Dog owners are familiar with all manner of canine bodily fluids. Whether it’s inside or outside the house, at the park, in the car, or anywhere in between, we clean up after our beloved companions. After all, it’s a small price to pay for all the joy they bring to our lives. It’s also pretty normal – that is, until it’s not!

Eye “boogers” are one example of ordinary canine secretions, but dog eye discharge can also signal something else entirely.

The Change

Some dog breeds produce more eye discharge than others, so it doesn’t always indicate a medical concern. Since you know your pup the best – and you’re most familiar with the quality of their dog eye discharge – you’re likely to be the first to observe any changes in the fluid coming from your pet’s eyes.

Healthy Peepers

The eyes of a healthy dog are clear, bright, and shiny. There should be no evidence of inflammation or swelling. Dog eye discharge can be watery or slightly mucousy and can dry on the outside of the eye. Trimming the hair around the eyes can help reduce the amount of eye boogers, but if the discharge is excessive, yellowish-green in color, ropey, sticky, or bloody, your dog should be examined.

What Could it Be?

Dog eye discharge can be related to various issues that range from simply irritating to very serious in nature.

  • Allergies – Lots of different triggers can make a dog’s eyes produce more discharge. Grass and pollen can cause an allergic reaction. You may notice them licking, pawing, or trying to scratch their heads more and a watery-looking appearance. Flushing the eyes with a sterile eyewash can help, but if your dog routinely experiences allergic reactions, they’ll benefit from veterinary intervention.
  • Pink eye – Like us, dogs can get conjunctivitis. Characterized by intense red or pink in the white part of the eye, pink eye can also cause eye boogers. Crusty eyes or itchy and red-looking eyes warrant a visit to our hospital. Always wash your hands after handling your pet to prevent the spread of infection.

Tears and Dog Eye Discharge

Some dogs may experience excessively teary eyes. This condition is called epiphora. You may see lots of fluid in and around the eye. You may notice stains around the eyes on dogs with light-colored fur. If there’s a smell or obvious irritation to the skin, please call us.

Alternatively, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is the inability to produce tears. Referred to as “dry eye,” KCS can cause a yellowish dog eye discharge, inflammation, excessive blinking, and possible eyelid swelling. This can be quite serious, as corneal damage and loss of vision are  real risks.


Senior dogs and certain breeds are commonly diagnosed with glaucoma, of which there are two types. The primary type occurs because of inadequate drainage of ocular fluid. Secondary glaucoma happens when the eye is physically impacted by trauma, which ends up blocking drainage.

Excessive blinking, eye bulging, clouded eyes, dilated pupils, painful pressure, and vision loss are common side effects of glaucoma that require veterinary treatment.

Eye See You!

Please reach out to our veterinarians and staff for more help with dog eye discharge. At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we’re always here for you and your pet!