Why Do Dogs Cry? All About Pets' Emotions

There's a reason behind every emotion that your pet expresses. Let's break down the warning signs so that you can get to the bottom of your dog's sadness
Why Do Dogs Cry? All About Pets' Emotions

Last update: 22 February, 2018

Few things give us as much sadness like seeing our dogs cry. But sometimes they do so for no apparent reason. Your dog was so calm– and then suddenly he begins to howl. What are the reasons why dogs cry?

These may vary with a dog’s age, but we believe that there are at least five main reasons why they cry. It hurts to hear their cries, because we believe that there is something that we are doing wrong, but nothing is farther from reality.

For your information and peace of mind, here are the five reasons.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Cry

It is normal to misunderstand a dog’s behaviors because we try to compare them to ours. What does a human do when he is not at ease, or when something causes him pain? We cry. But that doesn’t mean that these are also reasons why dogs cry.

Dogs, unlike people, do not secrete tears, and do not weep when they are sad or something hurts them. Just like barking, dogs cry as a means of communication.

What they do have is a great capacity for association. That is why it is possible that if your dog cries a lot, he has related it with being cared for or receiving affection. He may continue to do it to attract attention.

These are the main reasons why dogs cry:

He misses his family

Puppies are the kings of crying. One of the main reasons why they do this is because they want to be with their family. When a puppy is born, there is a process called imprinting that forces caregivers to keep the puppies with their mother and siblings for the first two months, so that they can develop socialization skills.

For this reason, a small puppy is likely to spend the night crying. There are three things we can do.

  1. If you see the puppies sleep with their mothers and siblings, you’ll notice that they’re snuggling. Therefore, if the puppy sees nothing near his body that makes him feel protected, he will cry. Give him a blanket to snuggle with, or take him to your bedroom, if you wish. 
  2. A clock that ticks every second may help calm the animal.
  3. Find a large stuffed animal bigger than the dog, and put it on his bed so that he can lie next to it and feel snug.


There are many things that can make a dog afraid. For example, moving to a new place, outside noises, staying somewhere else while his owner is on vacation, going to the vet, or staying alone.

Normally, this happens as the dog when the dog becomes more integrated into the family, or when the owner returns to get him.


Each dog has a way of communicating with his owners. For example, when they are hungry, many opt to go to the food dish and move it with their paws in order to make noise and make their owners understand that they need food or water.

Nevertheless, others choose to cry. As a rule, they will do it near the place where they normally eat.

Pain or illness

If a dog is unwell, he can communicate this to others by crying and howling. The best thing to do in this case is to take him to the vet if you notice he looks unwell. A visit to the vet is imperative, especially if you are sure there has been no other changes in his life to cause him to cry.

On some occasions, to manipulate others

As we said earlier, dogs can associate behaviors with consequences. If you are used to soothing your dog’s cries with games or by petting him, the animal knows this, and will cry to get your attention.

The only way to eliminate this is through professional training.

Remember, no one knows your dog and can understand why he cries better than you. 

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.