Why does a dog have watery eyes and what to do?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 29.05.2022

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Our pets get sick just as often as we humans. They are also characterized by inflammatory and allergic diseases, infectious and toxic processes. For example, a dog often has watery eyes: this symptom can indicate both an internal illness and external irritation of the organ of vision. How to understand and how to help the animal?


The pathological appearance of tears from the eyes of a dog is a fairly common phenomenon. Although exact statistics of such cases are not kept.

However, according to veterinarians, every second dog owner seeks medical help specifically for this problem.

The most common cause of a watery eye in a dog is mechanical damage, and in second place is conjunctivitis. Approximately 50% of four-legged patients who have eye diseases are puppies.

Causes of the tearing in a dog

There are many reasons why a dog may have watery eyes. For convenience, these reasons are divided into several categories. So, infectious and inflammatory diseases are of a primary or secondary nature - for example, they develop as a result of other microbial or viral lesions. Secondary infection is most often conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharitis.

Non-infectious pathologies are formed with mechanical damage to the organ of vision, with a violation of the location of the eyelashes (trichiasis). Inflammatory processes affecting the eyelids can also be non-infectious, for example, post-traumatic.

The third reason that a dog has watery eyes is a congenital feature of the organs of vision. Such problems are most often characteristic of animals representing certain individual breeds. For example, congenital problems are often found in Bassets, Bulldogs, Boxers, Pekingese, St. Bernards, Spaniels, Chow Chows, and others.

For the convenience of identifying the causes of tears in dogs, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the following table:

Origin of lacrimation

Likely Root Causes

Risk factors

Infectious origin

Herpevirus, chlamydia, mycoplasma, etc.

Transmission of infection from parents, lack of vaccinations, non-compliance with the conditions of the animal

Breed features

Numerous skin folds, abnormal growth of eyelashes, an abundance of hair near the eyes (all this contributes to the entry of microbes into the mucous membrane of the eye)

Certain breeds of dogs (pug, sharpei, cane corso, etc.)

Allergic reaction

Hypersensitivity, individual response to certain types of treatment, inappropriate type of diet, reaction to the presence of dust, pollen, etc.

Individual sensitivity, hereditary predisposition, weakness of the animal's immunity

Mechanical stimuli

Injury to the organ of vision, foreign body ingress, torsion.

Insufficient pet care, breed features

Chemical exposure

Prolonged use of antibacterial drops, accidental eye contact with household chemicals

Self-medication, non-compliance with the rules for the safe storage and use of household chemicals


The structure of the organ of vision in a dog is in many ways similar to the structure of the human eye. Its functionality is due to the performance of the auxiliary apparatus of the eye. This term refers to such additional visual structures as eyelids, glandular and ductal lacrimal mechanism, cilia, etc.

With the help of the lacrimal fluid, the anterior ocular surface is moistened, the smallest dust particles, bacteria and viruses are retained, which can have a damaging effect on the eye. Tears in one volume or another are secreted almost incessantly: the circulation goes from the outer corner of the eye (from the exit zone of the lacrimal ducts) to the inner corner (in the zone of the beginning of the nasolacrimal canal). When the circulation mechanism is disturbed, the dog's eyes begin to water.

Among the simplest reasons for the release of tears in dogs can be called the penetration of dust particles into the ocular mucosa, or larger elements (for example, sand).

With severe contamination, a blockage (blockage) of the nasolacrimal canal may occur: because of this, the dog squints his eyes and waters (more often one, and not both organs of vision). This condition cannot be called a pathology, because the violation can be easily corrected by a banal washing procedure. It is important not to delay such washing, because along with contamination, an infectious agent can also get into the mucous membrane: as a result, an infectious-inflammatory process can develop - and this is already a disease, and a very serious one.

Often the fact that the dog has watery, itchy eyes is a feature of the breed. If the animal has small eye sockets and at the same time large, protruding eyeballs, then this phenomenon is considered one of the variants of the norm. For example, a Pekingese, a boxer or a pug has watery eyes almost constantly: moreover, these dogs have a predisposition to various diseases associated with the ophthalmic apparatus. Usually, for the owners of animals of these breeds, there are recommendations for especially careful care of the organs of vision of their pets.

Symptoms of the tearing in a dog

For the most part, the dog has watery eyes with such pathologies:

  • Inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye.

The dog has a red eye and watery eyes as a result of a viral infection, trauma, or a violation of the shape and patency of the tear duct. After redness and tearing, greenish-yellowish pus may appear. The animal begins to blink frequently, squint.

