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Runny Eyes in Dogs: Causes and When to Worry

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Runny Eyes in Dogs: Causes and When to Worry

It is hard not to notice gunk in or around your dog’s eyes when you are cuddling, petting, or playing with them. This usually raises questions or confusion about why my dog’s eyes are running? Runny eyes can mean a range of different things but here is what you need to know!

What is considered normal?

Similar to how humans can wake up with crusty eyes, dogs can too! Unless there is redness, pain, or excessive goop, then this is nothing to worry about. Dog’s eyes are also supposed to produce tears regularly to hydrate the eyes and get rid of anything that’s not supposed to be there. Follow your pup’s lead; if they seem to be in any type of discomfort, get it checked out!

Allergy or Foreign Object

Sometimes dogs get allergies too! If there is a lot of pollen in the air or where your dog is playing, it is possible for your dog to get pollen in its eyes. This can result in (normal) excessive tearing to clean out the eyes. Dogs can also get an eyelash stuck in their eye, which may lead to teary eyes. Unfortunately, dogs are not as accustomed to making a wish once they recuse a loose eyelash. 

Infection and Disease

Usually, an infection or disease related to the eyes will result in yellow, green, white, or grey mucus around the eyes. This can indicate a number of different illnesses from doggy conjunctivitis to ulcers to dry eyes, all of which require treatment from a vet. When you notice goopy, discolored discharge or swelling and redness is when you should call your vet! Another sign could be vision problems, which you cannot necessarily see in your dog’s eyes, but you will notice if your dog is bumping into objects more often.

What can the vet do?

Your vet will likely complete a couple of different tests on your dog’s eyes to properly diagnose the problem. They will usually decide to give some type of antibiotic or eyedrop medication. Further, a classic dog cone can help your dog from making the issue worse but scratching at their eyes. More serious cases, such as untreated ulcers, may require eye surgery. It is important to listen to your vet’s instructions for treatment as the eyes are sensitive and further irritation can result in permanent damage.

What about the Reddish-Brownish stains around the eye area?

This is normal, especially for dogs with lighter fur! The only thing this affects is how your dog looks. Wiping under the eyes frequently with a warm cloth can help this stain from producing if it is something that you are concerned about. Further, proper trimming around the eyes by a professional groomer can help this area look clean.

Some Breeds are just more prone

There are some breeds of dogs that are just more likely to have runny eyes. Breeds with short or “squished” faces are the most prone, so know that frequent tearing can be normal for these dogs. It is especially important to keep the face of these dogs clean, as excessive tearing can lead to bacteria development in the folds of the face.


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