Do Dogs Cry? Cure Canine Sadness!

do dogs cryWe have all been there before – you get into bed for the night, pull over the covers, and close your eyes ready for a delightful and restful night’s sleep.  All of a sudden, you hear a dog howling or crying.  You wait patiently for it to cease in a few minutes, but it does not.  Frustrated, you stick your ear plugs in (again).  If you have ever heard a dog howling or crying, you might wonder what it is for.  They probably sound like they are in a lot of pain; and they may or may not be.  The point is, dogs are crying for the same reason that humans cry – most of the time they are just trying to communicate with you (or whoever they are crying or howling at).  So, do dogs cry?  We have a few answers for you, and some tips on how you can get your own dog to calm down a little bit when you sense the “waterworks” coming on.  Take out your earplugs and listen in!

Do Tears Equal Sadness?

Interestingly enough, if you happen to see your dog’s eyes water as if “tears” may be coming out, they are doing this in response to a medical or health issue — and not because they feel “sad” for any specific reason.  Their grief is expressed in other ways, such as through howling or whimpering.  Chihuahuas, on the other hand, are said to cry tears when they are upset, but this trait is reserved only for them.

If Your Dog Has Tears…

If you do notice your dog’s eyes becoming watery, make sure that you monitor them for symptoms.  There could be a cause for concern if:

  • In addition to clear tears, there are other things or colors of secretion coming from your dogs eyes.
  • Your dogs eyes appear swollen or irritated
  • There is blood, yellow, or musky discharge coming from your dog’s eyes.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian to see if any medical treatment is necessary.


If your dogs tears are not cause by sadness, then what are they caused by?  Let’s take a look.

  • Allergies:  Just like humans, dog’s can have allergic responses to seasons, weather, pollen, or other foreign particles that may cause their eyes to water.
  • Tear Ducts:  If your dogs eyes are spilling over with tears, this could be a cause of blocked tear ducts, which do not allow tears to drain properly; causing them to spill dog your dog’s face.
  • Infections:  If you dog looks like it has scratches or dirt around its eye area, this could also cause tears, and could signal a scratched cornea.

Tear Maintenance

If your dog has tears, do not hand them a tissue!  The proper thing to do, especially if there are dried tears or water around the dog’s eye area, is to take a damp washcloth and wipe away the tears.  Make sure that you do this as soon as you see the tears drying up, as it could cause other dirt and debris to clump up in the dried tears as well.  Here are some other things to keep in mind when drying a dog’s tears:

  • Try to avoid your dog’s eyelashes if at all possible.  Focus on cleaning up the area around their eyes.
  • Be gentle!
  • As you are cleaning, verbally reassure your dog in a soft and gentle voice.
  • Provide your teary canine with a treat when they are done.  If this happens again, they will be more likely to be patient with you if they know a reward is coming up.

Whining or Howling

If you want to compare crying to any of your dog’s actions, then whining and howling would be the closest comparisons, and they can sound a lot like crying too!  Let’s take a look at the reasons as to why you might hear your pooch whining or howling:

  • Attention:  Just like a child, a dog might whine or howl when they are seeking attention from their owners.
  • Rewards:  All dogs love treats, and sometimes they might not know what to do to get them.  Whining or howling can be a result of a dog’s desire for a certain object or particular treat.
  • Greeting:  On the other hand, a dog can whine or howl from being overwhelmed by excitement, which usually occurs when they come in contact with people or other dogs.
  • Interacting:  Whining or howling can also be a form of communication for dogs when they are interacting with other people or animals.
  • Separation Anxiety:  Instead of crying, dogs can whine or howl if they sense that you are leaving or when you are gone.  They can also combine this behavior with pacing, drooling, destruction, or urinating.

Reducing Whining or Howling

Scolding your dog every time is whines or howls is not practicing positive dog-parenting.  There are constructive ways that you can help lessen your dogs “crying” patterns.  Here’s how:

  • If your dog is a frequent howler, teach them to howl on command.  By doing this, they are less likely to howl for no reason at all.
  • Teach your dog a “speaking” command, as well as a “quiet” command.  This will get your dog into the habit of making noise only when they know it is appropriate.
  • Give your dog a treat or reward for silence, and praise them verbally as well.
  • Repeat!  Repetition is the key to training any animal.  Try to increase the time that you dog stays quiet on command overtime so that you know they are really processing your commands.


Remember that your dog’s “crying” can be triggered from many different things, as well as outside factors and environment issues that you cannot control.  If this happens, be patient and allow your dog time to get used to these issues to lessen its anxiety with it.  If you are having a hard time getting your dog to comply with you, be sure to consult any of Udemy’s online sources for some helpful and convenient tips for dog training.