Why Does My Dog lick me When I Cry? It’s What You Think, Kind Of

Every dog owner knows that their dogs have a special emotional bond with them. They not only can feel what we’re feeling, but they can also show us empathy in the sweetest ways possible.

And although not all dogs show empathy the same way, you can just tell when your dog is telling you that they’re with you – such as when they lick you when are crying.

If you are ever asked the question, I have the answer for you;

Why does my dog lick me when I cry? Your dog licks you when you cry because they know that you are sad and they want to comfort you and when they are sad or hurt, they lick themselves because it soothes and makes them feel better so they are doing the same thing with you.

I will guide you through the reasons your dog licks you when you cry so just keep on reading.

Does Your Dog Understand Crying? 

dog comforting owner to illustrate why does my dog lick me when I cry

No, they don’t understand our feelings fully, however, they can recognize human emotions without understanding them and they even try to comfort us in their own ways such as licking your hand, placing their head on your lap, and trying to distract you.

Most experts felt that dogs display an emotional contagion, which means that dogs respond to our emotions without completely understanding them.

A famous example that illustrates very well what is emotional contagion; when the newborn babies in the nursery start crying just because one of them started crying, it doesn’t mean that the babies need anything or are feeling anything but they are “infected” – sort of – by the crying of the first baby and are reacting in their own way.

Why Your Dog licks you When You Cry 

Your dog may lick your face when you cry to show their affection to you, to comfort you because that’s their mechanism to deal with sadness or being hurt because it soothes and makes them feel better, or they just like that taste of the salt in your tears.

They are trying to comfort you

It’s a known fact that dogs like licking faces whether it’s a human or another animal’s face but when they lick your face when you cry then they are trying to comfort you.

They also lick their owner’s face as a way to show them some affection so doing it while you cry is their way to tell you that everything is going to be fine and they love you.

It’s more likely if they also do one or a few of these things.

  • Putting their head on your hand or lap 
  • Outstretching their paw on your hand 
  • Licking your hand or face 
  • Giving you their favorite toy 
  • Dropping a ball at your feet 
  • Getting you their leash to take them for a walk as a distraction

They like the salt in the tears

Yes, it’s weird but very true, dogs do like the taste of our tears so when they approach you they do wanna comfort you because they think that you are experiencing some kind of misery or pain, and licking your face is just their normal way to express their affection for you but also they find that taste very interesting.

Why Does My Dog Lick My Face When I cry? 

Your dog probably licks your face when you cry because they want to comfort you and make you feel more secure because that’s what dogs do to make each other feel safe, also, dogs like licking our faces when we cry because they like the taste of our tears.

Do Dogs show empathy when we cry? 

Yes, they do, most dogs will comfort whoever is crying whether it’s their owner or even a stranger. They not only show empathy but also show sympathy, which means that they have a desire to comfort anyone who is in emotional distress.

The mind of a dog is very similar in behaviors and capacity to the mind of toddlers from 2 to 3 years old that’s why they have fairly complex emotions such as empathy and if you do have or had a toddler then you can see that toddlers begin to show the beginnings of empathy around two years old.

According to researchers, when your dog sees your emotional distress, they get affected then they come to nuzzle you which means that they do not only comfort you but themselves as well.

Some other scientists suggest that dogs are not showing empathy and they approach us when we are sad because they are curious.

So, to settle this, two psychologists from Goldsmiths college in London, decided to get the final answer to see if dogs really had empathy when their owners are in emotional distress and not just curious.

They tested 18 dogs in their owner’s homes, the experiment was pretty simple, they asked a stranger 6 feet apart from the dog’s owner and one of them hummed and the other one pretended to cry.

If dogs are just curious they would go to the person who is humming since it’s something new for them but if they do show empathy they will go to the person who is crying.

15 of the 18 dogs went to the person who was crying. This clearly shows that it’s not curiosity, dogs really do feel empathy and want to comfort us.

But licking your face is not the only way for them to react to your crying, some dogs may even react in a completely surprising way; you can learn why some dogs avoid their owners when they cry here, and other dogs leave their owners’ side when they’re crying here as well.

Can dogs sense when you are sad?

Yes, according to researchers, dogs can sense basic human emotions, which means they know when you are happy or sad, dogs have the ability to communicate with humans, unlike any other species.

Dogs can read our facial expressions, follow our pointing gestures, and sense our emotions.

Are dogs’ licks really kisses?

Yes, when a dog licks you then they are showing you affection so yes, dogs licks are kisses, dogs tend to do it when they see someone stressed and their licks or kisses are their own way of trying to relieve the stress of this person.

Dogs lick each other’s faces because they know it soothes them and helps them feel better.

If you liked this article, you can share it with your family and friends, it might be a helpful resource to them and I will appreciate it as well.

Related Questions 

Can dogs shed tears? 

Yes, dogs can shed tears, they have the physical capacity to shed tears, they can shed tears because of emotions or they are in pain or they do that just to produce a salty substance and we call tears to lubricate their eyes according to vets and behaviorists.

Do Dogs like the salt in my tears? 

Yes, dogs do like the salt in our tears, however, that does not mean that they only lick our tears because they like the salt in our tears, they do it to comfort us and there is no doubt in that but it happens that they also like the taste of our tears.

Why does my dog keep licking me and whining? 

Your dog probably keeps licking you and whining because they are suffering from a disorder and the disorder can be caused by an environmental trigger such as allergies or a psychological trigger such as stress.

Helpful Resources 

Research Shows Your Dog Can Hear When You’re Happy or Sad

new study shows dogs will comfort their humans when they’re sad 


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.

Recent Posts