  • Inflammatory process in Gardner's gland (third century).

This gland protects the cornea from all kinds of external irritating factors. With the onset of an inflammatory reaction, it swells and turns red: it becomes noticeable that the dog's eyes are swollen, watery, and the animal itself behaves restlessly. Perhaps the formation of mucus in the eye with a yellowish tint.

  • Inflammatory process of the eyelids - blepharitis.

Blepharitis develops after injuries, as well as against the background of systemic pathologies, demodicosis, and allergies. The dog's eyes are very watery, itching, swelling, redness may disturb.

  • Traumatic injury.

The dog can hurt the eye on objects or while playing with other animals. At first, the process can go unnoticed, but after a few days the owner will definitely notice: the dog’s eyes water and squint, swell, and signs of suppuration appear.

  • Turn of the century.

Such a pathology can be congenital, paralytic or post-traumatic (postoperative). Accompanying symptoms include:

  • - the eyelids do not close completely;
  • - the dog's eyes are watery, festering.

As a rule, the first signs of lacrimation appear after the dog sleeps - for example, in the morning. A lump of mucus forms in the inner corner of the eye, or a dark path from the lacrimal fluid below the inner corner becomes noticeable.

It is believed that some breeds of dogs may shed tears in moderate amounts. Such a selection may be associated with the characteristic anatomical type of the skull and the size of the eye sockets, or with other individual characteristics of the animals. For example, you can often see how the eyes of the Yorkshire Terrier are watery - this is a fairly small dog, whose weight usually does not exceed 3.5 kg. Unfortunately, Yorkshire terriers often get sick - in particular, ophthalmic diseases. This is due, first of all, to the peculiarity of animal hair: their cover is prone to entanglement, it can easily damage the mucous membrane if it gets into the eye. Among other things, small dogs are very curious and playful: during the game, they can damage their eyes when they collide with small and even prickly objects. For the same reasons, the eyes of the toy watery: this miniature dog has slightly bulging eyes, which contributes to mechanical damage. To avoid problems, terriers should be combed and trimmed regularly, and their eyes washed (for example, with chamomile infusion). In toy terriers, the eyes should be wiped daily, removing accumulations of mucus in the corners between the eyelids with a cotton swab.

Dog breeds that have a short muzzle with a flattened nose are also prone to eye problems. If a pug or sharpei has watery eyes, and no other symptoms are observed, then this condition can be considered a normal option. Animals prone to constant tearing require special appropriate care.

When the eyes of a Spitz are watery, this becomes noticeable by the formation of specific lacrimal ducts (they are clearly “striking” in animals with a light color). If there are few such secretions, then there is nothing terrible: you just need to take care of your pet, regularly wash problem areas, and observe so as not to miss really painful symptoms.

A similar situation develops if a chihuahua has watery eyes - this is just a feature of a thoroughbred animal. So that such tears do not lead to a true disease, it is necessary to periodically remove all accumulations and crusts from the eyes, because these secretions become a favorable environment for the development of microbial flora. Improper and insufficient care can provoke the development of conjunctivitis and other troubles.

Smaller dogs have more eye problems than larger dogs. For example, it is relatively rare for a Labrador to have watery eyes: this can only happen for mechanical or allergic reasons. For example, foreign bodies, dust, sand sometimes get into the organ of vision (for example, while walking in windy weather). Other factors are also viral infections and helminthiases.

The eyes of a shepherd dog are not so often watery: it is a large dog, with an adequate skull shape, and relatively short hair. But even this strong animal is not protected from the development of conjunctivitis, which can occur in a catarrhal, acute and chronic form. The first discharge looks like mucus: the cover near the eyes becomes wet, the “tears” dry up with the formation of crusts, the dog avoids brightly lit rooms and expresses obvious anxiety. This situation requires the mandatory intervention of a veterinarian.

With the development of conjunctivitis, the eyes of the spaniel are watery: if redness or drooping of the lower eyelid is observed, then the pet should be urgently shown to the doctor. The owner himself can also provide first aid - for example, wash problem areas with a cotton pad soaked in a solution of furacilin or in a "children's" albucide.

Watery eyes in Chow Chows are due to drooping of the eyelids (the most common cause), as well as due to improper formation or blockage of the nasolacrimal duct. It is impossible to exclude the presence of helminthic invasion. To clarify the diagnosis, you should contact a specialist and pass the appropriate tests.

Infrequently, the eye of a dachshund is watery: an unpleasant symptom most often accompanies catarrhal conjunctivitis. The Dachshund is not prone to constant tearing like some other breeds. However, the animal has a predisposition to certain ophthalmic diseases - for example, to conjunctivitis, blepharitis, keratitis. This must be taken into account when caring for a dog.

