Here at A Pup Above, we're passionate about what goes into our furry friends' bowls and deeply interested in understanding their behaviors and emotions. A question that often tugs at the heartstrings of dog owners is: do dogs cry? 

If they do, are they similar to human tears? Do they signify sadness, joy, or something entirely different? 

We'll dive into the science and sentiment behind a dog's eyes and tear production, uncovering what their tears can tell us about their health and emotions. So, if you’re looking to decode the mystery behind canine tears — read on!

Do Dogs Cry?

The sight of watery eyes in our canine companions often leads us to wonder, do dogs cry just like we do? While it's easy to anthropomorphize our pets, the truth about dog tears is a blend of biology and emotion. 

Unlike humans, dogs don't shed emotional tears. Their tear production is primarily physiological, not emotional. That said, recent studies suggest that dogs may have an increased tear production in emotionally charged situations, particularly during reunions with their owners. 

However, it's important to differentiate these from tears caused by medical conditions like blocked tear ducts or eye infections, which require veterinary attention. So, while your pooch might not cry in the human sense, their eyes do tell a story worth understanding.

Why Do Dogs Produce Tears?

Tears play a vital role in maintaining the health of your dog's eyes. They are nature's way of keeping the eyes clean and lubricated, ensuring clear vision and comfort. 

In dogs, tear production is a continuous process that helps to wash away dust and debris, protecting the eyes from infections and irritations. However, not all tear production is normal. 

Excessive tearing, known as epiphora, can signal underlying health issues. It's crucial for dog owners to observe their pet's eyes, noting any changes in tear volume or consistency. While a little tearfulness is normal, a sudden increase or persistent watery eyes warrant a closer look to ensure your pup's peepers stay healthy and happy.

So, Which Medical Issues Cause Dog Crying?

While dogs may not cry emotional tears as humans do, certain medical conditions can lead to an increase in tear production or the appearance of “crying.” Understanding these can help dog owners identify potential health issues and seek timely veterinary care. 

Here are some medical reasons why your dog might have watery eyes:

  • Blocked Tear Ducts: Like humans, dogs can experience blocked tear ducts. This condition prevents normal drainage of tears, leading to watery and irritated eyes.
  • Eye Infections: Infections in the eye can cause increased tear production, redness, and discomfort. Symptoms might include discharge and your dog pawing at their eyes.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions to environmental factors like pollen, dust, or certain foods can manifest as watery eyes, among other symptoms.
  • Scratched Cornea: A scratched cornea, possibly from a rough play session or a speck of dirt, can cause excessive tearing and pain.
  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, this condition can lead to redness, swelling, and increased tear production.
  • Entropion: This is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to irritate the eye, leading to increased tearing and discomfort.
  • Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca): Ironically, this condition can cause a watery eye appearance due to the body overcompensating for lack of adequate tear production.

Recognizing these signs and consulting with your vet can ensure that any underlying health issues are addressed, keeping yourpup'ss eyes as expressive and clear as their wagging tails. Remember, regular check-ups and staying observant of changes in your dog’s eyes are key to maintaining their eye health and overall well-being.

Do Dogs Feel Sadness?

Just because dogs don't cry emotional tears doesn't mean they don't experience sadness. In fact, our canine companions can feel a whole range of emotions, including forms of sorrow or distress. It's a topic that's fascinated dog owners and scientists alike, leading to numerous studies in animal behavior. 

Unlike humans, who express sadness through tears, dogs communicate their emotional states differently. Their feelings of sadness may arise due to various reasons, such as separation anxiety, changes in their environment, or even the loss of a companion. 

These emotions can be deeply felt, and while they might not manifest in tearful outbursts, they are expressed in ways that attentive dog owners can recognize and understand.

How Do Dogs Express Sadness?

Dogs have their unique ways of expressing sadness, and as their loving owners, it's important for us to recognize these signs. 

Here are some common ways dogs might show they're feeling down:

  • Body Language: Dogs might display lowered body posture, ears back, and a reluctance to engage in playful activities. A tail that's usually wagging might be down and still.
  • Vocalizations: A sad dog might whimper or howl more than usual, vocalizing their discomfort or unhappiness.
  • Behavioral Changes: Changes in regular behavior patterns, like a decreased appetite or a lack of interest in exercise, can be indicators of sadness.
  • Seeking Comfort: Dogs might seek more affection or be clingier when they're feeling upset.

Recognizing these signs helps us understand our dogs better and respond to their emotional needs. Whether it's through extra cuddles or a comforting bowl of our fresh, human-grade dog food, our response can greatly impact their emotional well-being.

Can Dogs Cry Tears of Joy?

Amidst the discussion of dogs' tears and emotions, a heartwarming question often arises: can dogs cry tears of joy? While the idea of our furry friends shedding tears of happiness during joyful reunions is endearing, current scientific understanding suggests that dogs do not cry tears of joy in the same way humans do. 

However, this doesn't mean they don't feel or express happiness. Dogs are well-known for displaying their joy through exuberant tail-wagging, playful barks, and affectionate behavior. 

In fact, studies have shown that dogs release oxytocin — the same hormone associated with love and happiness in humans — during positive interactions, such as when greeting their beloved owners or playing with familiar non-owners. So, while their joy might not be expressed through tears, it's certainly visible in their enthusiastic actions and loving demeanor.

How To Support Your Dog's Emotional Well-Being

At A Pup Above, we believe a happy dog is just as important as a healthy one. Supporting your dog's emotional well-being is a crucial aspect of pet care, and it's something we're deeply passionate about. 

Here are some tail-wagging tips to help your furry friend feel loved, secure, and joyful:

  • Engaging Play and Regular Exercise: Just like us, dogs need regular physical activity to keep their spirits high. Whether it's a game of fetch or a leisurely walk, these activities are vital for their mental and emotional health.
  • Quality Time Is Key: There's nothing quite like the bond between a dog and their owner. Spending quality time together, from quiet cuddles to adventurous outings, strengthens this bond and provides your pooch with the emotional security they crave.
  • Nutrition That Nourishes: Our commitment to providing fresh, human-grade meals isn't just about physical health. A proper diet plays a significant role in your dog's mood and overall well-being. When your dog's nutritional needs are met, they're more likely to be happy and content.
  • Training and Socialization: Training is all about communication. Clear and consistent training helps your dog understand their world better, reducing anxiety and building confidence. Plus, socializing with other dogs and people can be a great mood booster for your pooch.

A Final Word

In exploring the emotional world of our dogs, we've learned that while they may not cry tears as humans do, their feelings run deep. Their expressions of joy, sadness, and love are unique and heartfelt. 

At A Pup Above, we're committed to understanding these nuances and offering not just nutritious meals but also insights into the fascinating world of dog behavior and emotions. Whether it's through observing their body language or providing a comforting routine, we encourage you to connect with your furry friend on a deeper level. 

Together, let's cherish and nurture the special bond we share with our beloved dogs.


Can Dogs Cry? Do Dogs Cry Tears? | American Kennel Club

Increase of tear volume in dogs after reunion with owners is mediated by oxytocin | Current Biology

Do dogs cry ‘happy tears’ when reunited with owners? | Science

How to Know if Your Dog is Depressed | AKC