detecting cancer. They can be trained to sniff out a variety of types including skin cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer using samples from known cancer patients and people without cancer.”


The age-old expression we’ve all heard ‘The dog can smell your fear’ probably has more truth to it than we realize.

A dog’s nose is really quite amazing.

Next time you have a heated argument or you’re grieving, think about the implications this can have for your dog as they might share your pain unintentionally.

Dogs are sensitive beings and a real treasure we should preserve by trying to keep them happy as much of the time as possible.

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Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Do dogs cry?

dog cries tears

Humans cry tears of sadness, pain, and happiness, but our canine companions express their emotions a little differently than we do. Dogs are known for their ability to bond with their humans and can express a range of emotions using vocalizations and body language. They make noises that sound a lot like crying to us, and sometimes produce tears, but do dogs cry?

Table of contents

  • Do dogs cry tears?
  • Crying vocalizations in dogs
  • Why is my dog crying?
  • What are some other signs that my dog is sad?
  • Why do dogs produce tears?
  • Do dogs cry happy tears?
  • Bottom line

Do dogs cry tears?

When we talk about crying, we are often referring to the production of tears from the eyes that result from strong emotions, whether it be sadness, distress, or happiness. People often humanize the emotions and behaviors of dogs. But dogs do not express these emotions the same way we do, so any discharge around your dog’s eyes is not likely from them crying.

Similar to humans, dogs’ eyes produce tears to keep them clean, protected, and lubricated. Your dog’s tears function to keep the eyes comfortable and clear of discharge. However, canine tear ducts are structured differently, draining back into the nasal cavity rather than dripping from the eye. If you do notice brown or reddish stains under your dog’s eyes, or see discharge in this area, it’s more likely that something else is going on and they are not actually crying.

Crying vocalizations in dogs

Although they do not produce tears to express emotion, dogs can cry in other ways, including vocalizations, body language, and other behaviors. When it comes to those sad-sounding noises we often refer to as crying, your dog is most likely trying to express excitement, frustration, stress, or discomfort. They could also be seeking attention or communicating sadness.

Audibly, a crying dog may whine, whimper, or howl. The pitch and volume of these sounds can range from soft and subtle to loud and insistent, and can indicate a range of emotions from sadness and distress to excitement or a desire for attention.

Whimpering and whining is one of the first ways dogs learn to communicate. Puppies instinctually use this noise to cry out for their mother. As adult animals, they may continue to use whimpering to communicate with you, particularly if you are responsive to it.

Why is my dog crying?

Hearing your dog cry out as a result of an unpleasant emotion is difficult for pet parents. Understanding why your dog is crying can help you address the issue.


One of the most common reasons that dogs cry is due to physical discomfort. If a dog is injured or otherwise experiencing discomfort, they may cry out in distress. This can also occur if a dog is experiencing digestive issues, such as an upset stomach, or if they are overheating or too cold.

Check your dog’s body for any visible signs of injury and monitor for symptoms of illness, like lethargy, fever, or vomiting. Limping due to joint discomfort is often accompanied by crying, whimpering, or sharp yelps. ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA can offer support for dogs experiencing joint discomfort by modulating their inflammatory response and perception of discomfort.

Stress and depression

Dogs may also cry due to stress. For example, separation-related stress is a common issue for dogs who have formed strong bonds with their humans. In these cases, a dog may cry or howl when their owner leaves the home, or may become destructive or distressed if left alone for extended periods of time.

Dogs are also very attuned to their people and their emotions. If you are experiencing stress, sadness, grief, or depression, there is a good chance your dog has picked up on it. Dogs are not immune to negative emotions—they are capable of feeling sad when a family member moves away or lonely and bored when they are not given socialization opportunities.

Fortunately, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA works extremely well for helping dogs with stress. Whether it’s daily, generalized stress or acute, situational stress, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA calms without sedating, helping dogs safely handle stressful situations, reduce their stress response over time, and support their overall well-being.

