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Do Dogs Cry When They Are Sad?

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Most frequently, we think of dogs as cheerful, carefree animals that wag their tails and roll onto their backs to have their bellies stroked. You know, all signals of happy and loving conduct. But as any attentive pet owner knows, dogs have other emotions, too. They may be scared—maybe if there’s a perceived danger like fireworks or a thunderstorm—and they can become snappy—why did you tread on my tail?!—and just like humans, they seem to experience melancholy, too. But do dogs cry?

“Dogs are incredibly emotional creatures,” Daniel Caughill, co-founder of Dog Tale, says. Barking, wagging their tails and licking the people they love are common signs of excitement and happiness in dogs. But regrettably, possessing emotions means dogs suffer grief, too.”

But whereas dogs sense grief, the manner a dog “cries” isn’t always the same way a person does. If we’re discussing tears, there’s a bit of a difference in how this species communicates its displeasure. Is it accurate to say that dogs do cry, then? Here’s what the experts say.

Do dogs cry?

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Basset hound (Image Credit: Getty Images)

No… and yeah. Dogs can “cry,” but this doesn’t necessarily imply that their eyes shed tears… certainly not because of their emotions.

“As you may have witnessed in your own pet, dogs do cry in the sense that they can shed tears,” says Dr. Genna Mize, staff technical service veterinarian in support of the pharmacovigilance team at Virbac Animal Health. “However, humans are regarded to be the only animals who cry tears of emotion.”

Dogs don’t cry as people do when they are sad; instead, they whimper.

“Signs that your dog is sad include vocalizations, such whimpering or whining, as well as demonstrating a lack of energy or interest in items they typically adore, including favorite treats or toys,” Caughill explains. “Dogs may also exhibit their mood on their face by narrowing their eyes or concealing their face from you.”

Cauhill says, “However, even if you hear your dog crying, don’t expect to see tears. Dog tear ducts operate for typical causes, such as cleaning away dirt and other irritants from the eyes. Dogs, on the other hand, do not shed tears in reaction to their feelings.”

In reality, “crying” in the form of shedding tears is completely human business. The tears that dogs and other animals shed have nothing to do with their emotions; they result from emotional causes.

“Only humans cry tears when they are sad,” Dr. Oscar Chavez, veterinarian and Chief Medical Officer and founding CEO of JustFoodForDogs LLC, tells Parade. “Dog tears, however, may be an indication of anything wrong in the eyes: discharge, conjunctivitis or infections, allergies, or corneal ulcers or scratches.”

What Do Dogs Do When They Are Sad?

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Close-Up Portrait Of Dog Peeking Through Fence (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Lower eating, whining and whimpering, decreased activity levels, and loss of interest in toys and other favorite things are all possible symptoms that your dog is feeling sad. But Dr. Bonnie Beaver, veterinary behaviorist and professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, advises that even these behavior changes may not be symptoms of grief.

The problem is just as likely to be a medical one as an emotional one, Beaver says. A dog’s emotional reaction to a scheduled shift or a new family member may be comparable to that of a dog with an upset stomach or an injured paw.

Beaver says your veterinarian may prescribe antidepressants if dog depression is suspected as the reason for the behavior change after ruling out all other medical concerns. You may also attempt to raise their happiness by taking them on a walk or a trip to the dog park, participating in pleasant interactions like petting and games, and providing their favorite foods.

We know that dogs experience grief even if they don’t physically cry or emit tears. If you see any changes in your dog’s behavior, be sad to consult your veterinarian.

As Beaver points out, “changes in behavior could be a clue that something isn’t right in their environment.”

More on Dog Emotions

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Bonzo (Image Credit: Getty Images

That’s not to imply our dogs are continually pulling pranks on us; it’s just another reminder that we can never be 100 percent confident of what our dogs are experiencing. Despite this, we can typically comprehend their messages and reply. This is the primary source of our link with the canine species, one that’s obviously emotional. As a result of their delight, interest, and love for us, we flourish. And in ours, they’re growing.

We also know that dogs will produce odd and distinct vocalizations if they sense their owners have been physically hurt in some manner. This shows that dogs can feel and express their own emotions and may even be able to empathize with people.

We’re back to projecting our innermost thoughts and feelings onto others.

Whether dogs genuinely sense compassion, as humans perceive it, is undoubtedly another topic. Regardless of the explanation, one of the main reasons they’ve won us over entirely is their ability to perceive our discomfort and bring consolation.

Also Read: 10 odd sharks in the world.
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