Have you ever seen a dog cry?
Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t,
but you’ve likely heard one!
When dogs whimper or whine, we often call it crying, in the same way a human might cry if they’re sad or upset.
The definition of crying is to “shed tears, typically as an expression of distress, pain, or sorrow.”
The jury is still out as to whether or not dogs cry based on the biological definition–
whether or not dogs shed tears to express emotion.
A 2022 study published in Current Biology found that dogs’ tear ducts do fill up with tears when reunited with their guardians after time apart.
Science writer Christie Wilcox reviewed the study:
“Although the animals’ eyes don’t overflow, they well up when they’re reunited with their owners after spending even just hours apart, the researchers found. And they have a hunch as to why: a sudden increase in oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, named for its predominant roles in social bonding.”
Most research so far has mostly focused on the ways in which animal tear ducts are used to clear the eyes of dust and debris.
Otherwise, the word “cry” might be used to refer to a sound.
For example, we may say that eagles “cry,” but we are referring to the specific call that they make.
When a dog whimpers, we call that “crying.”
But whimpering does not necessarily mean the dog is sad.
So what does it mean if a dog whimpers?
Dogs whimper for a few reasons. Some dogs will whimper when greeting a new dog to show that they are submissive and not aggressive. Others might vocalize in this way out of excitement.
As puppies, dogs will whimper to get the attention of their mother and to express that they are hungry.
They’ll whimper when another dog is playing too rough to alert the dog to stop what they’re doing.
And many dogs will whimper when they smell your delicious food! It can be hard to resist “accidentally dropping some crumbs” while cooking if your dog is looking up at you and giving a whimper.
Just make sure you aren’t sharing things that are known to be toxic to dogs such as chocolate, grapes, or onion.
Some foods are okay for dogs to consume in small amounts, but can be deadly in large doses.
Just be sure to do your research before sharing your dinner!
When dogs whimper, it can also indicate that the dog is suffering or in pain.
For example, many dogs experience anxiety and will whimper when they are not in the company of their guardian.
Whimpering could also be a sign that the dog is suffering from a medical issue.
Tears, or any unusual discharge from the eyes, could be an infection, scratch, or other problem, so dogs should be taken to the vet if there is any concern.
Dogs are amazingly empathetic beings.
Dogs are so empathetic, they will adjust their emotions to match humans!
First off, dogs have a super power: they can smell emotions.
Our bodies emit certain chemicals when we feel certain feelings.
And dogs can smell them!
So in 2018, a team of scientists observed how dogs responded to certain smells that corresponded to a particular emotion.
They found that when dogs were exposed to the scent of fear, their body language became more stressed and had higher heart rates compared to when dogs smelled “happy” scents.”
Dogs' emotions will adjust to match humans!
Just like other animals, dogs experience a wide range of emotions.
Dogs feel joy and excitement,
and dogs do suffer.
One of the greatest causes of suffering in dogs: the overpopulation crisis.
Homeless dogs suffer and starve on the streets.
They are vulnerable to disease, and millions are struck by cars every year.
In over 60 countries, there are few or no laws to protect against cruelty,
and dogs are put to death in horrific ways.
That’s why we’re working on the Spay and Neuter Cookie. Once completed, it will offer a safe, effective, and permanent solution to the suffering endured by 600 million stray dogs every single day.
Help us end the Cycle of Suffering! Your contribution can help us rescue more Pilot Pups, hire new scientists, and discover new innovative ingredients to make the Spay and Neuter Cookie a reality.