Watery eyes, or epiphora, is a common problem some dogs experience. This is actually a symptom of something wrong, and rarely the problem itself. Dogs’ eyes watering problems affect all breeds and all dogs of all ages. Below, we will reveal the most common causes of watery eyes and help you understand why your dog has this problem.
Normal vs. Excessive Eye Watering
Tears play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your dog’s eyes. They provide lubrication, help to reduce the risk of eye infections by washing away foreign matter, and keep the eyes clear and comfortable. It’s normal for dogs to have a thin layer of tears coating their eyes, and you may notice occasional tearing, especially if they’re exposed to wind, dust, or allergens.
Normal Eye Watering:
- It occurs to lubricate the eyes and is typically clear.
- May happen in response to irritants or when your dog wakes up.
- Tear production doesn’t significantly dampen the fur around the eyes.
Excessive Eye Watering:
- Results in constant wetness around the eyes, with tears spilling over onto the fur.
- Can cause the fur under the eyes to become damp, stained, or even cause skin irritation.
- May accompany other symptoms like redness, eye rubbing, squinting, or discharge that is colored or thick.
To distinguish between the two, it’s essential to observe your dog over time. If you notice that your dog’s eyes are consistently watery to the point where the fur around them is continually wet, or there are other symptoms, it could be a sign of excessive eye watering, known as epiphora. This condition can stem from a variety of causes and may need veterinary attention to determine the underlying issue.
Excessive eye watering can develop due to several reasons, ranging from health issues to environmental factors. It is vital to observe any accompanying signs that could indicate the cause, such as whether it’s one eye or both, if there’s any change in the color of the tears, or if there are behavioral changes like pawing at the face, which could signal discomfort.
Monitoring your dog’s eyes for changes in tear production or consistency is key to maintaining ocular health. While the occasional teary-eyed look is typically nothing to worry about, a persistent overflow may warrant a trip to the vet. By understanding the balance between normal and excessive eye watering, you can better safeguard the health and comfort of your canine companion.
Most Common Causes Of Watery Eyes
Your dog can have watery eyes due to many issues and problems. But the ones we have here are usually responsible. Dogs eyes watering issues occur as a symptom of something wrong with the eye. As you shall see, these are not very severe issues, and your vet can help your pet easily.
Keep in mind that your pet can end up with an eye infection or some other infection that will cause watery eyes. If the eye infection is present, he will have red eyes and discharge that can be green, yellow, or some other color. Many eye infections are actually complications that occur when the eye is damaged.
All kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses can cause eye infections. There is no way we can generalize the topic. But your vet will prescribe a treatment that is usually very effective.
2. Damage of Cornea
The cornea is a clear surface all eyes have. If there is trauma or massive or even small damage to the cornea, your pet will end up with watery eyes. In general, we can see two main possibilities. Your pet may have a small abrasion or a complete ulcer. The latter is far more severe and harder to treat.
When damage to the cornea happens, tear glands in the eyes will start producing more tears. They do this in order to lubricate the eye, promote recovery, and rinse off any contaminants or anything else that may be present in the eye.
3. Abnormalities or Eyelids
Eyelids are there to protect the eye. In some cases, they can have abnormalities, meaning that the eye will end up watery. Inwardly forming eyelids or entropion will irritate the eye and cause it to produce more tears; hence, your pet ends up with a watery eye.
The second issue here is distichiasis. It means that the eyelashes will grow in unusual places, such as inside the eyelid. As you can assume, the eyelashes will irritate the eye and cause it to produce more tears. With both abnormalities, we can see that the eye produces more tears than usual, and tear ducts are unable to remove the tears. The watery eye is a symptom of something else here.
Eyelid abnormalities can be a huge problem for some dogs, and they need a more severe and advanced procedure. In some cases, surgery is the only option. The surgeon will correct the abnormality, and your pet will have healthy eyelids after that.
