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Why Do Labradors Cry

If you are a pet owner, you know and understand that your pet has emotions and feelings.  In past research, it has been shown that dogs, like other animals, have different kinds of emotions and that they show emotions and can recognize emotions that even their human owners have.

Why do Labradors cry?  Labradors cry when they are stressed.  These cries can come in the form of whimpering, high sounded barking, and even howling.  Dogs can cry for a variety of reasons, such as when they are feeling anxious or when they are having some type of pain.

When your Labrador is in some type of pain, he or she might cry out, indicating that something is wrong.  Even though the cry is not like a human cry, it is still something that we should notice as their owner and pay attention to the need that your Labrador might have.

Chances are, if your Labrador is truly in pain, he or she will more likely be growling or trying to bite because they do not know another way to show their pain in different emotions.

Another reason that your Labrador might cry is that he or she is anxious or aggravated.  When your Labrador is anxious or aggravated, he or she will show signs of these feelings, such as pinning their tails between their legs or putting their ears back, on top of your dog making a crying noise. 

Some people wonder if their dog is crying because it is sad, and even though we can determine many emotions, it is more by their body language than by how vocal they are being.  If your dog is acting strange or hiding or acting scared, the chances are that you can read these emotions and know what is going on with your Labrador.

Does My Labrador Cry Real Tears?

Dogs do make and produce tears, but their tears are not formed in the expression of emotions like a human being.  Their tears are used like other mammals as a form to help make their eyes stay moist and to be protected.

Since Labrador’s eyes have the same things that people do, such as a lens, the cornea, the sclera, and more, their eyes need to be protected and lubricated.  When your Labrador produces tears, he or she is doing so to keep their eye lubricated so that their eyes can move back and forth in their eye socket, just like a human.

When our eyes get dry, it can be very painful and uncomfortable, and the same goes for your Labrador Retriever.  The fluid in your Labrador’s eyes helps to push fluid to the outer part of the eye.

Are My Labs Eyes Just Like Mine?

Your Labrador’s eyes are very different from your eyes because they have different parts of their eyes compared to humans.  A Labrador Retriever even has a third eyelid that is used to help to protect the eyeball. 

When the body feels that the Lab’s eyes are in danger, such as in a dust storm or when your Labrador is running in the woods, the third eyelid, or the nictitating membrane, moves over the eyeball and the eyeball is then safe.

The nictitating membrane also helps to keep the cornea moist and to allow your Labrador to be able to see better by helping to produce more fluid, which will help keep the Lab’s eyes clear from any type of infection.

Another thing that is different about your Lab’s eyes compared to yours is that a dog has three different glands that help to keep your dog’s eyes wet and clear. 

They include the lacrimal glands, the mucus glands, and the Meibomian glands.  These glands help to not only produce tears, but they also produce a mucus-like liquid that protects the eyes much better than human tears protect our eyes.

When your Labrador blinks, all of the glands mix their moisture together, and it forms a very thick liquid that lubricates the eyes like a cream and not just a thin liquid. 

This liquid is thick and does not evaporate very quickly, giving your dog the protection that he or she needs from the environment around them.

I See My Labrador Crying Tears, is This Normal?

If you look at your Labrador and you see tears streaming down their face, the chances are that you need to take your Labrador and take a trip to the vet.  When your Labrador is producing a lot of tears, the chances are that your Labrador is having some kind of infection.

The tears that your Labrador is producing can be caused by an eye infection or some kind of eye disease.  When your Labrador is producing too many tears, this is called epiphora and can be caused by an eye disorder.

Another reason that you might see tears streaming down your Labradors face could be how the shape of the face and the eyes are. 

Some dogs have eyes that leak tears because their eyes are and faces are shaped differently, and the tears have nowhere to go.  This will generally not be the case for Labradors because Labradors have longer faces and noses.

If you see a brown stain around your Labrador’s eyes, the chances are that you need to take them to the vet so that they can see what is going on with your Labrador. 

Sometimes, because your Labrador has three eyelids, their eyelashes can turn inward or outward and can cause irritation to the eyeball.  When this happens, it can cause your Labrador to make more tears to try to clean out the obstruction.

If your dog has any of the following problems, you need to take them into the vet so that they can see if your Labrador is having a problem:

  • Dark Discharge
  • Sores Under or On the Eyes
  • Red Skin Around the Eyelid
  • Smelly Discharge
  • Crusty Eye Discharge
  • Red Eyes or Eyelids

It is easy to get your Labrador treated if he or she has any type of eye problem, and it is best to go in right away so that your dog can be treated and not have any type of problem.  Even if your Labrador has a bigger problem, the chances are that surgery can fix whatever is going on.

My Vet Said My Labs Eyes Were Great, Why Are They Tearing?

If you have had your Labrador Retriever tested and their eye tests have come back normal, but your Lab’s eyes are still watering more than normal, there could be something small that is going on. 

If you see any of the following, it is important to make sure that you go to your vet and let them do different screening on your Labrador:

  • Allergy Symptoms
  • Something in the Eye
  • Sickness Such as Sinus Problems

Also, some of the problems that your Labrador is experiencing with their eyes could have to do with things such as:

  • Blocked Tear Duct
  • Some Underlying Illness
  • Allergies
  • Pink Eye

Your vet might decide to do an x-ray, or he or she might decide that your Labrador needs to have other tests like a blood test or an MRI. There are many different tests that your vet can perform, and it is best to make sure that there is no illness that is causing your dog to have so much tear production.

How Can I Tell What My Labrador is Feeling?

