Why Do Golden Retrievers Cry? What Their Tears Mean [9 Reasons]

We all relate dogs to emotions; that’s a no-brainer, as these creatures have a great ability to express their emotions and evoke yours.

We see golden retrievers wagging their tails, running around, or looking at us with irresistible puppy eyes; but what about when they don’t feel so cheerful?

Can Golden Retrievers Cry? Golden retrievers cannot cry through shedding tears, they whimper to indicate grief; tears are the result of overactivity of the tear ducts, which can be induced by epiphora. When the tear ducts get clogged, your dog’s tears will run down his face, but tears are no indication that the dog is sad.

You might be wondering why your Golden Retriever continues whimpering or crying and what you can do about it. Continue reading to learn about frequent causes and what you can do to avoid them.

Can Golden Retrievers cry? 

sad golden retriever to explain why do golden retrievers cry

Although dogs are weirdly similar to humans in so many ways, crying is not one of them; to express our sadness, we cry, shedding tears, while in the case 

Why do golden retrievers Cry? 9 Reasons

Here are 9 Reasons why Golden Retrievers Cry

Unsettling noises

It’s possible that your golden retrievers hear noises it doesn’t like late at night. This is more likely if he/she only screams on specific evenings or while being in a specific room.

Separation Anxiety

It might be that your golden retriever suffers from separation anxiety. This is when he/she does not want to be left alone for a long period of time and becomes worried when left alone. If he/she sleeps in a separate room than you, this is more likely. You’ll notice that when he/she acts up when you’re about to leave.

You’ve been encouraging the behavior

It’s also possible that you’ve been inadvertently supporting the behavior with rewards that you enforced it. 

If you reward it with toys, sweets, or additional attention when your dog cries, they will most likely repeat the behavior in order to receive more rewards.

Presence of other animals 

It’s possible that it’s because there are other creatures in the yard that your Golden Retriever may see or hear. If you’ve seen or heard other animals at night, or if there is evidence of them being in the backyard at night.

They could also be not totally okay with your new pets. You can learn how to introduce your golden retrievers to your new pets here.

Time to go potty

It’s possible that your golden retriever is whimpering because they feel like they need to go; This is a way of convincing you to let him/her out.

If your Golden Retriever needs to urinate frequently during the night and is not a puppy, it might be a sign of sickness. In this instance, the best course of action is to take it to a veterinarian

​Allergic Reactions 

Allergies cause tears in your eyes, and your canine companion is no exception. This might include smoking, pollen, dust, and other contaminants. If you suspect an allergy, you should see a veterinarian right once.

Scratched Cornea

Tears shedding on the dog’s face might be caused by rough play or other activities that result in a damaged cornea.


Tears in your dog’s eyes might be caused by anything as simple as dirt getting into his or her eye.

Clogged Tear Ducts 

Epiphora may be the cause of the overactivity of the tear ducts in some dogs. When the tear ducts get clogged, your dog’s eyes will produce tears. 

This does not imply that your dog is depressed. While just a few breeds are prone to this disease, it is a frequent one.

Eye Infections

Tears can also be caused by eye infections, which can become quite serious if not treated promptly. You can learn about the eye problems golden retrievers are prone to here and how you can protect your dog from them.

7 Reasons why golden retriever puppies cry 

Golden Retriever puppies can cry for all the same reasons adult dogs do but there are reasons that are more common with puppies.

Needing to pee

Your puppy is more likely to whimper to convince you to let it out when it starts wailing in the middle of the night and if it is a puppy. 

Allowing him to go out to pee just before bedtime might be beneficial in this situation.


It might possibly be because it is hungry. If he/she screams when you haven’t fed it in a while and then stops crying when you do, this is more likely.

You can check why some golden retrievers are always hungry here.


It’s possible that your golden retriever puppy has been whimpering to express boredom. 

This is more likely if your puppy cries more while he isn’t doing anything.

Being taken away from their parent too early

Just like children, puppies tend to be quite attached to their parents, that is why they might get affected if they are taken away from them too early.


