Dog eye discharge is the body’s way to self-cleanse and get rid of impurities and dirt trapped inside the eye. It may, however, be a sign of a more serious health problem such as an infection. On a good note though, most cases will clear with simple home remedies but if that doesn’t help, you or your vet may resort to one of the various medical treatment options as discussed herein.
What Is Dog Eye Discharge?
- What Is Dog Eye Discharge?
- When to be concerned about Dog Eye Discharge
- Causative Factors for Dog Eye Discharge
- Green Eye Discharge in Dogs
- Dog Yellow Eye Discharge
- Dog Eye Discharge Pictures
- Dog Eye Discharge Home Treatment
- Examine Your Dog
- Saline Rinse
- Eye Discharge in Dogs Treatment
- Conjunctivitis Eye Discharge Treatment
- Dry Eye Dog Eye Discharge Treatment
- Allergy Eye Discharge Treatment
- Dog Eye Infection Treatment
“My dog has eye discharge” is a rather common concern among pet owners. This brings us to the question, “what is tear discharge and is it a cause for concern?”
During the day, it is normal for the eyes of a healthy dog that leads normal life to pick up dust, pollen, and other foreign debris. Tear ducts release tears and as the dog blinks, they bathe the surface of the eye and flush out any debris collected in there.
The texture and look of the discharge vary from watery to gooey, cloudy, crusty, and thick. It may also thin out and move outwards to cover more than the eye area.
This natural body phenomenon may sometimes manifest itself in brown eye discharge and sometimes black eye discharge if lots of dust and other materials are involved.
Dog eye discharge is not considered a health problem in most cases and the eye returns to normal once the materials have been wiped off.
When to be concerned about Dog Eye Discharge
Although eye discharge doesn’t look good on your pooch, it is usually not a cause for concern unless it is accompanied by signs of a more serious problem.
White milky, or pale yellow discharge that is confined to the corner of the eye or underneath the eye is usually not a health concern and in most cases clears away without requiring medication. You can also expect the eyes to be a bit red (bloodshot).
You should be concerned about dog eye discharge if:
- This eye problem appears chronic recurs frequently
- The discharge looks dark yellow or green: This is often a sign of infection.
- The dog has very red eyes
- There is lots of crusted discharge over the eyelids
- There is a bad odor
- There is nasal discharge as well
- The dog seems bothered by the condition e.g. keeps rubbing or scratching the affected eye(s).
Causative Factors for Dog Eye Discharge
Now let us look at some of the common causes of eye discharge in dogs:
- Allergies: Allergic reactions to allergens such as pollen, mold, etc. can lead to a clear eye discharge.
- Foreign bodies: A watery or mucous discharge that affects only one eye is often the result of the presence of a foreign body such as an eyelash that is growing in the opposite direction.
- Windy weather: Watery discharge in dog’s eyes may also be attributed to the wind blowing into the eyes.
- Injuries: Injuries to the eye such as when a stick pokes into the eye of your pooch can as well cause eye discharge. An eye injury may be a precursor to an eye infection.
- Eye Problems
Among the eye problems that may be to blame for dog eye discharge are:
- Eye infections: Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause this eye problem.
- Conjunctivitis: often referred to as dog pink eye, this is an inflammation of the lining of the eye that is often triggered by such factors as allergies, tear duct problems, injury, and birth defects. It is associated with watery, mucus, and sometimes yellow-green discharge (in severe cases) in addition to other symptoms such as red eyes, blinking too much, inflammation, crusty eyes, and dog pawing at the eyes.
- Canine dry eye: Canine dry eye is a condition whereby the eye is not able to produce enough tears. This may be triggered by factors such as canine distemper, a head injury, and tear gland attack by the body’s immune system. Canine dry eye is associated with sticky, persistent mucus eye discharge and inflammation of the eye tissues.
- Breed predilection
Some breeds are naturally at higher risk of dog eye discharge and related problems than others.
To start with, dog breeds that are characterized by flat faces such as boxers, pugs, and Pekingese have shallower eye sockets and bulging eyes. This means that their eyes gather foreign material more readily than other dog breeds which makes them more prone to injuries, eye discharge, and other eye problems.
On the other hand, dog breeds that are characterized by more prominent eyes (usually referred to as brachycephalic breeds) often have various ophthalmic problems.
