If you’ve ever wondered if your pup’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.
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 👇
Certain Breeds Are Prone to Discharge
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-in faces contribute to these eye issues and make eye boogers more common. However, if their discharge is continuous and anything but clear, it may be cause for some concern.
Watery Eyes May Mean Trouble
Excessively watery eyes, also known as epiphora, is often due to the shape of many breeds’ eyes.
However, certain conditions can also cause epiphora. 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 pup’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
Tear stains 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 to lighten the stain until the fur grows out again.
Just avoid getting these solutions in your dog’s eyes!
Discharge May Be a Sign of Infection
In addition to dog eye discharge frequency, it’s also imperative you note it’s 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.
Mucus Might Replace Tears
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 — also 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.
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 Off 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 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 Problems
Of course, you should take measures to prevent eye 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 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 pooch 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 Discharge Recap
To recap, dog eye discharge is typically nothing to worry about.
If coloring becomes different than usual, or you notice anything out of the ordinary about your dog’s eyes get in contact with your vet!
Also, try your best to keep your pup’s eyes clean from gunk!
How often do you have to clean your dog’s eyes?! Take the quiz below!