It may have become unwell or injured as a result of this. This is especially likely if he began whimpering suddenly while exhibiting other symptoms such as vomiting or decreased activity.


It’s possible that he’s been scared as a result of anything. It may be that there is something in its surroundings that he doesn’t like, which is not unusual in Golden Retriever pups, or it could be that there is something in its environment that he doesn’t like.

Grabbing your attention

It wants more attention It’s possible that he’s been doing it to get more attention. This is more likely if it occurs more frequently while you are not paying attention to him and you prefer to pay more attention to him when it occurs.

What should you do with a crying dog? 

Memorize the sound

Pay close attention to your dog’s whimpering; you could become used to it. Then, if you hear a distinct whine, you’ll know it’s tension or discomfort. 

Approach softly 

If your dog’s whimpering appears to be related to stress or discomfort, approach him carefully and handle him softly. If this is the case, the complaining may become more aggressive.

Don’t reinforce the behavior

Don’t inadvertently encourage your dog to whimper. If you’re sure your dog wants something, such as attention or food, divert it to something else before giving in. 

Don’t give in quickly

Don’t give in to your dog’s “want” right away, since this will teach it to cry about everything. The most prevalent reason of issue complaining is this. 

Yes, resisting your whining puppy is difficult, but better than ending up with a whiny adult.

Act wisely

Never reprimand or shout at your dog for whining since this can make a scared or anxious dog even more fearful or anxious, which can escalate to violent behavior. If you can establish why your dog is afraid, you may be able to work on training and desensitizing your dog to help it overcome its fear. 

Don’t bore them

Enrich their surroundings. Ensure that they have lots of toys to play with and that they receive plenty of activity.

How to calm down a crying golden retriever? 

To know how to act you need to know the reason, if the reason behind your golden retriever crying is fear, hunger, boredom, you have it in your hands to deal with the root of the issue and change that.

Excessive whimpering may usually be controlled with basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise. You may not be able to fully eliminate your dog’s whining, but you should be able to reduce it to a more manageable level.

You should also give your puppy extra stimulus throughout the day.

Play a physically intense game with your puppy, such as fetch. This is a great way to get her tired and expend some energy before bed.

You need to pay attention to use the situation wisely, maybe to teach your dog more about the quiet command. Refrain from aggressive behaviors like yelling or scolding, and also don’t give treats or rewards so you don’t reinforce the behavior.

You can learn more techniques to calm down a golden retriever here.

Should you ignore your crying dog? 

You need to focus on the reason behind your dog’s crying, if it is something that you can change like noises, fear, anxiety, hunger..etc then deal with these reasons accordingly.

If you are fully aware that your dog is not crying because of an actual need, then it is best to ignore the behavior (even though it’s hard) and wait for a couple of minutes after he/she stops crying then reward them, maybe even, teach them a new command: the “silent” or “quiet” command.

Now that you know about your dog crying, it’s time to turn things around. Do you know how your dog will react to seeing you crying? Learn here how dogs react to seeing us crying.

Related Questions 

How much sleep do golden retrievers need? 

Golden retrievers sleep 12 to 18 hours each day, and they need more sleep as adults than as puppies. Sleep is critical for a child’s healthy development: his central nervous system, brain, immune system, and muscles all develop as he sleeps.

Do Golden Retrievers whine? 

Yes, golden retrievers whine due to many reasons, some that need attention, like being hungry, anxious, needing to pee, feeling fearful, and others that they tend to develop not relating to any need but to evoke an action from you like seeking attention or boredom.

Do Golden Retrievers cry when they’re sad? 

No, Golden retrievers don’t cry when they are sad, they whimper to express their grief, feeling anxious, fearful, or even hungry, but shedding tears can only happen in the cases of infection, clogging of tear ducts, or a scratched cornea, dirt, or an allergic reaction.

Helpful Resources

Do Dogs Cry?

For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend by Patricia B. McConnell

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

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