It is time to get the 'doggone' truth behind a fascinating question -- can dogs cry? We know they can whimper when they are stressed or really happy, but can they cry emotional tears like humans can?
You might have seen the viral picture of a 'sad dog' circulating social media. The website Animal Channel interviewed the shelter volunteer who posted the picture, and she explained the dog -- a female pit bull -- was a rescue dog at the Charlotte SPCA. The volunteer said the dog was very upset. She had just been surrendered and separated from her puppies. But was she really crying from her grief?
To VERIFY, we consulted both the American Kennel Club and Greensboro veterinarian Dr. Janine Oliver.
Experts have long debated whether dogs can cry emotional tears. The American Kennel Club says there is not enough scientific evidence to prove it, and if a dog is tearing up, he or she might have allergies, an eye infection or blocked tear duct.
We weren't completely convinced, so we called Dr. Oliver at Benessere Animal Hospital in Greensboro. She explained there are three kinds of tears. Basil tears lubricate all mammals' eyes, reflex tears help clear irritants from eyes, and stress tears are emotional tears created by a chemical cascade from your brain to your eyes.
Humans can produce stress tears, but can dogs?
Dr. Oliver said, "I personally have witnessed a couple dogs that I thought were doing stress or emotional pain tears, but it's not common, and there's not a good way to prove it. So, it is just those of us who have experienced it and know the other causes. We are very suspicious it happens."
We can VERIFY experts have split opinions on whether dogs can cry emotional tears. It is unethical to try to trigger an emotional response in dogs, so the phenomenon is difficult to study. But, Dr. Oliver thinks it is possible the dog in the viral picture was so upset, she was indeed crying.
Don't worry -- the beautiful dog did get adopted, and her adoption photo with her new family shows her acting much happier. Hopefully, no more tears and happily ever after are in store for this sweet girl.
Picture Courtesy: Sarah Jennings Sleime