Another representative of the short-faced and long-haired dog breeds is the Shih Tzu. Shih Tzu watery eyes are mainly due to incorrectly directed growth of eyelashes, or because of their ingrowth. However, possible other problems cannot be ruled out - for example, inflammation of the conjunctiva, injuries, etc. We should not forget about the special care of the Shih Tzu: examination and cleaning of the eyes of these dogs should be carried out daily.

The eyes of the French bulldog are watery, even if the dog is completely healthy: such discharges appear due to anatomical features, as well as under the influence of wind, frost, dust particles or smoke. A small amount of clear secretion from the eyes is removed with a clean, dry cloth. If the eyes are watery against the background of redness and swelling, then it is necessary to show the pet to the doctor.

Complications and consequences

If a dog has watery eyes as a result of any ophthalmic pathology, then this condition can be insidious: insufficient treatment, or its absence, can cause a lot of complications, moreover, remote ones that develop after several months and even years.

Complications can be expressed in the appearance of such pathologies:

  • - blurred vision, blurred vision, up to blindness;
  • - keratoconjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome;
  • - clouding of the lens, cataract;
  • - increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma.

To avoid further problems, at the first sign of a violation of the well-being of the animal, you need to contact your veterinarian. For example, if a dog rubs its eyes, avoids light, it loses its appetite, then a visit to the doctor should become mandatory.

Diagnostics of the tearing in a dog

When a dog has watery eyes, the veterinarian will first conduct a thorough examination using a special illuminating device, a slit lamp, or a biomicroscope. Additionally, corneal fluorescein staining (a test for corneal ulcer), the Schirmer test (to determine the patency of the lacrimal duct), as well as cytological tests, washings and scrapings with the identification of pathogenic microorganisms, can be used.

Additionally, the veterinarian can take blood and urine tests, measure eye pressure, and take x-rays.

Instrumental diagnostics is rarely used and only according to individual indications in an animal.

If there is even the slightest doubt about the correct diagnosis, then differential diagnosis is carried out. The main diseases to be differentiated are conjunctivitis (the most common cause), anterior uveitis and glaucoma. Other pathologies - for example, panophthalmitis and episcleritis - can also be considered as causes of the release of tears from the dog's eyes, but they are found much less frequently.

Treatment of the tearing in a dog

If the veterinarian finds the reason why the dog's eyes are watery, then in most cases he prescribes a complex treatment with constant medical supervision. The therapeutic regimen usually consists of the following areas:

  • elimination of the allergen, blocking the allergic reaction;
  • fight against an infectious agent, suppression of its development;
  • inhibition of the inflammatory response;
  • elimination of purulent or exudative secretions;
  • removal of irritating factors, dust particles, grains of sand, etc. From the eye;
  • correction of an autoimmune disorder;
  • treatment of other ophthalmic diseases.

Foreign bodies, dust particles are removed in several ways. Sometimes this is done mechanically by pulling back the dog's eyelid and removing the particle with a special tool. It is also possible to “wash out” foreign particles with solutions of antiseptics (using furatsilin, chlorhexidine solution, etc.).

The fight against infection consists, both in the use of the above antiseptic liquids, and in the use of eye antibacterial ointments (for example, gentamicin, streptomycin, etc.).

With a viral lesion (for example, distemper), the root cause is treated - a viral infection.

The inflammatory reaction is also suppressed in different ways: it is possible to use anti-inflammatory eye drops (for example, zinc-salicylic, etc.), or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (inside, as prescribed by a doctor).

Purulent and exudative secretions are removed by washing with antiseptic liquids, after which special drops are instilled into the eyes. The following drugs are especially popular with dog owners:

  • Albucid 20% (used for washing, or dripped into the affected eye 2 drops 5-6 times a day);
  • Vitabact (drip 1 drop two to six times a day, for ten days);
  • Garazon (drip 1-2 drops under the conjunctiva, up to four times a day; contraindications: glaucoma and viral infection);
  • Fucitalmic (drip into the affected eye 1 drop twice a day, for a week).

For complex inflammations that do not go away within a week, local corticosteroids are prescribed:

  • Tobradex (exists in the form of eye ointment and drops, used as directed by a veterinarian);
  • Maxitrol (most often used in the form of drops, 1-2 drops up to 5 times a day).

Corticosteroids should never be used on their own, without a doctor's recommendation. Such drugs can not be used without a confirmed diagnosis, as well as for prevention purposes.

