It’s natural for humans to anthropomorphize their pets. Since you can only truly understand the world from your own viewpoint, it’s easier to relate to your dog on human terms than on dog terms. That’s why a lot of dog owners think their dogs are sad if they see them shedding tears from their eyes. But do dogs cry real tears from sadness and emotion?
At some point, you may have seen your dog with watery eyes or even seen your dog shed a tear. However, while we humans can cry for emotional reasons, dogs do not. Dogs use other means to express their emotions, such as a happy wagging tail or sad, pinned back ears.
There are many different reasons for a dog:
Do Dogs Cry Real Tears From Sadness?
Let’s get straight to the point here. Do dogs cry with real tears, like humans do, when they’re sad or overcome with emotion?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the answer is “no.” That’s not to say that dogs aren’t capable of producing tears. Like the majority of land mammals, dogs do have tear ducts and are technically capable of producing tears.
These “tears” have a much more practical purpose, however. The liquid produced by the tear ducts helps to lubricate the eyes and keep them healthy.
How Do Dogs Show Their Emotions?
Just because dogs don’t cry to show their emotions, it doesn’t mean that they don’t get sad, grieve or experience other emotions.
In fact, humans seem to be a bit of an anomaly, as we’re the only animal that cries tears from emotion. Even other primates and animals that are known to experience complex emotions don’t get all wet about it.
If you say your dog’s “crying” when they whine or whimper, you’re not the only one. Although they’re not using tears, whines can signal that a dog is sad, lonely, distressed, and a variety of other things.
Dogs start whining to signal that they need something as soon as they’re born. Puppies are often out of their mother’s sight, and dogs rely on their hearing much more than we do. Therefore, it makes much more sense to give a verbal cue that they need something than a visual one.
Since we can’t ask them, it’s not always clear why a dog is depressed, but these are some of the signs to look out for:
- Changes in eating habits
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Not participating in things they used to enjoy
- Becoming withdrawn
- Being less active than normal
What Should You Do If A Dog Looks Like They’re Crying?
As noted above, a range of underlying medical conditions could be causing your dog to look like they’re crying. If it’s just a one-off occurrence, it’s probably nothing to worry about. More than likely, the tears are caused by some dirt or dust that’s got in your dog’s eye and will work its way out in due course. However, if the problem persists, if there is a lot of watery discharge, or if you regularly notice your dog “crying” then you should take them to the vet to get checked out. While, in many cases, it’s nothing too concerning, there are some nasty conditions that can cause epiphora in dogs. It’s always better to err on the side of caution!