Seeking attention

In some cases, dogs may cry simply to get attention. This can occur if a dog is bored, needs to burn energy, wants to play, or is seeking affection. In these cases, the cries may be accompanied by other physical behaviors, such as barking, jumping, or pawing at you. Making sure your dog has ample exercise and both mental and physical stimulation is the best way to avoid attention-seeking behaviors.


Dogs also communicate pleasure, happiness, and excitement through their vocalizations. This can be confusing, as whimpering and whining are most commonly associated with negative emotions. The American Kennel Club points out that the difference is that an unhappy whine rises in pitch toward the end of the sound, whereas an excited vocalization either drops in pitch toward the end of the sound or does not change in pitch.

In dogs, crying out of happiness in dogs may look like:

  • Loud vocalizations, such as barking and whining
  • Relaxed but excited body wiggles
  • Jumping on you, or hopping around
  • Wagging tail
  • Lots of eye contact
  • Attempts to lick your face

What are some other signs that my dog is sad?

Because dogs don’t cry like we do and can’t verbally communicate in the same language, it is important for dog owners to use other signals to recognize when their pet is sad or stressed. In addition to whining and whimpering vocalizations discussed above, other signs that your dog may be sad or stressed can include:

  • Sudden drop in energy
  • Squinted eyes
  • Less excitement around their favorite things like treats or toys
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Hiding or retreating to their “safe place”
  • Asking for extra snuggles, comfort, and affection
  • Ignoring you, refusing to make eye contact, not listening to commands, and other avoidant body language

Why do dogs produce tears?

So, dogs don’t cry and produce tears when they’re sad like humans do, but they definitely produce tears. Most dog parents are familiar with discharge coming out of their dog’s eyes and even the brown or reddish stains that can develop under their eyes. If they’re not crying, why do dogs produce these tears?

Epiphora refers to an overflow of tears from the eyes. Normally, a thin film of tears is produced to lubricate the eyes and the excess fluid drains into tear ducts, which then drain into the back of the nose and the throat. Dogs can experience epiphora when there is insufficient tear drainage. If your dog appears to be crying tears, that may be a result of:

  • Allergies – Just like humans, dogs can suffer from all kinds of allergies to pollen, food ingredients, dust, or other environmental allergens. Reactions often include overproduction of tears or watery eyes.
  • Blocked tear duct – There are several reasons a dog’s tear ducts can become blocked, including hereditary defects, inflammation and infection of the duct or surrounding tissue, or a foreign object stuck in the eye.
  • Infection – Your dog may be crying tears because they have developed an eye infection. Tears in the case, however, are more likely to be yellow mucus or even bloody, and the infected eye will likely be swollen and red.
  • Foreign object – Dogs often get dirt, dust, or other foreign materials in their eyes. In response, their bodies may produce a lot of tears in an attempt to flush out the irritant.
  • Scratched cornea – Although more common in active dogs, all dogs are at risk of scratching their eyes. This can cause severe discomfort and damage to a dog’s cornea, and dogs may tear excessively, paw at their eye, blink more than usual, or have inflammation around the eye.
  • Breed – Brachycephalic dogs with short noses like Pugs and French bulldogs have relatively shallow eye sockets and the wrinkles around their faces can easily become irritated or infected, both of which can lead to increased tear production. Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are also more likely than other breeds to suffer from blocked tear ducts.

Do dogs cry happy tears?

We’ve established that dogs do not cry tears of sadness like humans do, but what about happy tears?

A 2022 study published in Current Biology found that when dogs were reunited with their owners after spending 5-7 hours apart, they produced increased amounts of tears. Additionally, when the dogs were greeted by familiar non-owners like friends, researchers found significantly decreased tear volume. These “happy tears” are likely a result of the release of the bonding “love” hormone, oxytocin.

Bottom line

Dogs cry for a variety of reasons, using vocalizations, behavior, and body language to communicate physical discomfort, sadness, stress, a desire for attention, and other emotions. But these feelings do not prompt flowing tears like they sometimes do for humans. Understanding how our cries differ from our dogs’ cries is important to identifying what might be bothering our dogs and addressing their issues.


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