If you’ve been around dogs much, you’ve probably noticed some having eye discharge on occasion. Sometimes, you may also wonder if your dog is crying when they have watery eye discharge. But dogs don’t cry tears the same way we humans do when we’re overwhelmed with emotions. The good news is that your dog isn’t weeping because they’re sad. So if it’s not due to their emotions, what could be the cause?
Eye discharge is actually quite common in dogs. And while there are some that are totally normal, there are others that need a closer inspection. This is because some instances of eye discharge may be associated with health issues ranging from mild to serious.
To better gauge whether you need to have your dog checked with their veterinarian, it helps to get to know the different types of eye discharge in dogs and how it affects them.
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- Why Are My Dog Eyes Watery
- White Discharge from a Dog Eye
- Yellow Discharge from a Dog Eye
- Grey Eye Discharge in Dogs
- Brown Eye Discharge in Dogs
- How to Stop a Dog Eyes from Watering
Why Are My Dog Eyes Watery
If you notice your dog’s eyes becoming extra watery, you might be wondering why and whether it is a cause for concern. But first, what are watery eyes in dogs?
Also known by its medical term, epiphora, excessive watering of the eyes is linked to several conditions ranging from mild to serious. Among the common causes of watery eyes in dogs include:
- Foreign material inside the eye(s);
- Eyelid or eyelash abnormalities;
- Blocked tear ducts;
- Corneal wounds.
So when do you know if it’s time to go to the vet? If your dog’s eyes are more watery than usual but are otherwise looking well (without accompanying symptoms or signs of pain), you may observe first for 24 to 48 hours. If your dog has been recently exposed to dust or pollen, for example, an increase in tear production may just be the body’s way to protect the eyes.
If, however, your dog continues to have watery eyes, exhibit pain or redness, or develop other types of dog discharge, questions such as "Why does my dog’s eyes keep watering?” or “Why is my dog’s eye red and watery?” may enter your mind. If so, it’s time to bring your dog to the vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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White Discharge from a Dog Eye
If there is white discharge from your dog’s eye(s), it may be due to the following:
- Anatomical abnormalities;
- Conjunctivitis, or tissue inflammation around the eye;
- Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS): KCS causes less production of tears in dogs, which results in dry eyes and white discharge.
Upon noticing a white discharge from your dog’s eye(s), especially if it is sticking on the eye surface, it’s best to contact your vet.
Yellow Discharge from a Dog Eye
Green or yellow eye discharge in a dog is commonly caused by eye infections, especially when accompanied by discomfort and eye redness. It may develop as either a primary issue or a secondary issue (e.g., corneal ulcers, dry eye or KCS, or infected wounds around the surface of the eye) that diminishes the natural defenses of the eye to fight infections. Eye infections are often treated with antibiotics.
Yellow eye discharge in dogs, however, doesn’t always equate to an eye infection. Sometimes, it is due to a systemic issue that affects the nervous system, respiratory tract, or another part of the dog’s body.
If your dog has green or yellow eye discharge, it is important to bring your dog to the vet as soon as you can for diagnosis and treatment.
Grey Eye Discharge in Dogs
Similar to white eye discharge, eye mucus with a hint of gray is often due to keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), more commonly known as “dry eye". This is a result of the immune system attacking your dog’s ocular glands that produce the watery area of the tear film, producing whitish-grey mucus on the eye’s surface. This may cause your dog discomfort and, when untreated, may lead to ulcers and other irregularities.
As soon as you notice gray eye discharge from your dog, it’s best to have them checked by their veterinarian. According to NCBI research Schirmer tear test may be recommended to determine if your dog’s discharge is due to KCS or other possible underlying diseases that cause mucus. Luckily, there are various medications available for the treatment of KCS, with a good prognosis if treated early.
Brown Eye Discharge in Dogs
Some dogs may get brown eye stains due to an overflow of tears in their eyes, which is medically termed “epiphora”. This may happen when there is an increase in tear production due to their eye socket structure or if they have a blocked tear duct. The residue may settle in the fur along your dog’s eyes. As it gets exposed to oxygen, the color becomes brown or reddish due to porphyrin (a by-product of waste when red blood cells break down). These eye stains are more visible in dog breeds with light-colored fur, such as Maltese or Bichon Frise.
If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, have your dog checked with their veterinarian:
- Increase in tear staining;
- Changes in the appearance of tear stains;
- Red and painful eyes.
How to Stop a Dog Eyes from Watering
When it comes to how to treat a dog’s watery eyes, you want to address it early on. Seeking the help of your veterinarian is best if you are unsure of the cause and how to treat it. While many cases may not be serious, some can cause severe eye damage or blindness if left untreated.
Below are some home remedies for watery eyes in dogs:
- Wiping your dog’s eyes with a tissue or a damp cloth;
- Sterile saline;
- Eye drops (for specific causes);
- Eye care supplements.
When using saline solution or eye drops, remember not to touch the bottle’s tip to your dog’s eye to prevent it from getting contaminated. Do not use eye drops made for humans on your dog’s eyes because a dog’s eye anatomy is different from that of a human. Also, before using anything that was previously prescribed by your vet, consult your veterinarian first because it might be a different issue needing different treatment.
In cases where your dog is showing signs of pain or if the home remedies don’t seem to work, it’s important to bring your dog to their vet for a check-up.
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While eye discharge is common in dogs, it can sometimes be a signal of a health problem. With this, it helps to know the different types of dog eye discharge and their causes. Treatment would depend on the cause and may require veterinary care in some cases. Monitoring and regular vet check-ups may help prevent serious problems along the way.
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