Do Dogs Cry When They Are Sad?

Dogs definitely feel sadness and experience grief. But humans are the only living creatures on earth who shed tears because of our emotions.

But dogs do have tear glands and tear ducts which function to drain the tears back towards the throat and nose and keeps their eyes protected and soothed. 

So if you notice your dog “crying” and the tear fluid is spilling over and even wetting the fur around his eyes, then there is a problem of some kind.

We’ve written before about the causes for tears in dogs, such as blocked tear ducts, allergies, a corneal scratch, infection or foreign body in the eye.

Let’s look a little closer at corneal scratches in dogs. The cornea is the clear layer of tissue that covers your dog’s eye. Just as in humans, this sensitive layer can be scratched, typically by a scratch by a stick or brush or even by a cat.

These scratches to the cornea are very painful and you will probably notice your dog’s eye is red and he’s probably pawing at it. Plus the eye will be watery and tearing.

Fortunately, shallow scratches heal rapidly with treatment. Your veterinarian will likely put a non-toxic dye into the eye to check for damage to the cornea. If a scratch is found, your veterinarian will prescribe medication for the eye and your dog will likely have to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from scratching at the eye with his paws.

If the abrasion is deep or becomes infected, your vet will likely refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist. The important thing to keep in mind is if your dog is showing signs of an eye injury, prompt attention from your veterinarian is essential to prevent complications.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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