While human crying is a sign of emotion, dogs have other ways of showing sadness. Changes in behavior, including lethargy, loss of interest, or a lessened appetite may indicate that your dog is feeling down. Excessive tearing, however, is not a sign of sadness in dogs. Tear issues and dog tear stains indicate medical issues. Your pet's veterinarian can help diagnose what's causing the issue and guide you in treating dog tear issues.
Dog tear stains and tearing
Unlike humans, who cry to express emotion, dog tears are there solely to keep a dog's eyes moistened. If you see tears rolling out of your dog's eyes and are wondering what's causing dog tear stains, it's not an emotional reaction. Tearing in dogs can be a sign of allergies, illness, or another health condition.
Excessive tearing in dogs can be caused by a reaction to a contaminant or foreign body in the eye, such as dust, or another irritant, such as a clogged tear duct or an infection. It may also be a sign of conjunctivitis, corneal inflammation, Uveitis, or eyelid or tear gland abnormalities. When it comes to your dog, tears are a reason to contact your veterinarian, who will determine the cause and proper treatment.
If tears drip outward or you notice crusty brown tear stains or redness around the eye, it's a sign of a medical issue. Also contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has tears that are yellow, if the tears contain mucus or blood, or if you see any swelling around the eye.
Treating dog tear issues
Dog tear stains may be caused by a variety of factors, including poor-quality food or water or improper daily hygiene. Adding a probiotic to your dog's food, like buttermilk or organic apple cider vinegar, can help reduce the incidence of tear stains.
Choosing a higher-quality dog food with a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates is key to helping your canine remain in optimal health. Avoid food with byproducts, artificial coloring, artificial flavors, wheat, soy, or preservatives.
The veterinarian will run a series of tests to diagnose the cause of your dog's tear issues. Surgery or eye ointment may be required to treat the issue. Only use eye medication prescribed by your veterinarian to treat your dog.
How dogs express sadness
Since they don't use tears to tell us they're sad, dogs have other ways of expressing this emotion. If dogs are upset or depressed, their body language will show it. They may lose interest in things they enjoy, like a game of fetch, or may want to be closer to their humans, acting clingy and needy. They may also act withdrawn or afraid and have lethargy and loss of appetite.
Dogs who go through a major change in the home, such as the loss of a family member or a change in routine or structure, may exhibit signs of sadness. These symptoms can also be indicative of illness or chronic pain, so keep a close eye on your pet and contact your veterinarian if you notice these types of changes in your canine.
While depression or sadness can be a short-term issue in dogs, some will need help dealing with a traumatic past. A behavioral expert can help you learn to care for your dog's emotional health. Depression or anxiety medication could also alleviate your dog's mental health issues.