Do dogs cry with tears

I’ve been considering getting a dog for some time now. The approach I plan to use to make this happen is to complete and document a sizable amount of research before making the commitment.

cute puppy laying on bed

Since affirming my decision of making dog ownership a reality for my family, I now seem to have flash moments of random thoughts relating to dogs and what life with a dog would be like. The most recent dog-related query that hijacked my train of thought was the thought of, do dogs cry and shed emotional tears? 

I know dogs shed tears, because I’ve seen watery eyes on dogs, and I think dogs cry audibly because I’ve heard dogs howl and whimper, but what I’m keen to understand is, do some audible noises that dogs make, combined with watery eyes on dogs, equate to a dogs cry with tears?

a curly haired dog oin the gress howling

I vaguely recall having a neighbor when I was growing up who had a Rottweiler. One night, this Rottweiler just started howling and wouldn’t stop. I remember my dad telling me that the dog was crying. I didn’t bother to question the answer that my dad gave me at the time because I was young, and I usually just accepted what I was told by my dad. But that memory has always stuck with me. Now I consider whether what my dad told me back then was true; was Benji (the neighbor’s Rottweiler’s name) really crying that night, or was my dad just trying to get me to stop asking questions?

Do dogs cry with tears?

Since I started my exploration into the world of dog care and more recently the trying to understand if dogs cry with tears, I’ve come to learn the fact that you may see water coming out of a dog’s eyes, but those tears do not equate to the dog crying with tears or emotional tears in the way that humans do.

sad looking dog

Although dogs have tear ducts in their eyes in the same way that humans do, a dog’s tear ducts release water for different reasons. The purpose of a dog’s tear ducts according to is to release the basal tears necessary to keep the eyes moist and the reflexive tears needed to flush away irritants and allergens supports this by stating ” if a dog looks like he’s crying, there might be something wrong that you need to get checked out by a veterinarian.”

So there’s the answer, the reasons why dogs release water from their tear ducts are completely different from the reason why humans do. I should recognize that if my dog has water coming from his eyes, then there is definitely a reason to pay attention to my dog’s general well being.

Reasons for watery eyes in dogs

Like the human body, the biological composition of a canine is formed with such precision to a degree that the body of the canine knows how to adapt to requirements being placed on it. What this means is that when required, the biological composition of a canine will do whatever is necessary to repair itself or produce relief from pain and discomfort.

dog behind a rain drop car window

The facts above lead to several other reasons that I learned to be potential causes as to why you would see watery eyes in dogs. But the biggest takeaway message is that a healthy dog with healthy eyes will not shed tears. Hmm, interesting. So a dog does not cry tears, but the purpose of a dog’s tears is an indicator of potential health or well-being factors that I will need to pay attention to? Ok. So what are these potential problems or causes of watery eyes in dogs?

Allergies can cause watery eyes in dogs 

Think of a time when you’ve had an allergic reaction to something. In the summertime, I suffer from hayfever, so I know exactly what this means. Dogs can have allergies too, and watery eyes may be a reaction to an allergy.

Dog eyes close up

Blocked tear ducts.

Like humans, dogs also have tear ducts. According to WebMD, tear ducts are like tiny tunnels that your tears pass through. They’re part of the drainage system that goes from your eyes to your throat glands. Inside your eyelids and the white part of your eyes constantly release tears into your eyes. As you blink, they drain out. They exit through two small holes called puncta in the upper and lower inside corners of your eyelids, next to your nose. Tear ducts primarily serve the same purpose in the dogs as in humans, with the exception being that dog tears are not triggered by emotion.

An eye infection like conjunctivitis

This is a pretty self-explanatory; eye infection? Watery eyes? See a vet. Got it!

long hair puppy with conjunctivitis in its eyes

Damage to the eye

This is something I can personally relate to. Being an active football player and growing up with two brothers, I’ve had my fair share of rough and tumbles, and every so often a finger might accidentally poke me in the eye from boisterous physical activities. I’ve known the pain and the tears that follow. I remember an incident when I was play-fighting with my older brother, and he accidentally kneed me in my eye. My eye began to leak water, but my brother thought I was crying (David, if you’re reading this, honestly, I wasn’t crying; your knee just almost took out my eyeball). I digress, please forgive me. I understand that if a dog is active, there is a likelihood of the dog encountering situations when the cornea can be scratched, which may potentially cause tears to come out of the dog’s eyes.

Something in the eye

Have you ever had that moment on a windy day when the wind decides to dump some debris or gravel in your eye? Yep. Well, this is another reason why a canine may shed a tear. I totally get it; I would shed a tear too.

Do dogs cry when sad? And how do dogs express emotions?

My younger brother has had three dogs in his time and my older brother has had one. I’ve lived with either of them for short periods of time at some point during the times they had at least one of their dogs, so I know that dogs can be sensitive, emotional, and intuitive creatures.

puppy laying on the floor with bone chew toy

Based on the information I’ve gathered from the various research resources, I now know for certain that dogs don’t cry like humans and shed emotional tears’ however, a dog will express emotions in other ways.

According to barkpost, when dogs experience feelings of sadness, loss, or pain, they show their emotional state through vocalizations such as whimpering, whining, and howling.

Final thoughts

So I guess the next logical thing will be to explore some of these doggy emotions or audible vocals and determine what they mean. Why do dogs howl, and what does it mean when a dog howls? What is dog whimpering, and why do dogs whine? I’ll see what I can unravel and hopefully be in a position where I know how to respond to these emotions when I get my dog.

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