Dogs are animals with big hearts. They are capable of joy, grief, and excitement. However, can their emotions bring them to tears just like we do? Let us find out if dogs can cry real tears and learn the true causes of this behaviour.
Tears Do Not Equal Emotions
Can dogs cry tears? Dogs can cry and produce tears, but these are not caused by emotions.
Canines are sensitive animals that can feel sadness, fear, happiness, and other range of emotions. However, their way of expressing these feelings is not the same as we do.
Pooches communicate with humans through vocalisations and body language rather than crying tears. But why do humans think tears in dogs are a product of emotions? Experts pointed out how people tend to humanise dogs.
When we see our four-legged friends feeling overjoyed or dejected, we somehow expect them to convey their emotions in a human-like manner.
This could be the reason why many pet lovers assume that a dog feels sad or happy when shedding tears.
Signs of a Crying Dog
You might be wondering: “How can I tell if a dog is crying if he does not shed tears?” You can tell if a dog is crying mainly through heart-wrenching vocalisations.
So, how do dogs cry sound? It commonly takes the form of a series of high-pitched whimpering or whining. These noises are often accompanied by body language and changes in behaviour, depending on what your dog is feeling.
With that in mind, let us answer the following questions often asked about this topic:
Can dogs cry tears when sad?
No, dogs do not cry tears when sad, but they may whine and whimper. Sad dogs also tend to be more withdrawn, refusing to play games, or interact with their loved ones.
Can dogs cry from pain?
Dogs are unlikely to let out tears when in pain. Instead, they resort to howling or yelping. Some may even exhibit aggressiveness, such as snarling and baring their fangs because of the discomfort they feel.
Do dogs cry for their owners?
Dogs are highly receptive to their owner’s emotions, but they do not cry for them. However, a study suggests that pooches are willing to go through obstacles just to comfort their loved ones.
According to the research, dogs were quick to open the door after hearing the distressed noise of their owners. If we talk about real-life examples, many heroic dogs have saved their owners’ lives upon hearing their plea for help.
Dog’s Tears of Joy: Are They True?
Some dog videos circulating on the internet show how some pooches shed tears after reuniting with their human companions.
Thus, many people cannot help but wonder: “Do dogs cry when happy?” The answer is no. Dogs do not cry when they are happy. They commonly wag their tails and bark to show their happiness and excitement.
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A research done in 2015 made a compelling case that dogs cry happy tears when their owners come home. The researchers tested their theory by placing strips of paper between the lower eyelid and cornea of dogs as they interacted with their owners.
This step was repeated a minute before the dogs were reunited with their human companions after 5 to 7 hours of separation. According to the results, dogs’ tear production increased once they saw their owners.
However, other experts remain skeptical about the outcome of the study. They stated that the paper could have rubbed against the eyes whilst dogs were happily moving around as they greeted their owners. This could have prompted an increase in tear production.
Because of these possible flaws, more research is needed to support this study. Up to now, concrete research shows that humans are the only animals on earth that can shed emotional tears. Other studies are yet to refute this theory.
The True Reasons Behind a Dog Crying Tears
We have cleared up the misconception about dogs crying. It is now time to find the real answer to the question: “Why do dogs shed tears?”
First, you need to know how a canine’s tears flow since it is different from humans. Normally, it drains through the eyelid and then into the nasolacrimal duct. From there, the tears then empty into the nasal cavity, not out of the eyes.
So, if your furry pal has watery eyes, it is not because he feels emotions, but rather he might have developed an underlying health issue such as:
Excessive tearing in a dog’s eyes could be brought on by exposure to allergens. Canines may develop allergic reactions to various things in the environment, such as pollen, chemicals, or certain types of food.
Determining the allergen requires running some tests, and this can take a long time. For instance, if the suspected culprit is food, the vet will propose an elimination diet.
Allergies in dogs can be treated in several ways depending on the causes. Some common options are anti-inflammatory therapy, switching to a hypoallergenic shampoo, or simply removing or avoiding the allergen.
Blocked Tear Ducts
One of the plausible answers to the question: “Why is my dog crying tears?” is lacrimal duct obstruction. As the name suggests, this condition occurs when a dog’s tear ducts are blocked.
It could be caused by various things, from a stray foreign object entering the eye to tumour growth.
The treatment of lacrimal duct obstruction includes anti-inﬂammatory and antimicrobial therapy. Sometimes surgery is necessary to get rid of the blockage. However, not all cases of blocked tear ducts in dogs can be cured entirely.
A dog crying tears with a mucus consistency might suffer from an eye infection. Other clinical symptoms of this condition are inflamed eyes, swollen eyelids, and squinting.
Eye infection is often caused by a virus or bacteria, but it can also be a result of another eye problem, such as blocked tear ducts and eyelid abnormalities.
Treatment options for eye infections include administering medications such as antibiotics and antihistamines. In some cases, the vet will need to perform surgery to resolve the issue.
Also called scratched corneas, this ocular problem is commonly caused by blunt trauma. It induces excruciating pain in dogs, leading them to rub their eyes, which can worsen their condition.
The vet treats corneal ulcers by prescribing medications like antibiotic drops. Surgery or eye transplant might be required to reverse the effects of severely scratched corneas.
Dogs have their own way of expressing emotions, but crying is not one of them. If your four-legged friend is noticeably shedding tears, get him checked by the vet because it means something is wrong with his health.