Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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Do Dogs Cry?

Sep 3 ·

Do dogs cry? It’s one of the questions dog owners have, whether it’s because they just got a dog and want to know the ins and outs of their behavior or have had a dog for a while and are concerned about them. We all know that crying is an involuntary human response to upset or sometimes happiness, and dogs can sometimes make similar sounds — are they crying? What emotion are they experiencing, and do they need help?

Here’s everything you need to know to answer the question of if dogs cry.

Do Dogs Cry?

Do dogs cry

Dogs do not cry the same way humans do. In fact, humans are the only animals that shed tears to express sadness, pain, and other emotions! You may describe some of the sounds your dog is making as crying, but that’s not actually accurate — at least not in terms of how a human might cry.

Seeing Tears On A Dog

If you physically see tears on a dog, it’s not because they’re actually crying. This could be because of an eye infection, allergies, or some other health condition. Although dogs do have tear ducts, they’re just not used for the same purpose as a human’s.

Keep an eye on your dog if you notice their eyes are leaking. If it goes away quickly and doesn’t reoccur, it might just be a passing irritation and they don’t need veterinary treatment. If there’s profuse leaking — particularly in combination with other symptoms — it might be time for a trip to the vet.

Do Dogs Cry? How Do Dogs Express Sadness And Pain?

If dogs don’t cry like we do, how do they express sadness and pain?

Often, it’s by vocalizing. Sometimes we describe their whining and whimpering as crying because it serves the same function a human crying might. If a dog is in pain, they might yelp or whimper to let you know that they are. Sadness caused by separation anxiety and other factors may also cause them to vocalize.

A dog might also withdraw if they’re sad or in pain. Some dogs will stay away from their humans and become increasingly distant. If you notice your dog is pulling away from you more and more, even if they’re not making any noise about it, you might also want to have them checked out by a vet just to make sure nothing is wrong. 

Do Dogs Feel Sadness In The Same Way Humans Do?

Do dogs cry

Since dogs don’t cry, you might be wondering if they feel the emotions we do that would cause crying in humans — sadness, grief, and other unpleasant sensations.

In a sense, they do. Their emotions aren’t as complex as ours though. We try to project things like guilt, embarrassment, etc., onto our dog and say they feel bad for something, or are ashamed, but they don’t have the capability of processing emotions like this. Some scientists don’t even think they feel sadness in the same way. 

However, they undoubtedly experience some more basic feelings. A dog may not feel emotions in the same way as a human or express them, but they still have them, and it’s important to take them into consideration. Research has shown that they experience the same emotions as a two-year-old child, roughly, which means it’s safe to assume they know joy, anger, disgust, fear, and love. 

So even though your dog doesn’t feel sadness or guilt in the same way, that doesn’t mean they don’t love you!

What Do I Do If I Think My Dog Is Sad?

Even though your dog may not express their depression by crying, you still might think they’re sad or in pain. This could be because they’re withdrawn or excessively whining.

It could just be boredom. Try to give your dog all of the mental and physical stimulation they need to make sure they aren’t depressed because of this. If it doesn’t help, or your dog seems to be in pain, only a veterinarian may be able to help.

So, do dogs cry? No, not in the same way humans do. They have tear ducts but they do not cry to express sadness, as dogs don’t really feel sadness the same way we do. Their emotional capabilities aren’t that complex! Instead, they’ll express depression or pain by vocalizing or becoming withdrawn, and these are the things to keep an eye out for.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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