Dogs cry for several reasons that include anxiety and hunger. Dogs do not shed tears like humans when they are upset or agitated. They express their emotions through high-pitched whining and moaning that is often accompanied by trembling.
Dogs also whine and cry when they interact with new people or unfamiliar animals, as their anxiety leads them to take on a submissive stance. In stressful situations, a dog's whine is considered an involuntary response. Dogs also whine and cry when they are in pain or have become ill, so it is important for dog owners to take their pets to the veterinarian if the whining starts suddenly and occurs for an extended period of time.
A common behavior for dogs is to whine when they are trying to appease their owners, typically following a scolding or punishment. Appeasing behaviors include tail tucking, rolling over on the back and an avoidance of eye contact. Since dogs do not shed watery tears when they are expressing emotion, a watery discharge emitting from a dog's eyes typically points to clogged tear ducts. This condition is referred to as epiphora and can lead to irritation of the skin as well as reddish-brown patches around the eyes.