In allergic processes, if possible, the potential allergen that provokes the development of allergies is removed. This allergen can be either a food component or dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, etc. Additionally, drugs are used that inhibit the production of histamine, a substance responsible for the development of an allergic reaction. The most famous antihistamines include suprastin, diphenhydramine, diazolin, etc.

What should I do if my dog has watery eyes?

First of all, you should not panic: it is far from always that lacrimation becomes a sign of such dangerous pathologies as, for example, distemper. Secondly, you should wash the eyes of the animal with chamomile infusion, albucid or furacilin solution, and then carefully examine the pet: does it have other suspicious symptoms? The following signs should be of particular concern:

  • general lethargy, loss of appetite, depressed and restless condition of the dog;
  • redness, swelling of the eye;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • mucous secretion from the nose;
  • change in the condition of the coat;
  • photophobia (the dog tries to hide, hides in dark corners and places);
  • increase in body temperature.

Any of the above signs is a reason for an urgent visit to the veterinarian. To avoid complications, it is important to start competent treatment as early as possible.

Additional Medications Your Veterinarian May Prescribe

  • "Bars" drops: used for eye washes, if the dog's eyes are watery as a result of inflammation of the conjunctiva, keratitis, blepharitis. Bars can also be used for preventive purposes.
  • "Iris" drops: are used for acute or chronic forms of conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharitis, uveitis, dacryocystitis, as well as for injuries and ulcerative corneal processes.
  • "Tsiprovet" drops: an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drug based on ciprofloxacin, are prescribed for acute and chronic forms of conjunctivitis, keratoconjunctivitis, keratitis, with a corneal ulcer, iridocyclitis, blepharitis. Drops can be dripped into the affected eye after injury or foreign particles.

These drugs are dripped into the affected eye 1-2 drops up to 4 times a day, for 1-2 weeks (until the clinical signs of the disease disappear).

With the external use of these drops, side effects, as a rule, are not observed. Occasionally, itching and redness of the conjunctiva may appear, which disappear without third-party intervention for five minutes after application.

How to rub the dog's eyes if they water?

It is not recommended to try to diagnose the dog yourself: the treatment of eye diseases without the involvement of a specialist is fraught with the development of further health problems for the animal.

If you need to help the dog before visiting the doctor, then you can pay attention to the following methods:

  • The eye, which is watery, is wiped with a solution of furacilin (one tablet is dissolved in 100 ml of warm boiled water). For wiping, use a cotton pad or ball (for each eye - a separate disk). Wipe in the direction from the outer corner to the bridge of the nose.
  • For rubbing, use strong tea leaves, fresh, slightly warm. Tea can be both black and green, but without any additives (for example, fruit flavors, spices, etc.).
  • Instead of tea, you can brew chamomile color: to prepare the infusion, brew 1 tsp. Raw materials for 150 ml of boiling water. Infuse until cool, wipe with a cotton pad dipped in a warm agent.


Disease prevention is always a more thoughtful and correct way, because treatment is always more expensive and more difficult. What ways to prevent lacrimation can be offered to dog owners?

It is very important to have regular eye examinations: if suspicious signs appear, you should immediately visit a veterinarian.

If the dog's eyes are not watery, then you should also pay attention to the presence of redness, discharge, as well as other symptoms:

  • squinting of one or two eyes;
  • photophobia;
  • rubbing the eyes with paws;
  • change in the shape of the eye;
  • general anxiety of the dog;
  • other signs indicating visual impairment.

In some cases, for example, after a long sleep, a small amount of mucous secretion may accumulate at the edge of the eyes, which must be removed with a clean cloth or cotton pad dipped in warm boiled water.

In some breeds of dogs, tearing is considered a relatively normal, common occurrence. Many owners of such animals recommend systematically rinsing the eyes of their pets with fresh, warm chamomile-colored infusion or diluted boric acid.


Eye diseases in animals are common and can be triggered by a variety of reasons. However, in order to avoid complications and serious problems, one should not expect that the trouble will pass on its own - it is necessary to act. First of all, you need to consult a veterinarian - even though in some cases lacrimation can be eliminated by simply washing the affected eye. It is better to consult a doctor: he will assess the general condition of the dog, point out possible mistakes in care, nutrition, etc.

If a dog has watery eyes as a result of infectious diseases or mechanical damage, then in most situations the prognosis can be considered positive. But in general, the quality of the prognosis depends on the age category of the animal, on the timeliness of the treatment procedures. Lack of treatment inevitably leads to many serious problems, including loss of vision.

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