What To Do if Your Dog Has Eyes Watering or Excessive Tearing

If your dog has eyes watering or tears forming, it’s not an immediate cause for concern. Dogs can get teary-eyed like humans, but not for the same reasons. Dogs don’t cry when watching a sad movie, but they might produce tears as a result of a health problem or irritation. So, if your dog seems to have watery eyes more than usual, it could be a problem. That’s why you should check your dog’s eyes regularly for abnormalities.

Symptoms of Dog Eyes Watering

Excessive tearing is common for most dogs, but it doesn’t always have the same appearances. A few tears now and then are natural, and you’ll eventually pick up on what is normal for your dog. Yet, an increase in dog eyes watering is something all dog parents should look out for.

Here are common symptoms of excessive tearing for dogs:

  • Glassy appearance on eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Swelling near eyelids
  • Squinting or twitching eyes often
  • Stained or matted hair near eyes
  • Itchiness near eyes
  • Loss of vision

If you notice any of these symptoms with increased tears, you might want to reach out to your vet. Minor eye problems could later escalate into a painful condition if not properly treated.

Why Do Dog Eyes Water?

Your dog might have eyes that are watering because of a simple change in their environment. On the other hand, it could be due to a treatable health condition. So, here are some possible explanations as to why your dog’s eyes are watering so much.


The most common cause of watery eyes is allergies. Similarly to humans, dogs can produce tears when exposed to objects like pollen, dust, dander, smoke, or certain foods. This could be the cause if your dog only seems to tear up during certain times of the year. Oftentimes, an allergy medication is the best way to combat this.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation in your dog’s eyes that often leads to watery yellow discharge or other symptoms like inflammation, crusty eyes, or frequently blinking. Conditions like allergies, birth defects, or blocked tear ducts could eventually lead to this. Treatment for this condition greatly varies based on what caused it.

Eye Infections

Infections can easily lead to watery, swollen, or irritated eyes. Their tears might appear yellow or bloody as opposed to clear. If your dog experiences these signs, they should be brought to a vet immediately.

Scratched Cornea

A scratched cornea can be extremely unpleasant for your pup. Active dogs who play rough and run through bushes or wooded areas are the most susceptible to a scratched cornea. If it happens to your dog, they will likely blink more frequently and itch their eyes while also producing excessive tears.

Dirt on Eye

Sometimes, eyes watering just means that your dog has something stuck in their eye. This could be a piece of dirt or an eyelash. If possible, you should try to help your dog remove this object because if it stays in their eye too long, it could cause increased irritation.


This is a serious condition that causes excessive pressure on your dog’s eye. On top of watering, their eyes could also bulge or be cloudy. Medication can often help, but in extreme cases, surgery will be necessary.

When Should You Contact Your Vet About Water Eyes?

Contacting your vet about watery eyes is only essential if the drainage is abnormal for your dog. It’s important to keep in mind that certain dog breeds are prone to watery eyes on a regular basis. This includes brachycephalic breeds, whose faces are flat, which makes their eyes bulge out more. Therefore, dogs like Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Pugs might experience tear stains more often.

You should contact your vet if you notice any of the following in addition to your dog’s watery eyes:

  • Odor from eye discharge
  • Unusual colored discharge, such as yellow or green
  • Frequent squinting or eye twitching
  • Redness or swelling near your dog’s eyes
  • Your dog repeatedly itching their face
  • Loss of vision

The sooner your dog’s eyes are looked at, the sooner they can be treated. Untreated dog tearing can lead to infections, irritation, or even blindness. So, when in doubt, consult a professional.

How to Treat Dog Eye Drainage

When you visit your vet, make sure to give them as much information about your dog’s eyes as you can. Explain what their usual eye discharge is like and talk about when you started noticing abnormalities. You should also mention if you’ve noticed other unusual behaviors that could indicate an illness.

Once they have all the necessary information, your vet will likely examine your dog’s eyes with a light. Then, they will conduct a tear test, which includes placing a paper strip under your dog’s eyes and seeing how long it takes tears to form. They will likely also pay attention to the color, consistency, and odor of the drainage.

From there, your vet will probably look for abnormalities on your dog’s eyes using a harmless dye. They’ll keep an eye out for any abrasions or corneal ulcers. They might have to conduct additional tests from there if they still haven’t come to a conclusion.

Treatment for your dog will depend on what your vet discovers. This could include medicated eye ointment, oral medications, or a cone. Your dog might dislike these treatment options, but they’ll help soothe your dog’s eyes and get them to stop itching their face. There may be some cases where surgery is recommended, but that’s less common.

How to Prevent Dog Eye Drainage

Eyes watering can be a pain for many dog parents. So, finding ways to prevent eye drainage can help keep your dog healthier and make their tears less gross for you. First, the best place to start is to keep the area around your dog’s eyes clean. It can be easy for tears to build up outside your dog’s eyes and leave unsightly tear stains. So, wipe any tears away from your dog’s eyes before they get a chance to dry.

Keeping the hair around your dog’s eyes short is another way to prevent eye infections. Face hair is the most difficult part to trim since there’s a fear of poking your dog in the eye. So, if you’re not used to cutting your dog’s hair yourself, you should turn to a professional groomer. However, for dogs who have fur that sheds, the fur around their face will likely already be short.

You should also make sure to take your dog in for regular vet appointments. Vets check-ups are the key to making sure your dog stays in tiptop shape. During your visit, you can address any tear concerns you have with your vet. After all, dogs can’t directly tell us when something is wrong with them, so it’s up to us to stay on top of our furry friend’s health and wellbeing.

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