Can Dogs Cry Tears?

by Elle Di Jensen
Your dog may shed a tear or two, but they're not from emotion.

Your dog may shed a tear or two, but they're not from emotion.

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Your dog is a sympathetic friend, sharing all your joys and sorrows. For all the compassion she shows you, though, you might ask yourself if you've ever seen her cry emotional tears. Emotional crying is an action that tends to be associated with humans. Still, dogs do experience emotions and have been known to grieve, but not necessarily by shedding tears.

Yes ... and No

According to the "Chihuahua Handbook", some Chihuahua owners are certain their Chis cry actual tears when they're upset. You may have seen your dog's eyes become a bit watery if someone stepped on her paw, but it isn't an emotional response like the tears you shed when you're sad. Dogs can shed tears, but typically it is caused by a medical or health issue.

Causes of Tears

Your dog's tearing could have a number of causes. Allergies will cause a dog's eyes to water, just like humans'. Blocked tear ducts don't allow the tears that are naturally produced with each blink of your dog's eyes to drain properly, so they'll to spill over the lid and run down her face instead. An infection, a speck of dirt in her eye and a scratched cornea are possible causes for your dog to tear up.

Severe Symptoms to Watch for

A tear or two once in awhile is nothing to become overly concerned about, but if your dogs eyes are constantly watering you should have the vet examine her to determine if there is a serious issue causing the problem. If your dog's eyes are secreting more than clear tears, the discharge is yellow, mucusy or bloody and her eye is swollen or irritated, something serious is wrong and medical treatment is necessary.

Cleaning Dried Tears

If your dog sheds a few tears now and then, when they dry on the fur around her eyes and nose they'll leave a bit of film. This won't hurt your dog, but it can make your dog look as if she hasn't been groomed in awhile, especially if dirt or other debris gets on her face and dries to her hair with the tears. You can safely wash away tear residue from around your dog's eyes with a damp washcloth. Be careful to avoid the eyes themselves, but gently wipe the area around her eyes clean, speaking softly and reassuring her as you do so. If you give her a treat immediately afterward, she will be more likely to sit still for a face-washing the next time around.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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