If you’ve ever watched a sad movie with your furry friend, you’ve likely needed to reach past them for the tissues. This may have led you to wonder: do dogs cry? You’ve seen them with watery eyes. You’ve seen them look pretty down-trodden. However, do dogs cry like humans do? If they mope when you leave them with a kennel instead of a local Dog Minder, will they shed tears?
While the answer is pretty simple, there’s still some interesting things to explore in our conversation about doggy emotions. With that in mind, we’ll answer the question “do dogs cry?” and equip you with some brand new canine knowledge!
First of all, do dogs cry tears? If not, why not?
Humans often look at their dogs through the lens of their own experience, so when we ask the question “Do dogs cry?”, what we’re really asking is: “Do dogs process emotions the same way we do?” To answer that question, let’s first consider what crying does for humans.
It turns out, humans are pretty strange creatures. One of the things that set us apart from all other animals is our ability to cry. Why we do so is a bit of a mystery, but most scientists agree that there are two primary functions of crying.
The first is as a form of communication. Crying signals to other humans that we need some love and support, and you’ve probably even noticed your doggo picking up the signal, too. They’re often the first responders when it comes to their owner’s tears – it’s one of the reasons we love them.
The second reason humans cry is as a stress or emotional relief. Angry tears, happy tears, and sad tears often come up when our brain is just a bit overtaxed emotionally.
Great, so can we get back to the dogs now?
Now that we know the role that crying plays in humans, let’s see how that translates to our furry friends.
Like humans, dogs are social animals. As such, you might be surprised to learn that dogs don’t cry tears as a signal of their sadness. That’s because dogs, and their lupine ancestors, have developed other ways to convey their emotions to the pack.
Wolves, our doggies’ ancestors, use everything from body language, to sounds, to scent, to communicate their feelings. And these forms of communication are pretty effective if you’re a fellow wolf. If you’re a human though? Chances are, you won’t possess a high E.Q. when it comes to reading wolf feelings.
Interestingly, as dogs evolved alongside humans, they developed new ways of communicating things like sadness when those wolf-like signals were lost on their human companions. There’s actually new evidence that suggests that dogs evolved to have more muscles in their face so that they could more effectively communicate with humans. Those sad puppy dog eyes? They’re real, and they’re your pup’s way of telling you: “Hey, I can’t cry, but I still want your attention.”
In addition to the adorable puppy dog face, dogs also have some body language that will show you that they’re not feeling their best. Here are a few of the things to look out for that will tell you that your pup is feeling blue:
What you’re looking for are drastic changes in any of these categories. If, for instance, you have an adult pooch that enjoys a lengthy walk, and all of a sudden they don’t want to stroll more than a block, you may have a sad doggo on your hands.
Do dogs cry? No, but that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate their feelings
The more time that you spend with your pup, the easier it will be to recognise when your dog is not happy. Because while your dog may not have the capacity to shed tears, each dog is equipped with a full set of communication skills that will let you know when they’re sad.
And don’t worry – just because dogs don’t cry doesn’t mean they’re not immune that sad movie that brought on the waterworks for you. They’ll be more than happy to give you plenty of doggy kisses to cheer you up.