Do Dogs Cry? What Do Dogs’ Tears Mean?

There is no doubt that dogs have the ability to feel emotions. But do dogs cry tears for emotional reasons, like humans do? Let's find the answer!

There is no doubt that dogs have the ability to feel several emotions. But do dogs cry tears for emotional reasons, like humans do? Let’s find the answer in this article!

Dogs experience a range of emotions including happiness, frustration, love, boredom, joy, and, yes, sadness. But if your dog has watery eyes or looks like he has been crying, there are other explanations for this symptom since this is not an emotional response.

Do Dogs Cry?

Yes, your dog can cry, but not for the same reasons that humans might. To date, there’s no scientific evidence that dogs shed emotional tears like people do when they feel sad or upset.

When humans see tears, we automatically think that person is sad or hurt. This is because our brains are hardwired into our tear ducts and emotions. But dogs are wired differently than humans are.

Unlike humans, a dog’s tear ducts are designed to drain into his nose and throat, not his eyes. Therefore, a dog’s physical system is not set up to associate producing tears from the eyes when feeling pain.

Humans are the only species gifted with the ability to cry when it comes to producing emotional tears.

While human crying is a sign of emotion, dogs have other ways of showing sadness. Excessive tearing, however, is not a sign of sadness in dogs. Dogs can make a variety of different whimpering and whining sounds that can represent crying.

When we cry as babies, we are able to solicit attention from our mothers or caregivers. Newborn puppies cry too though, but they won’t shed tears like humans do.

Like babies, puppies will use vocalizations to attract mother dog and alert her when they’re feeling cold, sick, or hungry.

Generally, tear issues and dog tear stains indicate medical issues. If a dog’s eyes are discharging liquid, it is because something is wrong, not because the animal is overcome with emotion.

If you do see tears coming from your canine companion’s eyes, then there might be something more serious going on.

What Does it Mean When Your Dog is Crying?

A dog’s tears are necessary and functional. These tears have a much more practical purpose, however.

In dogs, tears are mostly shed as a natural reaction to irritants in their eyes. On the other hand, the liquid produced by the tear ducts helps to lubricate the eyes and keep them healthy.

Now we know that dogs don’t cry from sadness or any other emotions. But when dogs have an abnormal overflow of tears, what’s really happening?

So, extra tearing from time to time is normal, but if it is constant, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. The medical term for this condition is epiphora.

Do Dogs Cry - Epiphora

The dark reddish-brown tear stains under your dog’s eyes can indicate a lot of different things.

Blocked Tear Ducts

If your dog has watery eyes with excessive drainage coming from one or both eyes, one or both tear ducts may be blocked. 

One of the main reasons that your dog might have a blocked tear duct is that your dog has a tear duct infection.

Eye Infection

Eye infections are often itchy or painful, so you may notice your dog pawing at their eyes or even dragging their face across your floors or furniture.

There are a host of reasons why your dog might develop an eye infection. If you’ve noticed that your dog is crying and that their tears are producing mucus, are yellowish, it could be a sign of an eye infection.

Scratched Cornea

The cornea is a transparent membrane that covers the dog’s eyeball. Active and playful dogs are more prone to getting a corneal ulcer, which is also called a scratched cornea.

It is a wound or abrasion on the corneal surface. If you have a crying dog after intense playing outside, this may indicate that your pup’s cornea has a scratch.


Conjunctivitis is a relatively common infection of the mucous membrane which covers your dog’s eye and eyelids. However, the condition is more commonly known as ‘pink eye’.

If the condition is left untreated, could cause permanent damage to your dog’s eyes.

Dirt or Dust

Your dog may have simply received a face full of pollen or dust, and the increased tearing is working to solve the problem. Usually, it’s quite harmless, and the dog’s tears will stop soon.

But if his eyes continue to be watery or your dog develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian.


So, do dogs cry? Yes, but now it’s pretty clear that dogs don’t shed tears because they’re upset.

When it comes to your dog, tears are a reason to contact your veterinarian, who will determine the cause and proper treatment.

Take some extra time to pay attention to your dog’s eyes, bathing them regularly and making sure that they’re as healthy as possible from the inside out.