Do Dogs Cry?

brown puppy lying on a dog bed

Our dogs do a lot of things that we try to rationalize from a human perspective. Dogs may experience a range of emotions, but do dogs cry? Here’s what you need to know:

Do Dogs Cry?

No. Dogs have tear ducts, but they do not cry in response to emotional distress the way humans do. Dogs show emotional pain in other ways. Although dogs do have tear ducts, their tear ducts are used only to clear debris and keep their eyes comfortable.

It’s important to note that “tears” drain into the nasal cavity instead of dripping from the eyes. Generally, a dog does not “cry” unless they are having an issue with their eyes.

5 Common Reasons Why Your Dog Looks Like They Are Crying

If your dog’s tear ducts are leaking, it means they are not draining back into the nasal cavity like they are supposed to. This is an indication that something is wrong. Here are a few reasons why your dog looks like they are crying:

1. They May Have an Eye Infection

If your dog looks like they are crying, it could be a sign that they have or are developing an eye infection. This is particularly true if the tears are yellow or cloudy or contain mucus or blood instead of being clear. The eye and the surrounding area may also be swollen, red, or irritated.

If you notice any signs of eye infection, then you should get to the vet immediately. Any infection in your dog can spread quickly and cause serious issues. An eye infection can lead to blindness if left untreated. Because it is also so close to the brain, the infection could spread to the brain.

2. Your Dog Could Have Allergies

Like humans, dogs can also be allergic to a variety of things, including pollen, dust, dander, smoke, or food ingredients. They may experience seasonal allergies or have allergic reactions. Depending on what’s going on, your vet may have to conduct a few tests or put your dog on an elimination diet to try to determine the cause of the allergic reaction.

Just like with humans, allergic reactions can develop over time. Just because your dog wasn’t allergic to something before, doesn’t mean they won’t develop these allergies as they age. Once again, only a veterinarian can properly diagnose these problems through scratch tests and elimination diets.

If it ends up being seasonal allergies, there are some ways to help your dog survive seasonal allergies. Your vet can help you determine the best course of action for your dog. Oftentimes, the things you can do to help your dog with seasonal allergies can help alleviate some of the symptoms for you as well.

3. There May be Damage to the Surface of the Eye

The cornea serves two major functions – to protect the eye against invaders and to refract and bend light. When your dog is active, they can end up scratching their cornea because of environmental factors. Playing roughly with dogs and cats, going through thick brush, playing in leaves, and projectiles in the area are all things that can lead to a scratched cornea.

In addition to tears, dogs may also paw at their eyes, blink excessively, or have inflamed areas around the eye. If your dog shows any signs of a scratched cornea, it’s crucial to visit the vet as veterinary attention will be required. Because the cornea is a layer of defense for the eye, damage can lead to more serious issues.

4. Your Dog May Have a Blocked Tear Duct

Epiphora is a fancy term that refers to eye discharge. It means an “overflow of tears” and is not a specific medical condition or disease; it’s just a symptom that is associated with several different conditions. You can tell if your dog is suffering from epiphora if the area around its eyes is damp or wet.

One of the many causes of epiphora is a blocked tear duct. If your dog’s tear ducts have become blocked, then the tears cannot be absorbed and will start flowing from your dog’s eyes as if they were crying.

A dog may develop skin irritation and it may cause discoloration around a dog’s eyes after it’s been going on for a while. In some cases, epiphora is harmless and is just something to help your dog manage. In other cases, a blocked tear duct can be a sign of something more serious. So, it’s essential to visit the vet right away if your dog starts “crying”.

5. They May Have Something in Their Eye

When your dog cries, it could simply be associated with a bit of dirt or an eyelash irritating their eye. If this is the case, the tears should stop once the dirt or irritation is removed. You can help remove it yourself by wiping their eyes gently with a moist, soft towel if it’s near the eye or with some vet-approved eye drops or eye rinse if it’s on the eye itself.

If the irritation continues, you’ll want to visit the vet to make sure the irritant has been removed and that the cornea was not scratched in the process. This can help prevent an infection from occurring and also rule out any other issues that may be causing your dog’s tears to overflow.

Dogs may look like they are crying for many reasons, but emotion isn’t one of them. Instead, they will express their emotion and show love in other ways. However, just because your dog isn’t upset, doesn’t mean that something isn’t wrong. Make sure to pay attention if your dog seems to be crying and visit the veterinarian so they can help your dog.