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Do dogs cry? – When you Google this question, you’ll quickly realise how frequently it’s searched. You’ll also realise that the answer isn’t straightforward. Regardless, if you’re a dog parent you’ll know your pup isn’t shy to show his feelings. Dog tears or not.

Remember that time he got his paws on your designer shoes and you reprimanded him for it or how his entire demeanour changes when you’re about to head out the door. What about the constant tail wagging, face-licking and whimpering when you get home after a couple of hours?

Experts agree that dogs experience a range of emotions including happiness, love, joy, grief, and sadness. But do dogs cry? Let’s unpack this!

Dog tears – fact or fiction?

While dogs have various ways of communicating when they’re sad, frustrated, angry or happy – they don’t cry the way humans do to express sadness. If you notice dog tears in Husky’s eyes there’s a range of reasons for this.

On a side note, you may find it interesting to note that humans are said by most to be the only animals on the planet that sheds ‘emotional tears’.  

Like humans, dogs also have tear ducts, but theirs functions differently. Instead of those dog tears rolling out of Husky’s eyes they mostly drain into his nasal passage. This ensures his eyes are comfortable and clear of discharge, commonly known as ‘eye crust or gunk’.

It’s normal for your doggo to have eye crust that’s whitish grey in colour, which his tears will help clear out. Gunk that appears more pus-like can be a warning sign of a developing eye infection.

What do those dog tears mean for this older looking dog lying flat on the floor, looking up sadly?

Those dog tears could mean a health issue

Contrary to belief, if your dog excessively sheds tears it doesn’t signal sadness or heartbreak – it means a bigger problem is possibly brewing. For example it could be a developing eye infection like conjunctivitis, which us humans call ‘pink eye’. This is an inflammation of the white part of the eye and inner eyelid.

Leaking tears can also mean a blocked tear duct also known as epiphora, an overflow of tears from the ducts. As a fur parent this may sound scary so arm yourself with knowledge of the symptoms. Look out for signs such as:

  • Excessive dampness or wetness under the eyes
  • The fur under the eye is stained a reddish-brown colour
  • The skin in that area is irritated whereby is red, inflamed and/or itchy

Another common culprit for your pooch’s tears is dog allergies. Yes, just like you…Husky can be reacting to pollen in the air or something in his food. A veterinarian can sniff out the cause of the allergies with a simple test. Along with rolling tears, allergies can also cause sneezing, coughing, hives and inflammation.

Have an issue with stained fur around your dog’s eyes? Read our article on dog tear stains to find out how to potentially prevent and remove them.

Do dogs cry to express sadness?

Now that we know dogs don’t cry due to sadness, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t get sad. It just means they have different ways of communicating their sadness. As fur parents we need to look a little closer to get to the bottom of a pet sulking or change in behaviour.

Here are some of the signs:

  • Whimpering or whining. As a fur parent, you’ll probably remember Husky whimpering and whining for his canine mum. Just like when he was a pup, your dog may continue to use this to communicate his emotions to you.
  • Shaking or trembling. Experts say some pooches have been known to shake or tremble to communicate they’re upset, e.g., during storms. If this sounds familiar, read our ‘Why are dogs scared of thunder‘ article.
  • Hiding. Let’s be frank, Husky knows he’s going to get a scolding for chewing your bedroom shoes for the 100th time. So, what does he do? Retreat to a “safe place” such as under the bed or his kennel. Retreating to his safe place more than usual can be a sign of sadness.
  • Human comfort. Your dog loves sleeping on top of you and covering you with kisses, but if he’s feeling down this neediness can multiply.
  • Ignoring you. If your pooch is cheeky or feisty by nature, don’t be surprised if he gives you the cold shoulder to let you know he’s not impressed with you.
This brown haired woman in a grey jacket kissing her white puppy wonders "Do dogs cry happy dog tears?"

Do dogs cry tears of joy?

Dogs wag their tails, lick your face and in some cases pee to show excitement. But do dogs cry happy dog tears? According to a recent study by Japanese researchers, the answer is yes!

The study published by Current Biology aims to determine if it’s possible for a canine to ‘shed tears of joy’ after a long period of not seeing their owners. The reaction of 22 dogs reuniting with their owners after being apart for seven to eight hours have been observed to test scientists’ theory. This was further tested against their reactions to familiar faces who aren’t their owners, after being separated for the same amount of time.

Strips of paper were placed under the dogs’ eyes during normal interactions with their owners then this was compared to their reactions when they saw their owners after the prolonged period of time.  

It may not come as a surprise that researchers found the only time dogs do cry is when they see their owners. So, even though your pooch may not shed its dog tears for the reasons we’re used to, this doesn’t mean they can’t express emotions.

And now science proves that your fur baby shares a deep bond with you!

Planning for life’s curve balls

As a fur parent all we want is to make sure our babies are happy and healthy. If searching for the answer to “do dogs cry” has brought you to this article then we know you care a lot.

But as we’ve unpacked in this blog, there could be more to your dog’s change in behaviour that you may want to get checked out by a veterinarian. And to ensure they get the best treatment should something be wrong, consider pet insurance to take care of the hefty bills.

PD Insurance offers simple, low-cost, high-quality insurance and with no lock-in contracts. Plus, if you sign up online you’ll score one or more months free. So, what do you have to lose?

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