Do Dogs Cry? Dog Owners Know the Answer

Do Dogs Cry? Dog Owners Know the Answer

Author WDF Staff


If you ask a dog owner the question, “Do dogs cry?” we are pretty sure they will tell you their dog can cry. That is partly true. Dogs have emotions, and they can produce tears, but do they cry as we humans do? The shortest possible answer is - no. However, dogs are emotional beings, and they feel different emotions, even though they are not as complex as ours.

To paraphrase the famous Ad Vingerhoets, a renowned professor of Emotions and Well-being at the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, “Humans are the only species that produce tears because of emotions.” Dogs have different settings than ours, and they don’t have emotions connected with their tear ducts. Even though dogs can produce tears, their tears have a different meaning.

Why do dogs cry?

Just because dogs don’t cry doesn’t mean they have no emotion; in fact, dogs are very empathic and emotional. In their world, tears have a different meaning, and as a dog owner, you should understand them. Most often, your dog will cry because of medical reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons dogs can cry.

dog tear

Eye infection

This is probably not something one might expect when talking about a dog’s ability to cry. Still, as we said - it’s mostly medical. If you notice your dog crying bloody or yellowish tears instead of clear water-like tears, it is a clear sign of an eye infection. If you see other things like swelling or redness of the eye, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.


It’s true - flowers can make your dog cry. Not because they are happy you got them a lovely bouquet of flowers, but because they are allergic. Dogs can have seasonal allergies, or they can have a reaction to things like laundry detergent or even their food. You should ask your vet for advice on what to do, and they will most likely suggest you get rid of the allergen. There are different allergy tests your dog can take, which will help you determine what is bugging your dog. Vets could also tell you to get your dog some antihistamine. You can read more about it here - What Allergy Medicine Can I Give to my Dog?

Tear duct problems

Humans and dogs have tear ducts, although they are somewhat different. Our tear ducts push the liquid out, and theirs drain it back to the nasal and throat area. If you notice tears on your dog’s cheeks, don’t worry, they weren’t dumped; they probably have blocked tear ducts. If the condition seems to lasts, take them to the vet and see if there is anything they can do.

Foreign body

Another possible reason why dogs cry is that they have a foreign body in their eye. It can be a small dust speck or something larger that can seriously damage your dog’s eye. You can rinse the dust or dirt with water, but if it is something bigger lodged, you should ask your vet’s help. 

sad dog in bed

Cornea injury

Another reason why you might have a crying dog is that they have a scratched cornea. This subtle injury can be easy to miss. Still, if you see your dog pawing at the eye and you checked for signs of debris, it is entirely possible they suffered a cornea injury. This problem is common in active dogs that could have suffered the problem during play.

Dogs might not cry, but did you know they can drive?! Check out this article - Driving dogs.

How do dogs express sadness or pain?

As we said, dogs are emotional, and they can certainly feel pain. They don’t cry about it like we would expect a human to cry, but they will show emotion. It is up to us as owners to understand them and help them.


Your dog will express sadness through a series of whines, howls, and yelps. They have learned since they were puppies that vocalizing their emotions gets them what they want. If they are lonely or cold, they will whine, and their mother will come to feed them or give them plenty of warmth. They might not cry, but they can undoubtedly cry out.

Some breeds are more vocal than others, but they will certainly let you know how they feel. Surely you have seen videos of dogs feeling ecstatic about their owner’s return or their sadness when they leave. Dogs can whine when they have to leave the dog park or when they have to go home and leave their doggie friends behind.

It is undoubtedly one of the reasons we have such a deep and profound connection with them. We share our happiness, sadness, joy, anger, and all sorts of different emotions with them, and they thrive on it. They do the same with us, and there is no better feeling than sharing your dog’s happiness.

If your dog is sad or in pain, they could use a comfy place to rest. Check out this article for ideas - Best Dog Beds.


There are different ways dogs can let us know they are in pain. They will most likely bark, whine, yelp, or howl, similar to how they show emotions. The difference is how they show it, and to truly understand it, we need to know our dog’s temperament.

sad dog looking through window

Humans cry when they are in pain, and for better or worse, dogs can’t cry to show us they are in pain. They have other ways of letting us know, and if you hear a sudden whelp or bark, it is possible your dog injured themselves. That is the easier way to spot and understand your dog got suddenly hurt. The trickier thing is to understand when your dog has chronic pain, which can signify a serious health issue.

Chronic pain is dangerous, and it is usually a symptom of a severe health issue that will require the vet’s help. There are some signs your dog is in chronic pain, but you should know what to look for. Some of the signs are:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Avoiding stairs
  • Avoiding running
  • Problems standing up (whining)
  • Problems laying down (whining)
  • Avoiding inclines
  • Avoiding obstacles
  • Slow movements
  • Avoiding jumping on bed or couch

Check out these dog breeds that are not prone to health issues - Top 7 healthiest dog breeds.

Now you know the real situation with dogs and crying. Keep a close eye on your dog’s eyes, and if you notice your dog crying, instead of consoling them, it would be better to take them to the vet.

World Dog Finder team

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