Why Do Dogs Get Eye Boogers?

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, and this article is for information purposes only. If your dog has more eye discharge than usual, or if you notice any sudden changes please consult your veterinarian.

Does your dog get a lot of eye boogers? If so you’re not alone. I feel like I’m constantly wiping them off my dog. And if we’re taking pictures? Well it’s almost guaranteed that she’ll have a few.

Let’s take a quick look at why dogs get eye boogers, and what to look out for in terms of potential health concerns.

Why Do Dogs Get Eye Boogers?

While some eye discharge in dogs is completely normal, there are a few things to look out for such as yellow discharge or pus that could indicate a serious infection.

Why do dogs get eye boogers? In this article we’ll take a look at some of the common causes for canine eye discharge, and some of potentially dangerous symptoms to look out for. Here’s a brief look at five common causes of eye discharge in dogs.


Conjunctivitis (also known as Pink Eye) is the inflammation of the tissue that covers the front part of the eyeball and lines the eyelids. The most common symptoms of canine conjunctivitis include eye discharge, excessive blinking, redness, and swelling around the eyes. It’s usually seen in both eyes, but in certain conditions only one may be affected.

Some of the common causes of conjunctivitis include viral infections such bacterial infections, allergies, eyelid abnormalities, glaucoma, tumors, trauma to the eye, or inflammation from environmental pollutants such as smoke. Depending on the cause treatment may include antibiotics, pain medication, antihistamines, and possible surgery to treat tear duct issues.

Canine Dry Eye

Canine dry eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition that results from inadequate tear production (or when they evaporate too quickly). Some of the common conditions that cause limited tear production that can lead to dry eye include hypothyroidism, canine distemper virus and immune disorders that damage the tear producing glands.

The symptoms of canine dry eye include irritation, redness, and discharge. Dogs with dry eye may blink or squint excessively, and some may hold their eyes shut. Usually both eyes are affected, though one eye may appear worse than the other. Canine dry eye can lead to Corneal ulceration, which due to the scarring it causes has the potential to impact your dog’s vision. Treatment depends on the severity, and may include artificial tears, antibiotics or surgery.


Ephiphora is another condition that can effect dogs, and in simple terms it’s an overflow of tears from the eyes. It’s often a symptom of something else going on, and is associated with a variety of conditions. So if your dog is having more eye discharge than normal it’s a good idea to take them to a vet to determine what the underlying cause is.

The most common signs are an over abundance of wetness around your dogs eyes, and a reddish or brown staining on the fur. If your dog has more wetness than usual around their eyes, or an abnormal amount of discharge your veterinarian can help you figure out the underlying cause. Depending on the cause treatment may include antibiotics, steroids or surgery.


Entropion is a genetic condition where a portion of the eyelid is folded inward. This often causes the hair on surface of the eyelid to rub against the cornea, eventually leading to corneal ulceration or perforation. The damage can also lead to a build up of scar tissue which can interfere with vision.

The most common symptoms of entropion in dogs are squinting, excessive tears and mucus discharge from the outer corners of the eye. The treatment for entropion is corrective surgery.

Breed Specific Issues

Certain breeds of dogs, such as those with bulging eyes, are more susceptible to developing eye issues such as excessive eye boogers or discharge.

Exophthalmos is the bulging of the eye out of orbit, and it’s common among brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bulldogs and Shih Tzus. Dogs with bulging eyes are more likely to have eye problems because their eyes are more exposed and accumulate a lot of foreign material.

Breeds with a lot of loose skin such as Bloodhounds and Cocker Spaniels are more prone to ectropion (eyelids that roll outward) and cherry eye, where a gland in the eyelid falls out of position.

Excessive or abnormal eye discharge can be a sign of something serious going on with your dog, so it’s best to have them checked by your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Resources & Recommended Reading

For more information on why dogs get eye boogers check out the following articles;

Why do dogs get eye boogers

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