Why Does My Dog Lick Me When I Cry?

Dogs are known for being incredibly loyal animals. They have been bred over the years to be man’s best friend, and they live up to that title in many different ways.

One of those ways is by licking your face when you cry! If you’re ever crying and a dog comes over to lick your face, you may be wondering why.

Why do dogs lick people’s faces? Is it some sort of weird dog behavior that we just have to accept, or is there a reason behind it?

As it turns out, there are reasons why dogs lick people’s faces when they cry – and it’s actually pretty cute! Keep reading to find out what it is.

Dogs have been by our sides for thousands of years, and in that time they’ve learned to read our emotions. One way they do this is by licking our faces when we cry. It might seem like a strange habit, but there’s a reason why dogs do it. They’re detecting negative emotions and providing comfort. Your furry friend does care for you and can understand that you are sad although he does not know why.

Do Dogs Lick You When You Cry?

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Dogs are amazing creatures that have been known to lick you when you cry. There are many different reasons why dogs do this. Some people think that the dog is trying to comfort you, while others believe that the dog is simply trying to figure out what is going on.

Regardless of the reason, it is a comforting gesture that can make you feel better in times of distress. So if you’re ever feeling down and your dog starts licking you, don’t be surprised. Dogs are known to lick their human companions when they cry.

What Does It Mean When Dogs Lick You When You Cry?

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If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably wondered what does it. Believe it or not, dogs know that something is wrong with their human companion when they start licking you – and they want to help make things right again.

Dogs are known for being loyal and compassionate animals. They have been associated with humans for a very long time. Most dog owners will tell you that their pet is trying to comfort them when they are feeling down.

Dogs have been shown to be very intuitive creatures, and they can often sense when their owner is sad or upset. Licking is one way that dogs try to show their support and love.

Crying is a natural human reaction to sadness, grief, or trauma, so it’s not surprising that dogs would want to comfort us in our time of need. If your dog starts licking you whenever you cry, know that he or she cares about you and is supporting you.

Do Dogs Really Empathize?

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Dogs are amazing creatures that seemingly have a knack for understanding their owners. But is this really empathy? Or have they just learned behaviors?

In 2011 Karine and Liliana published a paper where the laid the foundation for believing that dogs are capable of empathizing. The paper was titled: Canis empathicus’? A proposal on dogs’ capacity to empathize with humans


They quoted three reasons for this:

a. Dogs have evolved from wolves which are social animals and have the capacity to empathize

b. Dogs have undergone biological changes in the domestication process over several years

c. The cognitive capability of dogs in general and higher in certain breeds.

They suggested further research in this regard.

Years later, in 2019, which is presently the latest publication on this aspect, a team of Japanese researchers published a paper Emotional Contagion From Humans to Dogs Is Facilitated by Duration of Ownership.


In this research, ‘emotional contagion’ was the main factor that was discussed. Contagion in this context means the transfer of emotion from human to dog. This research affirmed the following aspects:

a. Dogs do react to humans by understanding their positive and negative emotions

b. The length of the time spent with dogs influences the emotional reaction of the dog.

c. Dogs are capable of detecting the oxytocin levels in the human body. Oxytocin is a Harmon in the human body that increases when happy and decreases when sad. There is a separate article on oxytocin and dogs.


d. Dogs can empathize and react to humans.

e. The ECG of the dogs did show changes when a human cried. (Of course, the limitations to this experiment have been taken into account which makes it more accurate).

So, the end result is – Dogs are capable of empathizing and they do empathize.

Do Dogs Really Understand What Is Happening When You Cry?

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Dogs are known for being loyal, protective animals. But what do they do when they see their human cry? Do they know why we are upset?

Dogs can tell when their owners are crying but don’t know why. However, over time and with experience, dogs may learn to associate tears with feelings of sadness or distress in their humans and react accordingly.

It’s no secret that dogs are perceptive animals. They know when their owners are happy, sad, or angry.

Dogs not only read cues from human body language but also know your behavior when you are normal or otherwise. It cannot be forgotten that they have adapted to humans and imitate humans too.

So the next time you’re feeling blue and your furry friend is nearby, give them a pat on the head – they may just be trying to help cheer you up!

Is Empathy The Only Reason Dogs Lick You When You Cry?

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No. Empathy is not the only reason dogs lick you when you cry. You’re crying, and your dog comes over to lick you. You might think that your dog is just trying to be empathetic, but research suggests that there are other reasons dogs lick people when they cry.

Empathy may still be a factor in why dogs lick people when they cry but not the sole reason. Sometimes they do it to comfort themselves when they’re feeling anxious or stressed out.

This is just one of the many things that make dogs so special and unique creatures! So if your pooch starts licking you he’s just trying to take care of you in his own way.

Reasons Why Dogs Lick You When You Cry?

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It’s seemingly bizarre behavior, but as it turns out, there’s a science-backed reason behind it. Dogs are intuitive creatures who quickly pick up on sadness – and in an effort to comfort their owners, they’ll often lick their tears away.

