Can Dogs Cry? Unveiling Canine Emotions

Jan 23, 2024 | Dogs & Puppies | 0 comments

Written by: Alex Ramsey. Explore our editorial process.

Dogs have a unique way of tugging at our heartstrings with their expressive eyes. These loyal creatures can convey emotions without uttering a single word. One emotion that often perplexes and touches us profoundly is Dogs crying. 

We wonder, can dogs cry like humans do? What lies behind those glistening eyes when they well up with moisture? This article delves into the fascinating world of dog’s eye health, their canine emotions, and the medical causes of dog tears.

Can Dogs Cry?

When we talk about dogs crying, we’re not referring to the emotional shedding of tears as humans do. Dogs do not cry like we do when sad or overwhelmed with joy. However, dogs have their unique way of expressing emotions, which often involves the secretion of tears. These tears serve a different purpose than our emotional tears.

Dogs produce tears to maintain the health and well-being of their eyes. These tears keep the eyes moist, flush away foreign particles, and provide essential nutrients to the cornea.

So, when you see your dog’s eyes looking watery, it’s not necessarily a sign of sadness but rather a sign of their body functioning correctly.

Understanding Dogs Crying

While dogs may not cry in the emotional sense, their tears can still speak volumes. Excessive tearing in dogs can indicate underlying issues, both medical and emotional. Here are some key points to understand:

Normal vs. Excessive Tearing

It’s essential to differentiate between normal tearing, which is necessary for eye health, and excessive tearing, which may indicate a problem.

Emotional Indicators

Dogs can display various emotions through their body language, including their eyes. Understanding your dog’s emotional cues is crucial for strengthening the bond between you.

Signs of Discomfort

Excessive tearing can sometimes be a sign of discomfort or irritation. If your dog is frequently tearing up, paying attention to other signs like rubbing their eyes or discomfort when touched is essential.

Environmental Factors

Allergens, dust, and irritants in the environment can lead to increased tearing. Identifying and mitigating these factors can alleviate the issue.

Dog tears

Medical Causes of Dog Tears

Excessive tearing, technically known as epiphora, can result from various causes, including environmental factors, health problems, and breed-specific predispositions. It can be a cause for concern for any pet owner. While a few teardrops here and there are normal, if your dog’s eyes are constantly watery, it might indicate an underlying issue.

Common causes include eye infections due to bacteria or viruses, allergies triggering irritation, and anatomical issues like blocked tear ducts or eyelash abnormalities.


This is a common condition in dogs, often resulting in red, watery eyes. Allergies, irritants, or infections can cause it.

Corneal Ulcers

An injury or scratch on the cornea can lead to excessive tearing. Dogs often paw at their eyes when they have a corneal ulcer.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Like humans, dogs have tear ducts, which can lead to excessive tearing if they become blocked.


Bacterial or viral infections in the eyes can cause increased tearing as a response to the infection.


Allergies to pollen, dust, or certain foods can lead to watery eyes in dogs.

Inherited Conditions

Some breeds are predisposed to certain eye conditions that can result in excessive tearing.


Understanding why dogs cry and how to address excessive tearing is essential for every dog owner. It can signify various underlying issues. Maintaining your dog’s eye health is vital to their overall well-being, and regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify and address any potential problems early on.


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Is it normal for certain dog breeds to tear more than others?

Some breeds, like brachycephalic breeds, are predisposed to excessive tearing due to their facial structures. Understanding breed characteristics is crucial in assessing your dog’s tearing.

What can I do at home to promote my dog’s eye health?

Regular face and eye cleaning, a balanced diet with essential nutrients, and protecting your dog’s eyes from harsh environmental elements are critical steps in promoting eye health.

When should I be concerned about my dog’s excessive tearing?

If your dog’s tears are persistent, accompanied by redness, swelling, or discharge, it’s time to consult a veterinarian. These signs can indicate underlying issues.

How are blocked tear ducts in dogs treated?

Treatment may involve medications or, in severe cases, surgical procedures to clear blocked tear ducts. Your veterinarian will recommend the most suitable approach.

Are over-the-counter eye drops safe for dogs with excessive tearing?

It’s essential to consult your vet before using any eye drops, as the cause of tearing varies, and inappropriate treatments may worsen the issue.



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