4. Tear Duct Is Blocked
Tear ducts are small openings or canals where tears flow. When a dog has a lot of tears inside the eye, most of them will leave the eye cavity via the tear duct. When this is clogged or there is some abnormality, tears simply don’t have anywhere to go. They will stay in the eye cavity until the level is too high so they will cause watery eyes.
Treatments for this are usually simple. A vet may use a solution to clean the tear ducts, or he may even use some other method to unclog them. In some cases, surgery is mandatory, but this is rare. The surgeon will extend the tear ducts and make them bigger. As such, tears can flow better. Surgery is mandatory when there are abnormalities within the tear ducts or around them that prevent tear flow. This is extremely rare, but it can happen.
Some Breeds Are More susceptible To Watery Eyes
You must know that certain dog breeds are more prone to watery eyes than others. Pugs, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, and Shih Tzus are those breeds. Their eyes can be watery all the time or when there is some problem present. One way or another, you need to know when to take him to a vet.
Our recommendation is to take him to a vet if you notice that some other symptoms are present or that watery eyes have been present for a long period of time.
As you can see, watery eyes can be a sign that something is bad. On the other hand, we have cases where this is normal and you don’t have to worry about it. The best thing here is to reveal additional signs that will help you understand when the problem is actually present. In a nutshell, if your pet has some of these signs, you will need to take him to a vet.
- Your dog can’t open eyelids
- Cloudiness is present on the clear part of the eye
- Redness on the sclera (white part of the eye)
- Pawing his eyes
- Gunk formation around his eyes
- Mucous membrane swelling
As always, your pet may have all of these symptoms or just one. There is no way to predict this. But most dogs will have a few of these symptoms. You should take him to a vet and try to deduce why the eyes of your pet are watery all the time. With a bit of luck, nothing severe will be the cause. Even if some of the diseases or health issues are present, your vet can start a treatment that will help your pet.
Home Care and Prevention
Taking proactive steps at home can significantly contribute to the prevention of excessive eye watering in dogs. While not all causes can be prevented, especially those of a genetic or chronic nature, many day-to-day care strategies can help maintain your dog’s eye health.
Home Care Tips
Regular Grooming: Keep fur trimmed around the eyes to prevent irritation. Long hair can poke and scratch the eye surface, leading to excessive tearing.
Cleanliness: Gently wipe away any normal discharge that accumulates in the corners of your dog’s eyes with a damp cloth. This can prevent buildup and potential infections.
Eye-friendly Environment: Try to keep your home environment free from irritants like smoke, strong perfumes, or anything that could cause an allergic reaction.
Protective Gear: In windy or dusty conditions, consider dog goggles to protect your pet’s eyes from irritants that can cause excessive tearing.
Diet: Ensure your dog has a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals that support eye health.
Regular Check-ups: Routine veterinary examinations can catch early signs of issues before they lead to excessive tearing.
Understand Breed Specifics: Some breeds are more prone to tear-staining and eye issues. If you have such a breed, take extra care and seek advice from your vet on specific preventative measures.
Hydration: Adequate water intake helps maintain tear production at normal levels.
When to See a Vet
If you’re routinely following these home care steps but your dog’s eyes are still excessively watery, or if there are any signs of infection or discomfort, it’s time to visit the vet.
Any changes in the color or consistency of your dog’s tears, such as becoming yellowish or thicker, should be evaluated by a professional.
If your dog is showing signs of vision impairment or behavioral changes such as not wanting to play or being hesitant to navigate familiar spaces, seek veterinary care.
Home care is an excellent line of defense against many common causes of excessive eye watering. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you can help keep your dog’s eyes bright, clear, and healthy. Always remember that while some at-home care can be managed by diligent owners, the guidance and diagnosis of a veterinarian are irreplaceable when it comes to your dog’s health.
The Final Word
Dogs’ eyes watering problem is common, and it affects most dogs at some point. This is a symptom of something else that is happening in the eyes of a pet! Watery eyes are not the main problem here. Nevertheless, you will have to take him to a vet as soon as you notice this and some other symptoms from the list above. With treatment, your pet will be fine within a couple of days.