Dogs are one of the most intuitive creatures on the planet. They can quickly pick up on our emotions, whether we’re feeling happy, sad, angry, or stressed.  Dogs just know when you are sad. 

Love and Care:

Nearly every dog owner out there will tell you that their dog seems to know when they’re feeling down. Dogs have been known to express their love and care for their owners by licking them, even in the most awkward of situations! 

Dogs have been known to lick their owners when they cry as a way of showing their care and love. Dogs have also been known to comfort people in other ways such as by sitting next to them or putting their head on the person’s lap.

Sheer Interspecies Understanding:

Dogs have been evolving alongside humans for thousands of years, so it makes sense that they would be able to pick up on our emotions.

In fact, they may even understand more than we give them credit for! Not only have dogs evolved alongside us, but they have also adapted specifically to our needs.

While we may think we understand them, they often know more about us than we do about them! So when you cry they lick you because they understand.

Dogs feel Secure:

Dogs lick their owners as a way of reassurance and to make themselves feel secure. It’s an interesting phenomenon and one that all dog owners should be aware of. 

Well, it turns out that dogs lick people as a way of reassuring themselves. They feel safe and secure when they are close to their pack leader (you), and licking is one way of showing their affection.

Dogs feel uneasy when their human counterpart is upset or crying. So when the owner is normal the dog is secure and vice versa.

Comfort You:

Dogs lick you when you cry to comfort you and tell you it’s okay in their way. Dogs have been known to lick people’s tears for centuries.

Scientists believe that dogs lick people when they cry because they are trying to comfort them and tell them it’s okay.

So next time your dog licks your face when you are crying, know that they are just trying to let you know everything will be alright.

Inbuilt Social Behaviour:

Dogs lick you when you cry because it’s an inbuilt social behavior that has been passed down from their ancestors.

Dogs are social animals and they provide reassurance and comfort to one another during difficult times.

When a dog sees someone crying, they instinctively want to lick them because they lick themselves when things go wrong and think that licking is the way to provide comfort.


Dogs lick you when you cry because they are grooming you to make you look fine. Dogs have a strong instinct to take care of their pack, and when they see someone crying, they instinctively try to groom them and make them look presentable again.

It’s weird behavior, but it’s actually kind of cute. Dogs have an innate understanding that when somebody is upset, they need to be groomed and comforted.

By licking your tears away, your dog is helping to soothe and calm you down. This instinctual behavior is just one more way that dogs show us how much they care for us. 

To make you feel better:

Dogs lick their owners when they cry because they want them to feel better and happy. Dogs have an instinctual need to take care of their humans, and licking is one way that they try to make you feel better.

Dogs lick us when we cry because they want us to get back to normal and happy. They see us crying as a sign of distress, and they think that by licking us, they can help make things better. 

Relieve Stress:

Dogs are known for being loyal and loving animals. It’s no surprise that many dog owners feel a strong emotional bond with their pets.

So it makes sense that dogs would want to help their owners in times of distress. Recent studies have shown that one-way dogs try to relieve their owner’s stress is by licking them.

This isn’t simply a case of dogs being soppy creatures – they are actually be trying to help!


Dogs lick people when they cry because they have a bond with them and want to cheer them up. Dogs are known as “man’s best friend” for a reason, and this is just one example of their kindness and affection.

It’s definitely a touching moment. They do it because they’ve adapted to human behavior over the years and have learned that when their human is upset, licking them makes them feel better.


Dogs have been shown to be sensitive to the emotions of their owners, and a new study suggests that they may lick people when they cry specifically because they can detect a dip in oxytocin levels.

Oxytocin is known as the “good hormone” and dogs can detect a dip in the oxytocin because they can smell it. So dogs may be trying to comfort people who are crying by licking them and believe it or not it makes humans feel better too.

Research has established that human and dog interaction has a bearing on oxytocin levels. So if your dog is licking you it is going to help you.

A Word About Dogs And The Salt In Your Tears

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We’ve all had this question in mind. Do dogs really like the salt in our tears? The answer is no – dogs lick us when we cry because they think we’re sad and they want to comfort us.

There is no research to establish this although many have claimed this to be true. It also has to be thought out logically.

A dog has lesser taste buds than humans and therefore their ability to taste the minute level of salt in the tears does not appear to be a plausible explanation.

So if a dog is licking you when you cry it is not because it likes the salt in your tears but because your dog really cares for you and wants to comfort you.

Wrapping Up:

Dogs lick their owners when they cry for a few reasons. Sometimes it is because the dog feels that licking will get them to stop crying, sometimes dogs are trying to comfort you in an empathetic way, or your pet detects your sadness.

In all cases, one thing is clear – Your dog cares for you and loves you. Whether it is an inbuilt social behavior in dogs or it’s because they detect your oxytocin levels, dogs have the ability to cheer you up and comfort you in their own way.

So just let your dog be there for you, and accept the fact that dogs have adapted to humans and they know when their owner is happy or sad.

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