Are dogs crying tears of sorrow when they tear up?

OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 08: Black and tan Jack Russell terrier pedigree puppy lying in his bed, England, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 08: Black and tan Jack Russell terrier pedigree puppy lying in his bed, England, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) /

As animal lovers, we look to the little furry ones we adopt as an extension of ourselves; they are family members to depend on us and in turn get us through. We love them and they show that they love us in many ways, but today we’ll try to answer a question many have asked themselves: Are dogs crying tears of sorrow when they tear up?

Animals feel. Across the board they feel. That is obvious. It’s why dogs whine; it’s why cats meow, it’s why cows moo well into the sunny afternoon, but many have wondered if the tears they see in a dog’s eyes mean the very same thing they mean when we human beings tear up when something tears at the old heartstrings….maybe at the end of Titanic… “I’ll never let go, Jack…”

As it turns out, there are in fact two schools of thought, and today we’ll be looking at both of them and in the end draw our own conclusions. Because hey…we can’t believe what scientists tell us verbatim…freedom of thought plays a part in the development of this earth after all, and even its demise, and even how we can hopefully turn it all around before the end.

Whoa…pretty cryptic I know, but we are talking about tears here, sadness, and if dogs feel it the same way we do…that emotion, aren’t we?

We are indeed, so why not go with it and collectively shed a tear for the sad things that are happening to this planet…the climate and all. And if your dog suddenly sits next to you with tears in his or her own eyes, then you will undoubtedly have the answer to the question this article poses.

Let’s have it then… Is your dog crying tears of sorrow when he or she tears up?

Well, the first theory comes at us from the American Kennel Club, and they suggest that if your dog is crying then it probably means something entirely different from why we humans cry. According to their report, tears have a special purpose and that’s keeping the eyes clean and free of debris, so according to them, your dog is tearing up perhaps because of the following reasons:

An allergic reaction, a blocked tear duct, an infection unfortunately, a scratched cornea perhaps and there may be debris in his or her eye as well….

So there you have it, but there are of course other theories…

According to Daniel Caughill, who co-founded The Dog Tale, said the following:

"“Dogs are extremely emotional creatures…Most of the time, they’re excited and happy, and they show it by barking, wagging their tails, and licking the people they love. But unfortunately, having emotions means dogs experience sadness, too…Signs that your dog is sad include vocalizations, like whimpering or whining, as well as showing a lack of energy or interest in things they normally love, like favorite snacks or toys…Dogs may also show their emotion on their face by squinting their eyes or hiding their face from you….However, even if you hear your dog crying, don’t expect to see tears. Dog tear ducts activate for normal reasons, such as washing away debris and other irritants from the eyes. But dogs don’t tear up in response to their emotions.”via"

Veterinarian Dr. Genna Mize had the following to add:

"“As you might have observed in your own pet, dogs do cry in the definition that they can shed tears…However, humans are thought to be the only animals that cry tears of emotion.”via (link above)"

So in the end the scientific contingent feels that perhaps the reason for those tears is only based on other physical factors, as explained above, but what do you think dear readers?

As it turns out though, there is a specific member of the scientific community that believes that there’s more to it than just that. A recent study showed that during reunions with a loved one, the volume of tears that showed up in dogs included in the study was larger in quantity than it is in times like the above specified physical reasons…An allergic reaction, a blocked tear duct, an infection, etc..

Jessica Meekins, who is associate professor of veterinary ophthalmology at Kansas State University, had this to say about it all:

"“In veterinary ophthalmology, we typically have a cutoff for what we would consider excessive tearing. And to me, that objective number would be a good launching off point for researchers like this to kind of establish (what is) truly significant…It would be interesting to know, rather than just the volume component, whether those tears contain similar molecules to what’s been identified in people in certain studies and in trying to investigate why we cry…”via (link above)"

Doesn’t it seem possible that your pet is crying tears of sadness when he or she is staring out there at the road from his or her spot at the window…thinking of days gone by, the days ahead, his or her love for you…his or her thoughts of a departed family member he or she doesn’t see around anymore and doesn’t understand why…?

To me, as an animal lover it seems more than possible and how. So call me unscientific if you will, but in the end I believe that they do share our capability for crying when sad.

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What about you, dear readers? Do you think dogs cry tears of sorrow? Let us know.