Content Reviewed by an Essentials PetCare Veterinarian

You’re cuddled up with your precious pooch, gazing into their big eyes – when you notice something unusual. They have brown staining around their eyes or even some questionable discharge. What is this goop? Should you worry? How can you treat it?

Eye discharge is quite common in canines. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to treat it at home, including eye ointment for dogs. That being said, there are red flags to look for that might merit a veterinary visit. 

Let’s take a closer look at what causes eye goop in dogs and how you can get your pup’s eyes back in crystal clear condition.

Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Goopy?

Have you ever woken up from a long night of sleep and discovered little crusts in the corners of your eyes? The same thing happens to your pet. That goop you find around your dog’s eyes is known as discharge, and it is composed of skin cells, debris, and tears. Usually brown or rusty in color, some dog breeds are more prone to it than others.

Poodles, maltese, shih tzus, pugs, and bloodhounds are just a few of the breeds that tend to develop goop and staining around the eyes. Here is how to you know if your dog’s eye discharge is indicative of a more serious issue:

Yellow or green discharge can often mean infection. If your dog has red or bloody discharge, you should notify your veterinarian immediately. It can indicate injury, a tumor, or worse, and it requires urgent medical treatment

Common Causes of Dog Eye Discharge

There are many things that can cause eye discharge in your dog, while some can resolve on their own, others are much more serious. So when you are in doubt, it is always worth a visit to your veterinarian to keep your dog’s eyes healthy. These are common causes of dog eye discharge:

  • Environmental Allergens: Usually if a dog has clear, watery discharge, it is a response to environmental allergens like pollen or dust – or a mild foreign object, like an eyelash. Not a cause for concern.
  • Eye Injuries: If you suspect your dog’s eye discharge is due to an injury, contact your veterinarian immediately. Look for red or bloody discharge or frequent pawing of the eyes.
  • Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the lining of your dog’s eye, conjunctivitis can often cause yellow, white, or green discharge. It’s caused by multiple factors and can be treated by your vet.
  • Corneal Ulcers: If your dog’s eyes are red and watery, and they are squinting or rubbing them, it could be corneal ulcers. These are sores on or in the eyes that may be superficial or deep. They are incredibly uncomfortable for your pooch.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma, a condition caused by pressure buildup in the eyeball, often affects older dogs and certain breeds, like cocker Spaniels. In addition to bulging and cloudy eyeballs, it can cause excessive tearing. It’s very painful and should be managed by your veterinarian.
  • Dry Eye: If your dog’s eye discharge seems incredibly sticky and thick, it could be in response to dry eye – which is caused by a number of factors. Artificial tears and specific eye medication for dogs are a few treatment options to help. 
  • Excessive Tearing: Also known as epiphora, excessive tearing is caused by improperly working tear ducts and can result in goopy, smelly, and infected eyes. Your veterinarian can identify and diagnose this, and they will provide you with treatment options. 

Treatment Options

So, you have ruled out the more severe causes of eye discharge in your dog, and you know their goopy eyes are just the result of allergens or their breed. What are your best at-home solutions to keep your pup’s eyes crystal clear?

First, make sure they don’t have excessive fur around the eyes, which can trap moisture and encourage goopy build-up. A combing or trim around the eyes at home or through your groomers can help with this – but when in doubt, recruit a pro! Dogs can get very finicky with any kind of facial trimming, and you don’t want to risk an injury.

Your veterinarian can also provide you with a gentle saline rinse or eye wash that helps flush the area, lubricate the eye, and remove build-up. Remember to be extra gentle and use a soft cloth or cotton ball – no fingers!

How to Administer Eye Ointment for Dogs

If your veterinarian has provided you with an eye wash or eye ointment for dogs to use at home, here are some simple tips:

  • Plan to treat your dog’s eyes at a time when they are calm, fed, and well-rested
  • Have your eye ointment for dogs nearby, along with some warm water and a cotton pad or soft cloth for cleaning.
  • For eye drops or wash, tilt your dog’s head back slowly and squeeze drops into their eyes. If you can recruit a friend or partner to lay an extra hand on them to soothe and keep them steady, this can help. Take a break between eyes and use a treat to incentivize them. Wipe away excess discharge with your dampened cloth.
  • Follow a similar approach as above with eye ointment for dogs, but gently pull down your dog’s lower eyelid to create a pocket and squeeze the ointment into the area. Slowly move from one corner of the eye to the other. Be careful not to touch the applicator to your dog’s eye. Allow them to blink afterwards to spread the ointment. Then, repeat on the other side, if needed.

Prioritize Your Dog’s Eye Care

Essentials PetCare is looking out for your dog’s eye health! We offer an affordable ophthalmic/eye package at just $75 for both puppies and adult/senior dogs. Maybe your dog needs a simple plan of care to treat goopy eyes, or perhaps they require a visit to identify a more serious eye problem.

Whatever the issue, we help you prioritize your dog’s eye care within your budget. Help your beloved pup see the world through fresh eyes!

Essential Tip: Prioritize your pet’s eye health by visiting Essentials PetCare. Our ophthalmic/eye package can help identify any eye problems and set up your pet with a plan of care.  Check in to visit today!


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