Can Dogs Cry? Here’s the whole truth about Dog Tears

Dogs Cry

Can Dogs Cry Tears?

You know people can cry, but can dogs cry? Aside from clinical or physiological issues, human tears result as a response to emotions. Whatever the emotion may be (fear, sorrow, sadness, hate, joy, love), they are all responsible for tears. If you have ever diced and chopped onions while thinking about your long-lost love, you probably already know all there is to know about crying and tears. As a professional in the ‘crying department’, you might conclude that all tears are alike, even dog tears. However, this is not totally true.


Crying Woman 01

It’s fair to say that human tears serve two masters: emotions and ocular physiology.


If you look at Fluffy quietly sitting on your living-room sofa and notice his little beady eyes are wet in tears, you’ll probably think he’s sad, depressed or even in pain. As heartless as it may seem, Fluffy’s tears have nothing to do with his emotional state. As a matter of fact, he’s feeling very happy but something is probably causing him an eye irritation. 

Maltese Epiphora 01


Probable causes of  Teary Eyes in Dogs

Dogs like humans possess tear ducts that are there to help lubricate their eyes. Dogs can also suffer from eye discharge, watery eyes, and dry eyes. If you notice chronic eye discharge or runny eyes, this can be a symptom of eye infection and should not be overlooked.  Possible causes include but are not limited to tear duct obstruction, dry eyes, conjunctivitis, eye irritation and corneal damage.  Epiphora is the clinical term used to describe persistent watery eyes. This fluid will eventually irritate the skin surrounding the eye.  Eye discharge will usually stain the dog’s fur with a reddish brown color as well. 


poodle Epiphora 02

Reddish-brown stain caused by eye discharge (Image via: tengrrl)


Allergies may also trigger watery eyes. In many cases, household cleaning products, cigarette smoke, dust even smog can cause your pet ocular discomfort.  Prolonged eye drainage will eventually cause irritation, bad odors, even infection.  In any case, if you notice your pet has unusual wetness and teary eyes, you are encouraged to visit the Vet for proper diagnosis.


Humans drain their tears through the lacrimal punctum. A small conduct that connects with the mouth and nose. That’s why you get a runny nose when you cry. Similarly, dogs have small holes (puncta) that drain tears from the eye down to their nose and throat. Obstruction of these small holes, in fact, is responsible for epiphora

Tear Ducts 01

Tear Ducts in Human Eyes – lacrimal punctum (Image via: Wikipedia)


Some breeds are more prone to eye discharge than others. The anatomy of the skull and shape of the face (mostly flat faced dogs) are also influencing factors. Furthermore, length and type of hair surrounding the eye, ingrown hairs, and abnormal eyelashes will most likely play definite roles in causing epiphora.


These Dogs Cry the Most – Breeds Prone to Eye Discharge

Purebred dogs whose facial anatomy make them prone to eye discharge (epiphora) include:

Bichon Frice and Lhasa Apso - do these dogs cry?

Boxer and Bulldog - do these dogs cry?

Bloodhound and Spaniels - do these dogs cry?

Pug - Great Dane - do these dogs cry?

Shih Tzu and Poodle - do these dogs cry?

Pekingese and Boston Terrier - do these dogs cry?


This article is not meant to be a scientific paper on why dogs cry. We just want to provide a simple explanation of how tears affect dogs. We hope you found it helpful. Please share and give us a Like on Facebook and other Social Media.

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