Your dog’s eyes are a very specialized sensory organs and is therefore highly sensitive to trauma, infection and disease but have you ever found yoursef saying "Eww help, my dog has eye boogers?'
Dogs can't tell us when they are suffering irritation or pain in their eyes, the eye is an often overlooked area of trouble. Many dog owners fail to notice eye trouble until it is so advanced that their dog becomes blind or required surgical intervention.
If your dog has eye boogers, it can be an easy way for us to see that something is not quite right with your dog's eyes.
My dog currently has buildup and discharge from his eyes. Initially, I thought it was dust or sand and it would clear up on its own. But after continuing for longer than expected and becoming red I realised it was time to visit the vet.
Breeds that tend to have eye problems
Dogs with bulging eyes, such as pugs and Boston terriers, are more likely to have eye problems than other breeds of dogs. Why?
- They are more likely to attract foreign material due to their bulging eyes
- More likely to seriously injure their eyes because their eyes protrude more
- They tend to have a narrowed drainage angle
- Have increased pressure in the eye, which can lead to glaucoma.
Dogs that have drooping eyelids like the St. Bernard or Basset Hounds tend to harbor bacteria in the eyes cause irritated eyes, which can lead to infection.
If you own one of these breeds, be vigilent about your dog's eyes and act swiftly if you notice anything unusual.
What are the common eye problems
Dog owners are often concerned about discharge in their dog’s eyes but it really is quite common. Most of the time it is not a significant concern nor does it usually require medical treatment. However, some conditions will require a visit to the vet and perhaps medical treatment so be sure to act when you think it is necessary.
Many a serious problem starts with an irritation or trauma to the eye, which causes inflammation. If a dog's eye becomes inflamed, the problem should be attended to immediately, as the problem can usually be treated if diagnosed early. If inflammation is allowed to continue for too long, much more complicated problems can result.
Here is a list of reasons that your dog may be producing doggy boogers or eye discharge
The most common cause of discharge is allergies which can cause weepy eyes. If you dog has eye discharge and no other symptoms or unusual behavior this is usually quite safe to treat.
Clean your dog’s eye by flushing it with a sterile saline solution or dog eye wash, and observe it for a few days to see if it improves. If it doesn't improve, visit your vet and ask about anti-allergy treatments.
Dust, foreign material or ingrown eyelashes can cause irritation. Even your dog’s own hair can irritate the eye. Clean your dog’s eye by flushing it with a sterile saline solution or dog eye wash, and observe it for a few days to see if it improves. For dogs with hair growing over their eyes you can either trim the hair or tie it up.
Dogs tend to stick their head in all sorts of places and can easily scratch their eye on twigs and branches. If your dog has an eye injury, the eye may be irritated, start to tear and cause a discharge. Flush the eye gently with a sterile saline solution to get a better look at the injury and determine how serious it is. You will most likely need to see a vet to treat the eye
Clogged tear duct
A clogged tear duct can create eye discharge, usually much thicker. Gently clean your dog’s eyes daily with a wet warm cloth. Often the condition will heal itself, if it continued then see your vet for an recommended treatments.
Sometimes a dog will develop Dry Eye, where dogs don’t produce adequate tears. This can lead to a thick mucus buildup on the surface or cornea of the eye and sometimes inflammation. You could try an eye lubricant. If this does not help, see your vet.
Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the soft tissue the lines the eye and eyelids. Your dog may have a thick, yellow-green mucus or pus, or watery discharge. The eye lining will become red and inflamed and may be irritating your dog. Conjunctivitis is generally caused by allergies, injury, birth defects, and tear duct problems, to foreign matter, dry eye, distemper, or even tumors. The treatment for conjunctivitis is to removing the irritant and sooth the area with pain medication, antibiotics, antihistamines and saline washes to manage infection.
Growth on the eye
Any growth or mass in or on the eyes is probably associated with the conjunctival tissues and and can result in irritation and discharge. Once again, thorough yet gentle cleansing with sterile saline will help clear away extraneous material and help gain a clearer picture of the extent of the problem. See your vet for treatment.
Some breeds are particularly prone to eyelid abnormalities The two most common types of eyelid abnormalities are when the eyelid turns out and is common in Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, Cocker and Springer Spaniels, St. Bernards and Akitas. Other breeds tend to have a condition where the eyelid turns inward toward the eye like Chows, Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, Setters, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, and St. Bernards. Both conditions can cause infection and inflammation of the eye. They are most commonly corrected surgically to correct the eyelid.
Inflammation of the cornea
Your dog can also develop a condition known as keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea. The cornea is a clear disc over the colored part of the dog's eye. If this get inflamed, the white part of the eye often responds by growing blood vessels down over the injured cornea. If the blood vessels are allowed to block light from entering the pupil your dog will be temporarily or permanently blinded.
Ulcer on the eye
If an ulcer has resulted from the dryness and inflammation of the eyes, or from some other irritation or trauma then medication is usually prescribed to heal it. If the ulcer is deep or has punctured through the cornea into the eye itself then surgery is required.
Glaucoma is a serious eye problem in dogs and can be cause from eye inflammation. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure within the eye builds up. It is caused when the passage which drains the fluid out of the pupil becomes too narrow to allow fluid to pass. Glaucoma can cause blindness if not treated immediately. Glaucoma needs to be treated immediately to alleviating the extremely high pressure of the eye fluid. It can cause severe pain and eventual blindness. Look for redness in the white part of their dog's eyes, large pupils, and rubbing of the eyes by the dog
Cleaning you dog's eyes
Many eye diseases in dogs can be successfully cured through flushing a home, medication or surgery. Keep your dog’s eyes clean by wiping discharge and any foreign material away with a moist cloth, sterile saline solution or dog eye wash.
Most cases do not need veterinary attention and/or antibiotic therapy. If the discharge becomes thicker, changes color or smells, then take your dog to the vet.
Many pets with light-colored coats will often have dark staining under their eyes because of pigments in the tears. Here are two products available that can reduce the staining.
It is very important to keep your dog's eyes in tip top condition. A gentle wipe on a daily basis and a flush or clean if your dog get an irritation will help to prevent any treatment. But remember, if you see any change, redness or irritation, take your dog to the vet for advice.