Part of the essential hygiene routine for your dog is cleaning after them and removing any kind of dirt you can find on any part of their body in between baths. This includes wiping away gunk or goop found at the corner of the dog’s eyes. Dog eye discharge (or dog eye boogers) is normal for dogs; it is a sign of eye drainage that gathers, usually after sleeping, to form small brown crusts.
However, not all eye discharge is normal or harmless. Dog eye discharge is also an indication of another problem which is common among dogs. If the discharge changes in colour, that’s when you need to take action. The problems can range from mild to serious issues that can lead to blindness. That’s why, it’s important to be observant, especially if you notice a change in the discharge colour, the area around the eyes, and your dog’s behaviour. Make sure to bring your dog to the vet, so they can check on their condition and recommend the best way to treat it.
Read on further to learn more about what causes dog eye discharge, what home remedy and treatment to use, and know when to visit your veterinarian.
Common Dog Eye Discharge Causes of Dog Eye Discharge
Similar to humans, dogs’ tears keep their eyes clean, healthy, and hydrated. It drains out of their eyes along with debris and skin cells to form eye discharge or eye boogers. The eye discharge can show up more prominently in specific breeds, usually among smaller dogs, dogs with droopy eyes or wrinkled features. It manifests itself in what is called “tear stains” or epiphora.
If you notice a change in colour of your dog’s eye discharge in the corner of their eyes or seen on the surface of their eyes, chances are it’s a sign of infection or allergies. Here are the common eye discharge colours and what causes them.
- Clear or Watery Eye Discharge – Commonly caused by allergies, irritants like dusk and grass, foreign objects like eyelashes, or clogged tear ducts.
- Yellow or Green Eye Discharge – This pus-like appearance is usually a sign of a bacterial eye infection, corneal ulcers, or wounds along the eye’s surface. Consult with your veterinarian to have this checked.
- White or Cloudy Eye Discharge – This could be due to allergies, irritants, or abnormalities in their anatomy. Instead of an infection, it is caused by eye inflammation or dry eye. This also requires a checkup from your veterinarian for recommended treatments.
- Red or Bloody Eye Discharge – This could be caused by wounds, injury, severe inflammation, glaucoma, or tumour. Seek immediate action and bring your pet to the clinic to have the veterinarian treat the issues.
Aside from infections or allergies, another factor to consider when checking for the cause of eye discharge is breed issues. It is common among flat-faced dogs such as pugs or bulldogs, their flat faces have shallow eye sockets, causing the eyes to protrude. With this, it can come with various such as tear drainage problems, lashes that curl inward, irritation from lashes, or inability to fully close the eyes. To add, it is also common among breeds with looser skin like beagles or cocker spaniels that are prone to cherry eye (a gland protruding out of the eye) or eyelids rolling outwards.
Symptoms of Dog Eye Discharge
Check the condition of the clear, watery discharge and the state of your dog’s eyes. Monitor for a few days to see if it is normal to mild, while also checking their behaviour, which usually involves scratching or rubbing the eye area or struggling to keep their eyes open. However, if the eye discharge persists along with signs or changes in behaviour after more than a few days, make sure to contact your veterinarian for help.
The signs or symptoms along with the dog eye discharge are:
- Eye discharge increases
- Red eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Struggling to keep eyes open
- Scratching or rubbing at the eyes
- Lethargy or low energy
- Lack of appetite
Home Remedy and Treatments for Dog Eye Discharge
Use a Non-Medicated Saline Solution
The most common home remedy to treat dog eye discharge for those with normal discharge or non-existing discomfort is to use saline solutions with a cotton ball or pad to wipe away the discharge. The saline solution is a great way to rinse the eyes, while keeping them clean and free from gunk. Be sure to be gentle as you wipe their eyes. Most importantly, do not let the cotton and your hands touch the surface of the eyes.
Use A Damp Cloth or Cleaning Wipes Made for Dogs
Another home remedy to keep the dog’s eyes and the skin surrounding them clean is to use a damp cloth. This is only for those with normal eye discharge to keep the eyes clean and to prevent gunk build-up or crusts. Use a warm, damp cloth to soften the gunk around the eyes before wiping it off. You may also use cleaning wipes to help with tear stains and to clean around the face.
Treat With Medication Prescribed By Your Vet
Never use eye drops used for humans as a treatment for dog eye discharge. Depending on the illness or concern, you must apply the antibiotic eye drops or ointment as prescribed by the vet. Sometimes, oral antibiotics are also given.
Bring Your Pet To The Vet
This is applicable for those that do not see improvement in the eye discharge after the medical treatments given, if your dog is in discomfort and pain, or if there is a foreign object stuck in their eyes, you must see your vet. To prevent irreparable damage such as scarring or blindness, you must take action immediately. It is better to consult with your vet for other recommended treatments or to perform surgery if needed.