Since you cannot tell if your Labrador is sad based on tear production, how exactly are you going to know what your Labrador might be feeling?  It is important that you learn to read your Labrador’s body language so that you can better understand what your Labrador is feeling.

If you begin to pay attention to your Labrador, you will find that he or she will show a lot of different behaviors.  Their body language can tell you so much about them, and what they are feeling, all you have to do is pay close attention. 

Your Labrador is able to express their feelings by the look on their faces and by the posture that they hold with their body.  In order to communicate what emotions your Labrador is having, they must figure out a way to communicate with you so that you can understand. 

It is up to you, as their owner, to learn and interpret their feelings and to try and understand what they are trying to tell you.

Learning and understanding what your Labrador is feeling are important so that you are able to help them when they are anxious, scared, mad, or that you can share their joy and excitement as well.

Your Labrador will give you many signs as to what he or she is feeling, and you can tell by certain ways that they stand and certain ways that they look as to what they are feeling at the moment.  Your Labrador will show signs through these body parts:

  • Eyes
  • Facial Expressions
  • Mouth
  • Tail
  • Ears
  • Overall Stance

Eyes

When you look into your Labrador’s eyes, the chances are that you can understand what they are feeling, sometimes even feeling like you can read their mind.  When your Labrador is doing certain things, you can learn about how they are feeling.

If your Labrador is squinting, the chances are that your Labrador is not feeling the best.  Sometimes when they squint, it means that they are in some type of pain, and it could be a good sign to take them to the doctor.

Squinting does not always mean pain, though.  Sometimes, if your Labrador has had a long day, he or she will squint because they are tired, and they are ready to lay down and take a rest. 

If you have a hard time determining which reason your Labrador is squinting, try to look at other body languages to determine if they are just tired or if they are feeling bad.

Wide eyes usually mean that your Labrador is feeling stressed or is scared about something.  Sometimes their wide eyes are followed by a small bark or looking around.  This could indicate that your Labrador is uneasy with what is going on around him or her or that they heard a noise that they didn’t know what it was.

Normal eyes oftentimes mean that your Labrador is happy and content in what is going on around them.  This can be at normal times of play or when just relaxing around the house.  Normal eyes are a great sign that your dog is in his or her happy place, and they are ready to do whatever their master tells them.

Staring directly at you can be a sign that your Labrador is not happy and is going to be aggressive or wants to be in charge.  If this happens, it is important that you note the behavior and try to find out why your dog is feeling aggressive.

Another aggressive behavior is when your Labrador gives you the side-eye.  When he or she looks at you out of the corner of their eyes, it is a sign that they are about to attack or be aggressive.  This look often happens when your Labrador is guarding his favorite toy or bone and does not want to be bothered.

Facial Expressions

Different facial expressions can be expressed by your Labrador Retriever, even when other people cannot understand them. 

If your Labrador makes a tense look or looks away from you when you are looking at him or her, it means that your dog is trying to be kind and non-aggressive. 

This could mean that your Labrador wants to just have a quiet time or to be quietly petted. 

Mouth

Your Labrador’s mouth can tell you a lot about what your Labrador is feeling.  If you pay attention to the teeth and lips of your Labrador, you can learn to read his or her emotions.

If your Labrador’s mouth is only slightly open or if it is closed, the chances are that your Labrador is relaxed.  Your Labrador also might have their mouth open if they have just been out for a run, and they are hot.

An open mouth and panting mean that your dog is happy but hot and tired.

If your Labrador has their teeth showing and its nose is wrinkled, your dog is most likely angry and feeling unhappy about something. 

Sometimes, untrained dogs will bite when they have this look, so it is important that you know and understand how to handle your Lab.

When your Labrador pulls their lip up, and their front teeth are showing, without the snarl or the growl, your Labrador is polite and fun.  This is a time where your Labrador wants to have your attention and wants to play with you. 

During this facial expression, your Lab is trying to show you that he or she is pleased with you and wants you to be pleased as well.

If your Labrador begins smacking their lips, it could mean that they do not like something that they ate or they are nervous. 

Yawning can mean that your Labrador is either tired or that he or she is nervous and is yawning to reliever their personal stress. 

You can tell if your dog is tired by the rest of how their body is.  If they are lying down and yawning, eyes squinted, they are most likely just tired.

Tail

Just because your Labrador is wagging your tail does not mean that he or she is happy.  A wagging tail can mean that your Labrador is happy if it is a slow and calm wag.  If it is a fast wag, it can mean that your Labrador is super excited and that they are happy to see you. 

If your Labrador is wagging its tail slowly, then there is a chance that your Labrador is wagging his or her tail to be dominant and to show that they are in control. 

When your Labrador puts his or her tail between their legs, it means that they are in trouble for doing something they knew that they shouldn’t do or they are nervous. 

Ears

Ears that are high up and pointed means that your Labrador has heard something that is strange to them.  This is a time where our Labrador is most likely relaxed and then senses something new or different.

When the ears are pushed back, it means that your Labrador is most likely afraid of something—having the ears pulled with a slight raise can signal aggression.

Overall Stance

Most people would have a hard time determining what their pet was feeling just by one body part alone. 

It is important that you look at all the different body parts together in order to know what your Labrador is feeling.

Conclusion

Even though Labradors do cry, most of the time, their emotions are based on fear, stress, or being in pain.  With these feelings, your Labrador will make sounds that evoke some kind of emotion.

When Labradors eyes water, they are not crying based on emotions, but it is important to be able to tell what kind of emotions that your Labrador is having at the moment so that you can help to read what they are feeling.