Can dogs cry?

April 13, 2012

A dog would revel in the attention, care and love of its human family. In return, the dog will be a most devoted and loyal companion… one that will share with the happiness and one that will provide comfort when its people are feeling down. A dog licking the tears off its master’s face would be a painfully touching scene. We know that dogs are intelligent animals. These creatures may not be gifted with the ability to talk and to voice out what they feel but a dog owner, especially a sensitive and discerning one would swear to the pet’s ability to make its people know what it wants and what it feels through its body language. Dog experts tell us that canines are capable of displaying emotions. But can dogs cry? Some owners have noticed their pets to have teary eyes; others have actually seen tears flow. Tear stains are common concerns of owners of dogs competing in dog beauty shows. Dogs have tear ducts… they are capable of shedding tears but whether the tears are associated with emotion or with a disorder is up for debate.

Dogs are emotionally complex creatures. Dogs have feelings and these feeling are constantly displayed. Notice how a dog would show its happiness when the owner comes. The pricked ears, the tail that is wagging non-stop and the drawn back lips that signify a smile are signs of the dog’s happiness. Again, notice how the dog would have a sheepish look whenever it is reprimanded for filching food from the kitchen counter and later would follow the master like a shadow to make amends. Dogs can sulk as well. This behavior is seen if the master favors another pet.

Similar to barking, dogs are predisposed to whining and crying. Crying is different from barking. A crying dog would make a somewhat pitiful sound. Dogs whine and cry for a number of reasons. The dog may be trying to tell you that it is uncomfortable, hungry or in pain. Crying is more often noticed in puppies that are separated from their mothers. The new home, an unfamiliar routine as well as being parted from its siblings would cause a puppy to cry all night. Some dog experts believe that canines have no emotions and that the whining and the crying are manifested simply to gain attention. However, this notion was refuted by stories regarding dogs that have cried and howled for its departed master. Dogs are very sensitive creatures. It can empathize with the feelings of its human family.

Scientists believe that canines are capable of producing tears but unlike humans, dogs don’t shed emotional tears. The tears on the dog’s eyes can be due to a stressful situation or due to a medical concern. Dogs weighed down with severe pain are noticed to have teary eyes. The moisture in the eyes can be due to a medical concern. Excessive tearing can be due to a clogged tear duct. A surgical procedure is necessary to irrigate the clogged ducts. A dog may be born with a closed tear duct. Again, a surgical procedure will correct this disorder.

No dog owner would want to have a pet that is a “cry baby”. However, some breeds would have the penchant to yelp and to cry for no apparent reason. A concerned owner would not turn a deaf ear to the pet’s crying. The crying has to be stopped but not with punishment. A soothing voice, a hug would be more calming and effective than harshly given reprimands.

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