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Dog Eye Boogers: Why, Prevention & How to Clean | Pupford

September 25th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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If you've ever wondered if your dog's eye boogers are normal, you're not alone. Dog eye discharge is quite common and can be a result of any number of things — from breed type to allergies. 

Plus, dogs continuously produce tears to lubricate their eyes, so you may find a few runaway tears now and then.

While this is entirely natural, there are times when eye discharge, boogers, crusties, and tears may be cause for concern. 

Of course, the best way to know if your pet has irregular tear production or eye discharge issues is to pay attention to and regularly examine their eyes. Moreover, you'll want to be aware of any unusual mannerisms like excessive blinking or pawing at the lids.

You'll also need to know what to look for in irregular discharge and your dog's eyes. 

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about dog eye discharge. Plus, we will help you determine whether or not your dog is exhibiting signs of a more serious health issue. 

Let's dive right in 👇

*Disclaimer: It is vital to discuss these issues with your vet, this article should only serve as a reference.

Breed Can Cause Eye Boogers & Discharge

brown-boxer-dog-with-eye-discharge | Pupford

While all dogs may get teary eyes from time to time, some dogs are more prone to eye discharge than others.

For example, flat-faced dogs, like pugs, Boston terriers, and boxers, tend to suffer from eye leakage more than those with pointy noses. 

The combination of large, round eyes and short, smooshed faces contribute to these eye issues and make dog eye boogers more common.

However, if their discharge is continuous and anything but clear, it may be cause for some concern. 

At times, the answer to why your dog gets eye boogers might be their breed.

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A Dog or Puppy with Watery Eyes May Mean Trouble 

Excessively watery eyes, also known as epiphora, are often due to the shape of many breeds' eyes.

However, certain conditions can also cause epiphora or runny eyes. These disorders may include sinusitis, trauma, fractures, tumors, obstructed tear ducts, or inflammation. 

Of course, with so many possibilities, it may be challenging to determine what exactly is causing your puppy's eyes to water excessively.

Therefore, it's best to have a vet examine and diagnose them. Otherwise, you risk misdiagnosing your pooch and performing incorrect and ineffective treatment methods. 

Tear Stains Are Common 

black-pug-with-tear-stains | Pupford

Tear stains and eye goop are also quite common in flat-faced breeds as well as in light-colored dogs. These lighter breeds often develop reddish-brown discoloration near the inner corners of their eyes.

In the absence of any other problems, this staining is completely normal. 

However, if the stained fur has an unpleasant, persistent odor, your dog may need more than a bath.

This accompanying smell may be the result of an infection or a number of other medical conditions ranging from allergies to tumors.

Once again, it's best to have a vet diagnose your pooch.

How to Remove Tear Stains 

If you determine the discoloration is normal but unsightly, you may want to remove the tear stains.

While most recommend consulting with your vet before treating these patches, there are a few steps you can take to minimize them. 

One option is to trim the hair close to the eyes to prevent tear accumulation, and regularly wipe the area with a damp cloth.

You might also apply mild hydrogen peroxide or Visine or similar eye drops to lighten the stain until the fur grows out again.

Just avoid getting these solutions in your dog's eye!

Discharge May Be a Sign of Infection

In addition to dog eye discharge frequency, it's also imperative you note its color, as it may be a sign of particular health issues.

For instance, yellow or green eye puss that crusts overnight may be a sign of an infection like conjunctivitis — or pink eye —especially if eye redness is also present. 

You might also notice your pup squinting, blinking frequently, or pawing at his eyes in an attempt to ease the discomfort.

If this is the case, consult your vet as soon as possible to prevent any permanent damage. 

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Mucus Might Replace Tears

how-to-clean-dog-tear-stain | Pupford

Some dogs may have a problem with developing too few tears. Typically, this happens when a pup's immune system attacks and destroys its tear-producing glands.

However, eye infections may also cause dry eye — known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. 

Without tears, the dog's eyes try to lubricate themselves with a white-gray mucus. Yet this discharge only makes them red, itchy and painful.

Related Reading: 10 Signs a Dog is in Pain

If left untreated, KCS can cause ulcers and even blindness.

If you notice this mucus, take your dog to the vet, who may prescribe artificial tears or other medications. 

How to Clean Dog Eye Boogers & Tears

If you notice your dog suffering from epiphora or any colored discharge, try wiping his face with a soft, wet cloth. Doing this on a regular basis will help remove excess gunk, goop, and crusties that would otherwise irritate their eyes. 

Avoid cleaning the area around their eyes with your fingers, as it's quite sensitive. If your dog moves their head too quickly, you risk accidentally poking them in the eye.

Moreover, refrain from cotton balls or other products that may shed into their eyes and cause further irritation.

How to Prevent Dog Eye Boogers & Discharge

cleaning a dogs eye boogers in the bath | Pupford

Of course, you should take measures to prevent eye boogers, problems, and discharge in your pet before they occur. While some cases are wholly unpredictable and out of your control, there are ways to avoid issues.

For one, regularly cleaning the tears and crusties of your pooch's face is an excellent way to keep their eyes clean and irritant-free. It's also a good idea to trim the hair around their eyes often to keep fur from irritating them.

As a bonus, this routine is an excellent way to bond!

Checking your dog or puppy for signs of issues is another effective way to prevent eye problems. Therefore, the next time you're gazing into your pup's eyes, take a moment to notice their health.

Their pupils should be the same size, and the area around the iris should be white. Look for excessive tearing, squinting, and red or white flesh under the lower lids.

Moreover, keep an eye out for cloudiness, thick or colored discharge, or a visible third eyelid. 

If you notice any concerning symptoms, it may be time to schedule a visit with your vet. 

Dog Eye Boogers, Tears & Discharge Recap

white-dog-with-blue-eyes | Pupford

To recap, dog eye boogers and discharge are typically nothing to worry about.

If coloring becomes different than usual, or you notice anything unusual about your dog's eyes get in contact with your vet!

Also, try your best to keep your pup's eyes clean from boogers and gunk!

And of course, remember that our dogs' gut health and immunity can play a role in every aspect of our dogs' lives. On top of proper nutrition, vet care, and exercise, you can add a supplement focused on improving your dog's immune system.

Check out our Gut Health + Immunity supplement, geared to keep your pup's health in peak condition. Shop Gut Health + Immunity here!

How often do you have to clean your dog's eyes?! Take the quiz below!

🐶 Don't miss out, boost your dog's gut health and immunity for a healthier, happier life. Shop Gut Health + Immunity supplements here!


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