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You know that your dog feels emotions. Dogs are sensitive animals, prone to joy, fear, sadness, and a range of other emotions. And, of course, like most mammals, dogs have tear ducts. So, is there a connection between a dog’s brain and their tear ducts? No.

While canines express needs and wants vocally, there is no scientific evidence proving that dogs, or any other animals, actually produce tears as a response to what they’re feeling. We seem to be the only species capable of breaking into emotional tears.

Reasons For Dog Tears

What know that dogs can have empathetic, compassionate responses when we find ourselves wiping tears away and snuffling into a tissue. An interesting study shows that comforting may be hardwired into dogs.

Dogs use a number of vocalizations to express themselves. Puppies learn to whine or whimper to get their mother’s attention. This behavior often carries into adulthood. Your dog may let you know they need something — food, water, a potty break, or just a friendly pat — by “crying.”

Pug laying down indoors looking sad.
claudiodoenitzperez/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

We’ve all fallen for the sad gaze and heartbreaking whimper. But if your dog’s eyes are tearing or you see traces of fluid, something else could be going on. Tear ducts keep the eyes clean and functioning correctly. Unlike in humans, however, the liquid drains back toward the throat and nose.

So, what does it mean if your dog seems to be crying?

  • They may have allergies. If they have a sensitive or allergic reaction to something — pollen, food ingredients, smoke, dander, or dust, for example — their eyes may water.
  • They might have a blocked tear duct, which causes their dog’s eyes to be damp and possibly irritated.
  • Wet eyes can also be caused by infection. If the fluid is yellow or bloody, this could be a symptom of an eye infection. Other symptoms include irritated or swollen eyes.
  • There could be a speck of dirt in their eye. The tears, in this case, should be temporary. If not, consult your vet.
  • They may have a scratched cornea, which is more common in active dogs. They might also paw at their eye, blink more than usual, or have inflammation around the eye.

There are many different causes for excessive watering of the eyes in dogs, so it’s imperative to consult your veterinarian for an official diagnosis.

If by crying we mean whimpering, howling, mewling, or whining, then yes, dogs most certainly do cry. But only in humans are tears mysteriously connected to our hearts and brains.

This article is intended solely as general guidance, and does not constitute health or other professional advice. Individual situations and applicable laws vary by jurisdiction, and you are encouraged to obtain appropriate advice from qualified professionals in the applicable jurisdictions. We make no representations or warranties concerning any course of action taken by any person following or otherwise using the information offered or provided in this article, including any such information associated with and provided in connection with third-party products, and we will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages that may result, including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.

Related article: Why Is My Dog Whining?
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