My Dog is Eye-Watering and Squinting: Is it Emotion or Allergies?

'Why does my dog has watery eyes?' along with a picture of dog eye.


There are many causes for a dog’s watery-eye, allergies or illnesses, some that may mean a trip to the vet rather than any old runny dog eyes home remedy.

While we can get a little eye-watery at an emotional scenario or movie, it’s not quite the same story for our fluffy family members on all paws.  

As much as you might like to think your best friend missed you enough to shed a tear while you were at work, it’ more likely something is agitating their eyes. Tears around your dog’s eyes have no association with your pup’s current emotional state.

In fact, if your little (or large) dog is having issues with watery eyes then it could mean a trip out to see the vet. 

This is because eye discharge is a common problem in dogs and can appear in a few different ways. The different causes and types of discharge will help diagnose why your dog is eye-watering and squinting and, most importantly, how to fix it.

The 5 Types of Eye Discharge

First thing’s first, we should go through the 5 types of eye discharge, so you know what to look out for. When you’ve identified the type of discharge your pup is experiencing, you might have a good idea about establishing whether or not you’ll need to hop in the car and head to your dog's least favourite place.

  • Crust or Goop

Most prominent in the mornings, this type of goop will be a slightly reddish-brown colour and located at the inner-corner of each eye.

Just like our own, a dog’s tears help to maintain healthy eyes through the removal of debris on the eye’s surface (like when we wake up to find sleep in our eyes).

If you do find this, a warm and damp cloth should be able to wipe away the goop or crust with ease. When you’ve carefully wiped the crust away, be sure to check for any red in your dog’s eyes or any other signs of discomfort.

The amount of goop that collects on a morning should remain mostly consistent. If you notice a change in the frequency or the amount, then the team here at Hiputee would always recommend a precautionary trip to the vet.

  • Watery Eyes

There’s a variety of causes for a dog’s watery-eyes – allergies and irritants aside – they can be fairly serious and worth dealing with urgently.

If there’s no clear foreign material in the eye, the issues could vary from anatomical blockages to corneal wounds and even glaucoma. Most of which, unfortunately, can’t be solved by any old runny dog eyes home remedy.

Then again, if there has only been a minor amount of tearing-up and your pup seems well in all other aspects, there probably isn’t a need for a visit to the vet. Just keep a close eye (no pun intended) on the situation over the next couple of days.

  • Reddish-Brown Tear Stains

A reddish-brown type of discharge is more commonly found in light-coloured dogs and will be more of a discolouration in their fur. It’s often found near the inner-corner of their eyes and is actually caused by a pigment in the tears that turns reddish-brown after exposure to air like a rusting effect.

If there are no further symptoms or signs of discomfort, then it’s merely a cosmetic concern. It may, however, take a few months for stained fur to grow out if you don’t use tear stain pastes or coconut oil as your runny dog eyes home remedy.

Although, if you’re looking for a preventative action, the staining can actually be minimised by frequently wiping the area clean. There’s also the options of trimming the fur around your dog’s eyes or using supplements designed to reduce tear staining.

Of course, if you do notice any changes in the amount or appearance of tear staining, or your dog shows other symptoms such as red and painful eyes, it’s best to book a quick check-up.

  • White-Grey Mucus

If you notice any white-grey mucus forming around your dog’s eyes, it could be caused by Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). Or “dry eye”, as it’s sometimes called.

KCS can lead to blindness or severe discomfort for your dog if left untreated. Fortunately, though, most dogs will respond well to a vet-prescribed antibiotic treatment for KCS. Although, it’s worth noting that surgery can be lent-on when the medical treatment was unsuccessful.

Typically, KCS develops if your dog’s immune system attacks the tear-producing glands in their faces. Their body then compensates by attempting to lubricate the eyes with additional mucus. Unfortunately, this mucus doesn’t really fulfil the job and the resulting tears lead to various uncomfortable symptoms.

Not to worry though, your vet will be able to identify the cause of white-grey mucus with a simple test. Once complete, they can get your pup on the road to recovery!

  • Yellow or Green Discharge

Any discharge that is yellow or green in colour can signify an eye infection in your little furry friend.

Unlike others, these must be checked out as soon as possible by your local vet as there can often be underlying issues. This is because these types of dog eye infections can be a symptom of a more serious infection in other parts of your dog’s body.

Getting this looked at swiftly will give your pup the best chance at fighting off any illnesses as quickly and safely as possible.

Possible Causes if your Dog is Eye-Watering and Squinting

Now that we understand the different types of discharge, it’s important to look at the possible causes for a dog’s watery-eye, allergies or illness. Some, of which can be serious whereas others should pass naturally with time.

As some of these may be difficult to identify at home, we would always recommend a trip to the vet to be safe. But before you go, here’s ten of the most common causes for if your dog is eye-watering and squinting:

  • Allergies
  • Eye Infections
  • Trauma
  • Obstruction of Tear Ducts
  • Breed-related Issues
  • Tear Duct Obstructions
  • Dry Eye (KCS)
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Distichiasis
  • Entropion

Dealing with Runny Dog Eyes, Home Remedy or Trip to the Vets?

While it’s strongly advised to take your pup to the vets to get any potential issues identified, there are a few ways you can make their lives easier at home.

When it comes to runny dog eyes, home remedy options are fairly limited. The main thing you can do to avoid irritation or further discomfort is to ensure you keep the hair around their eyes well groomed. You can also apply some coconut oil topically to soothe the area (but make sure they don’t lick it off). 

If you’re dealing with a dog’s watery-eye allergies, it’s worth thoroughly washing fabric items like their beds. Some unscented and natural soap alongside hot water will do the trick. This ensures they’re free of possible irritants. Alternatively, you could treat them to a new one, such as our Ultra Soft Reversible Velvet Bed.

As well as this, we suggest gently washing and drying the area around their eyes daily. This is particularly helpful for any breeds that are prone to tear staining such as brachycephalic dogs like pugs. Just be sure to only use warm water or specific products designed for your dog’s eyes.

Finally, be sure to follow medication instructions carefully to hopefully make sure it’s the last time your dog is eye-watering and squinting.

In all situations though, the team here at Hiputee would always recommend a trip to the vet if you have any concerns. That way, you have peace of mind that your dog is in safe hands and, hopefully, the only eye-watering left will be from you after seeing the vet bill! But, at the end of the day, the care and well-being of those we love will always be priceless.

Don’t forget, we have a wealth of knowledge at your paws here at Hiputee. Whether you’re trying to figure out the best way to treat your little loved one or just need a little more pet care advice, we’ve got it covered:

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