First of all their eyelids may not fully cover their eyes which leave their eyeballs exposed (necessitating surgery). Secondly, they may have problems with tear drainage. Lastly, they often suffer from entropion, a condition characterized by inward-rolling of the eyelids, often resulting in eyelash irritation.
Together, these factors point to a high risk of eye discharge.
Lastly, dog breeds that have loose facial skin the likes of cocker spaniels, bloodhounds, Saint Bernards, beagles, and certain terrier breeds are more susceptible to ectropion (eyelids that roll outwards) and dog cherry eye. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics and steroid medications but surgery is often required.
Green Eye Discharge in Dogs
“My dog has green eye discharge”. Does that statement sound familiar to you? Well, you are not alone.
Among the most common causes of dog green eye discharge are:
Eye Infection: The green coloration often indicates the presence of pus. True bacterial eye infections are rather rare and most cases will clear away on their own. Antibiotics and eye drops may, however, be prescribed by your vet if s/he deems it necessary.
Head congestion: Head congestion may also cause green eye discharge in dogs.
The most common cause of head congestion is excessive pulling on the leash.
If your dog seems to have a liking for tugging so much at the leash, consider using a front-clip harness.
The leash in the front-clip harness is usually attached to the dog chest’s center.
This helps to reduce the dog’s pulling on the leash.
Dog Yellow Eye Discharge
Yellow discharge in dog eye often indicates an infection. Since the body has its own bacteria fighting mechanisms, however, most cases of pale-yellow colored discharge will still clear with minimal care e.g. saline rinses.
You should be however be concerned if discharge turns dark-yellow, greenish, or greenish-yellow; lasts more than a few days even with appropriate care; is accompanied by a foul odor; or makes your dog look bothered e.g. less activity, scratching the eyes etc.
All these might be signs of more serious infection.
Dog Eye Discharge Pictures
And because pictures speak a thousand words, here are a couple more dog eye discharge pictures to offer you some insight into this common eye problem.
Dog Eye Discharge Home Treatment
If the eye discharge is not very severe, is not accompanied by symptoms of other conditions, and your dog doesn’t seem particularly bothered by it e.g. scratching at its eyes, you may treat it at home. Here are the home treatment steps to follow:
Examine Your Dog
- Wear rubber gloves to ensure that you don’t introduce more foreign matter to your pooch’s eyes.
- Observe your dog’s eyes, taking note of the color of the discharge and trying to spot any injuries or foreign objects (including ill-grown eyelids) near the eyes.
- Bright, crust-free eyes are okay, but very red or cloudy eyes (white eye discharge) are not. Check also that the pupils are of the same size and that the inside of the lower eyelid is pink and not red or white.
Saline solution works great for most mild eye conditions including canine conjunctivitis.
It is amazing if not the best dog eye discharge home remedy and should be your first line of action while treating canine discharge at home. You can use a commercial saline solution for the purpose or create your own at home by dissolving a ¼ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water.
Once ready, wipe the eye gently but thoroughly with a cotton ball that has been soaked with the saline solution two times daily. The saline solution will help clear many
Eye Discharge in Dogs Treatment
The best treatment option for eye discharge in dogs will essentially vary depending on the underlying medical condition. The following are some of the most common eye discharge treatment options:
- Eye drops
- Eye ointments
- Antihistamines (for allergies)
- Pain medication
Conjunctivitis Eye Discharge Treatment
If conjunctivitis (pink eye) is to blame for dog eye discharge, treatment will depend upon the actual underlying factor. It may involve the use of antibiotics, pain medication, saline rinses, and antihistamines (if caused by allergy) such as Benadryl, or surgery to correct tear duct defects.
Dry Eye Dog Eye Discharge Treatment
Dog dry eye treatment is usually treated using artificial tears but may require the use of antibiotics to manage secondary infections and immunosuppressant medications to control the immune systems. More severe cases may also require surgery.
Allergy Eye Discharge Treatment
If the eye discharge is determined to be an allergy issue, treatment usually involves the administration of allergy medications (antihistamines), such as Benadryl. These are usually given orally with meals. The pill form of the Benadryl is preferred over the liquid type since the latter has high alcohol content.
Dog Eye Infection Treatment
Antibiotics are usually used for the treatment of dog boogers caused by eye infections. These may be given alongside other medication such as pain relievers, corticosteroids, antihistamines etc. more severe cases of infection may necessitate surgery.