Do Dogs Cry? What Do Dogs’ Tears Mean?

Does your dog have tears in its eyes? Dogs may whine or howl, but they don’t shed tears to communicate emotion. So why do dogs cry? Several factors can bring tears to your dog’s eyes, but it isn’t sadness.

A crying dog is actually a sign of a health concern. We’ll explain the different causes that bring tears to their eyes. And we’ll offer some tips to help your crying dog manage their tears if they become a problem. If you notice tears coming from your dog’s eyes, you may want to call your vet to rule out any major health issues.

The Top Reasons Why Dogs Cry

These are the most common reasons your dog may have tears:


Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to allergies. If your dog has a particularly sensitive nose, they may develop seasonal allergies, food allergies, or even sensitivity to soaps and chemicals.

Common symptoms of dog allergies include:

  • Hives,
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation

If you think your dog might have allergies, you’ll want to contact your vet to identify the allergen and get a prescribed treatment if needed. Some allergens you can avoid, but others may worsen without treatment.

Eye Infection

If your dog’s tears are yellow, bloody, or mucusy instead of clear, your dog may have an eye infection. Unfortunately, there are many ways your dog can develop an eye infection, and it’s often a symptom of a bigger issue. Possible causes of an eye infection for dogs may include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungus Spores
  • Parasites
  • Scratch or Cut on the eye
  • Trauma

Other symptoms of an eye infection include:

  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Swelling around the eye
  • Watery discharge
  • Thick, smelly discharge from the eye
  • Excessive blinking or squinting
  • Keeping eye closed
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pawing at the eye

If your dog shows symptoms of an eye infection, you need to call your veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. An eye infection is not something you can treat at home. You’ll need the proper medication to get rid of it.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Known as Epiphora, blocked tear ducts allow tears to drip out the eye instead of draining to the nasal area. The most common causes of Epiphora is poor eyelid function from a deformity or blockage in the nasolacrimal ducts.

Common symptoms of blocked tear ducts include:

  • Dampness or wetness below the eyes
  • Reddish-brown stains on the fur below the eyes
  • Foul Odor
  • Skin infection
  • Tear-like discharge from the eyes

If your dog shows symptoms of a blocked tear duct, you’ll want to contact your veterinarian. Your dog will need a procedure where the duct is flushed or enlarged through surgery to treat Epiphora.



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