Crying in Dogs

Why is my dog crying?

What is Crying?

Crying, also called vocalizing, is totally normal in dogs. The way they vocalize depends on their mood and what they are trying to say. For instance, whining may be a sign of fear or pain, yelping is usually a sign of surprise or shock, and whining and wagging his tail usually means he is excited and happy to see you. In addition, your dog may whine to get your attention because he is bored or wants something. However, if your dog is crying all the time, there may be something else going on. Some of the most common reasons for crying include:

  • Anxiety or fear
  • Attention
  • Excitement
  • Pain

You may hear your dog cry in different ways all day long, which is normal as long as it is not continuous. But, if you notice he is just constantly whining without stopping, or if you see any other abnormal behavior, you should see your veterinarian.

Why Crying Occurs in Dogs

There are many things that can be causing your dog to cry, but the most common include:

Anxiety or Fear

Your dog may cry when he is anxious or afraid of something like thunderstorms, other dogs or people, loud noises, and vacuum cleaners. In addition to crying, your dog may also show his anxiety and fear with other signs such as:

  • Growling
  • Flattening ears
  • Backing away
  • Barking
  • Tucking his tail between his legs
  • Lowering his head
  • Panting
  • Showing his teeth
  • Running away


Dogs are like children; they test your boundaries constantly if you let them. If your dog figures out that whining and crying will get you to pay attention to him, he will continue to do it. For example, if you automatically pat your dog on the head and ask “what’s wrong” every time he cries, he is probably going to do that whenever he wants you to pay attention to him. If you know your dog is not in pain or sick, he may just want some attention. But you cannot continue to allow this unless you want to encourage that behavior.


One of the most common reasons dogs whine is when they are excited. In fact, when you come home after what seems like forever to your dog (maybe only an hour or two), your dog may wag his tail and whine just to show how excited he is to see you. If this bothers you, or if he is doing it to guests when they come over as well, you should take steps to reduce this crying with obedience training.


If your dog’s crying is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or vomiting, he may be in pain. Some of the most common causes of pain in dogs are injury, infection, intestinal blockages, bloat, and osteoarthritis. It can be from an injury or illness so it is best to take him to the veterinarian if you see any of the following symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in behavior
  • Sleeping more or less than usual

What to do if your Dog is Crying

During periods of anxiety or fear for your dog, you should speak softly and calmly, telling him it is okay. Try to remove him from the situation or distract him. Pet him and make eye contact while speaking softly to him, repeating his name several times. This is a normal occurrence when your dog is frightened or anxious, but if it becomes constant or severe, ask your veterinarian if he may need some anxiety medication.

If your dog is excited, give him the something else to focus on to get him to forget about the whining. Do not yell at him or discipline him in any way or you will reinforce the behavior.

When your dog is seeking attention, crying may be one of the easiest ways for him to get you to see him. Even if you just yell at him or tell him to be quiet, that is paying attention to him and will reinforce the behavior. Pretty soon he will be crying every time he gets bored or wants something. Your best bet is to ignore him when he does this but make sure you pay attention to him when he finally does decide to be quiet.

If you believe your dog may be in pain or sick, you should take him to see a veterinary professional as soon as possible.

Prevention of Crying

You can prevent most crying from anxiety by keeping your dog prepared for situations that you know cause him anxiety or fear. For example, if he cries from anxiety when there are thunderstorms, prepare him by keeping him busy playing a game of fetch or maybe turning the music or television up during the storm. If this does not work and the problem is severe, talk to your veterinarian about giving him a tranquilizer when storms are in the area.

Preventing your dog from crying for attention is as simple as ignoring him when he does it. Do not let him know that it bothers you. When he finally stops crying; you should praise him for being quiet.  

Crying when excited is common and natural for dogs. This is how they show emotion, and as long as it is not constant or continues for a long time, you do not have to do anything to stop him.

Crying in pain is natural as well, and you need your dog to do this to let you know he needs you. It is his way of telling you he is sick or in pain.

Cost of Crying

The cost for crying in dogs depends on the reason for his crying. If it is nothing more than attention, fear, or excitement it should not cost you anything but time. If you decide to visit an expert on thunderstorm phobia for example, the price for therapy may range around $450, depending on your pet’s response to treatment, However, if your dog has a medical condition, the cost can be anywhere up to $10,000, depending on the condition.

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Crying Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Boston Terrier




10 Years


3 found this helpful


3 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Yelping, Shivering
our dog has started high pitch yelping and shivering. he did this once before and it just stopped. this time it seems a lot worse. early in the morning when he first wakes up he is alright. he will play with our other dog but as time goes on he seems to get worse. we first suspected an earache. now we're thinking stomach trouble. he is very spoiled and has separation anxiety. but he does this when both me and my wife are present.

April 17, 2018

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

3 Recommendations

Without being able to examine Gizzy, i have a hard time saying what might be going on, but arthritis and joint pain are quite common as dogs age, and it would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian to see if there is a physical cause for this behavior. I hope that everything goes well for him.

April 18, 2018

Was this question and answer helpful?

Rottie Shepherd




10 Years


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My dog Max is 10 years old he is a rottie/German Shepard mix he is 200 lbs. Recently he has started crying only when he sees me go up the stairs to go to bed. He h as eaten went out to the bathroom and has water. I have gotten back up two more times to let him out. He just looks at me I go upstairs and he cries again. What do I do?

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