Can Dogs Cry? How to Interpret Tears Correctly

Dogs can get wet eyes too. But do they really cry because they are sad? How to correctly interpret your dog’s tears.

When a dog looks up wistfully and tears at the other person, you might think he is crying. But are dogs capable of shedding tears from grief? We clarify when dogs really get wet eyes.

Can dogs cry?

Of course dogs have feelings too. This includes sadness or joy. But neither these nor any other emotions lead to tears in dogs. They don’t cry like we humans do. Scientists believe that humans are the only species on earth that sheds tears because of their emotions. However, the purpose of this physical reaction is still unclear.

Correctly interpreting tears in dogs

Dogs don’t cry from sadness or joy. But they can also shed tears. Dogs, like humans, have tear ducts that keep the eye moist. The excess fluid is transported through the ducts into the nasal cavity. If that doesn’t work, the dog “cries”. You have to find out the reason for this.

These are the most common reasons why a dog’s eyes water:

In the case of conjunctivitis in dogs, the eyes usually also water. It looks like the dog is crying. The tear fluid can be clear to purulent-yellow. Swelling and redness are common with this condition. Have the dog examined by the vet.

If your dog’s eyes are inflamed or irritated, they are usually swollen and red. They often cry too. The tear fluid is then yellow, mucous or bloody. If the dog has inflamed eyes, it must be taken to the vet.

If the dog’s tear ducts are blocked, it is called an epiphora. The liquid can no longer drain and it looks like the dog is crying. Skin irritation often occurs due to the wet fur around the dog’s eyes. If the tear ducts remain clogged for a long time, the dog must go to the vet.

If the dog has a foreign object in its eye, it can appear as if it is crying. However, his body tries to flush out the foreign body with a lot of tears. If this does not succeed, it can injure the cornea, for example. You should definitely consult a veterinarian if the dog has something pointed in its eye or if it cannot get rid of the foreign object on its own.

Some allergies in dogs are noticeable through wet eyes. Even then, the dog doesn’t really cry. It is a physical reaction. Let the vet clarify what your dog is allergic to.

With glaucoma, the internal pressure of the eye is increased. If left untreated, this can lead to the dog going blind. The earlier the disease is detected, the greater the chance of recovery. Some affected dogs have watery eyes and the appearance of crying. Often the eye also itch and the animal is in pain. The vet can measure the internal pressure of the eye and thus make the diagnosis.

This is how dogs show sadness and pain

Dogs don’t cry because they’re sad. But you still know the feeling of “sadness”. Even puppies show it when they are not doing well. They whine and howl loudly when they want to go to their mother, when they are hungry or when they need something else. Even adult dogs howl when they feel left alone.

People often cry when they are in pain. Dogs show that something is hurting them in a very different way. These behaviors indicate your dog is in pain:

  • The dog refuses the food.
  • The dog avoids doing its business.
  • The dog retreats.
  • The dog breathes faster and deeper than usual.
  • The dog does not want to be touched.
  • The dog looks tense.

Don’t humanize your dog

We, humans, tend to ascribe certain human characteristics and feelings to our dogs. For example, many believe that a dog who breaks something feels guilty. The fact that he makes himself small and looks guilty is considered by some to be clear evidence of a bad conscience. However, a study by Alexandra Horowitz from Barnard College in New York showed that dogs simply react to the owner’s irritation.

It is important that you know and understands your dog’s body language signals. This also includes knowing that dogs cannot cry out of grief. Tears in your dog’s eyes have a physical cause. In most cases, this should be treated by a veterinarian.

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