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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Cry? Studies, Facts & FAQs

Can Dogs Cry? Studies, Facts & FAQs

old chihuahua eye with a tear or crying

If you’ve been around dogs long enough, you know that, like humans, dogs have emotions. Indeed, dogs run the gamut of emotions and often have reactions that are surprising. Sharing all of these emotional similarities with humans is one of the reasons we love our dogs. We see ourselves through their eyes. This similarity also leads to a fascinating question; can dogs cry?

The answer, at the time of this writing, is maybe. Scientists have said dogs can’t cry for decades, but new scientific studies show that it might be happening. Below, we’ll shed some light on this fascinating subject and provide insight into the psyche of your furry friend.


Why Do Most Scientists Believe Dogs Can’t Cry?

Animal testing on dogs, unfortunately, has been going on for decades, if not centuries. Throughout all the testing, scientists have consistently claimed that dogs cannot cry emotionally-driven tears. They believed that it simply wasn’t possible and that humans are the only species on earth that cry due to heavy emotions.

Recent studies suggest, however, that dogs can indeed cry as humans do. Many people in the scientific community aren’t convinced dogs can cry tears of emotion, and more testing must be performed to determine the answer. If you search the question “Can dogs cry?”, you’ll get some sources that say “yes” and some that say “no.”

german shepherd dog howling in a field of flowers
Image By: Samantha Gould, Shutterstock

Can a Dog’s Eyes Well Up from Emotions?

A recent study concluded that many in the scientific community still don’t believe it is possible. Of course, this was a single study, and more need to be performed. However, it opens up the possibility that dogs cry when they’re emotional.

Interestingly, one connection between welling eyes and emotions in dogs is the hormone oxytocin. Known as the “feel good” hormone, the more oxytocin a dog produces, the more tears it produces. The study suggests that emotionally connected tears might be one of the ways humans and dogs may communicate.

What To Do if Your Dog Appears To Be Crying

If your dog has tears coming out of one eye or both and looks like they’re crying, contact your vet. It might be a sign of an eye health issue that requires veterinary treatment.

It could also mean your pup has something in their eye (a bug, hair, dirt, etc.) and needs help to get it out. If your dog seems to be in pain, a trip to your local emergency vet clinic is vital if you can’t get a regular appointment.

vet examines eye of a dachshund dog
Image By: Duet PandG, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

The emotional responses of dogs are fascinating to study, and we’ll learn more about our canine companions as more studies are performed. Can your pup cry tears of joy, happiness, or sadness, or is the metaphysical connection between tears and emotions not there? For now, we’ll say that dogs may be able to cry like humans. However, more research is required to unequivocally state that canines can cry tears of sadness or joy.

As some research suggests, dogs may cry because of emotions, but maybe not, as has been the scientific theory for many years. Research is ongoing and may someday reveal that you and your dog share this unique, teary-eyed trait.

Featured Image Credit: Grisha Bruev, Shutterstock

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