Dog Eye Discharge
Learn What It Is

Dog Eye Discharge can be a telltale sign of a dog eye infection. The appearance and color of the discharge can tell a lot.

It can often be thick, yellow, gray, or green and it may form a crust on the eyelids as well.


Tears overflow onto the face; it is most obvious in white-faced dogs. Toy breeds and susceptible to the condition, as are those with large droopy eyelids.

A Dog Eye Problem in older pets is that the eyes naturally become drier. This makes it easy for the outer portion of the eye to get irritated and inflamed, which can result in a sticky, yellow discharge on the surface of the eyeball.

Pets with viral infections such as feline respiratory disease in cats and canine adenovirus in dogs will often develop runny eyes. "It may start out as a watery discharge but then become thicker as the infection progresses,"


One or both tear ducts being blocked due to foreign body and infection, facial injury, scarring following an injury or excessive mucus production. The tear ducts may be unable to function correctly due to congenital defect (one present from birth) Irritation of the eye due to in growing eyelashes can also cause epiphora.


Antibiotics will be prescribed to clear up an infection, while blocked tear ducts may be washed out under anesthetic. Prevention is better than cure; so clean your dog’s eyes regularly with warm water to remove debris from the area before it becomes a problem. This is particularly important if the dog is of a breed susceptible to this condition.

What to do:

Visit Your Veterinarian If...

  • Your pet is scratching a lot and has bloodshot eyes
  • Your pet won't quit scratching or pawing his eyes
  • His eyes have turned blue, gray, or cloudy, or he is having trouble getting around
  • His eyes are frequently bloodshot or dry
  • There has been a watery or discolored discharge from the eyes for 48 hours or more
  • Your pet's eyes are bulging
  • The eyelids are swollen or unable to close
  • There is a growth on the eye or eyelid
  • One or both pupils are dilated, or they don't respond to light
  • Your pet seems very sensitive to light
  • The eyes are droopy or sunken
  • The third eyelids are covering the lower parts of the eyes
  • His eyes are continually moving back and forth
  • Blood or tiny blood vessels are visible in the center (not the whites) of his eyes
  • His eyelid appears to be turned inward or outward

Finally, some pets have a slight genetic defect called entropion, in which the eyelid turns inward and causes the lashes to brush against the surface of the eye.

In cats and some breeds of dogs, like Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, entropion often affects the lower eyelid.

In dogs with big heads and loose facial skin, such as Saint Bernard’s, shar-peis, and Chow Chows, both lids can be affected.

Over time entropion can cause irritation and infection, resulting in Dog Eye Discharge

Abnormal tear production, this is also called epiphora is a cause of dog eye discharge.

Tears flush dirt and debris from the eyes, working together with the eyelids, and so play an important role in keeping the eyes healthy.

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Dog Eye Discharge to Dog First Aid 101

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