Pet Health
weepy eyes in dogs

Dealing with Weepy Eyes in Dogs: Causes and Care

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Discover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for weepy eyes in dogs, and learn how to improve your pet's eye health effectively.
A German Shepherd having his eyes wiped whilst outdoors.


Seeing our dogs struggle with discomfort, especially with their eyes, strikes a chord in our hearts. It's a poignant reminder of how closely our happiness is linked to their well-being.

Weepy eyes in our dogs are more than just a sad sight; they're a call to action, hinting that something might be amiss with their eye health.

From identifying the common culprits behind weepy eyes to exploring effective treatment paths, we're here to navigate the complexities of your dog's ocular health together.

Key takeaways

  • Understanding weepy eyes in dogs is crucial for identifying potential issues affecting their eye health.

  • Noticing dog eye discharge requires prompt attention to determine the underlying causes.

  • Recognising the symptoms early can lead to timely treatment options.

  • Knowledge of your dog's eye health is integral to maintaining their overall well-being.

  • Insights about causes and treatments aid in the pursuit of your pet’s optimal eye health.

A close up of a white Terrier's weepy eye stains.

What causes weepy eyes in dogs?

For dog owners worldwide, weeping eyes in their canine companions can be a puzzling concern.

The condition, where one notices their pet's eyes exuding more water or discharge than normal, is clinically known as epiphora.

This excessive tear production could be due to a number of factors ranging from transient irritants to more chronic conditions.

Potential causes and common triggers

When we observe our dogs with moist eyes, it's important to note that the common causes behind this can be as simple as dust particles and abnormalities in the eyelid or surface of the eye for example.

However, weeping eyes can occur independently or as a symptom of another ailment. Gaining insight into the potential causes is critical for pet owners to ensure their dog's overall well-being and comfort.

Understanding epiphora in dogs

Epiphora is not a disease per se but a sign that may indicate a myriad of underlying health issues.

This excessive tearing can be a reaction to irritants or a symptom of more serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, which imposes increased pressure within the eyeball, or corneal ulcers that imply a breach on the eye's surface.

Being cognisant of the characteristics of epiphora is indispensable for any dog owner.

Eye infections vs. allergies: identifying the root problem

Another key aspect in gauging the cause of watery eyes in dogs is distinguishing between eye infections and allergies. Dog allergies often lead to bilateral clear discharge, whilst infections might cause a pus-like or coloured discharge and could be more constrained to one eye.

Our helpful chart below has a range of conditions and symptoms for eye-related issues.
You should contact your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Waggel members can benefit from our
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Common in breeds

Potential causes


Excessive tearing, wet fur around eyes

Brachycephalic breeds, Spaniels, Poodles

Blocked tear ducts, eye irritation, foreign objects

Eye infections

Yellow/green discharge, redness, swelling

All breeds

Bacteria, viruses, fungi


Clear, watery discharge, itching, redness

All breeds

Pollen, dust, certain foods, chemicals

Whether faced with eye infections or dog allergies, recognising the common causes and potential causes of weeping eyes can help us navigate towards appropriate care or seek veterinary help if needed. Awareness of the signs enables pet owners to support their dog’s optimal eye health and quality of life.

A white Chihuahua with his ears back. He is stood against a leafy background.

Differentiating between normal discharge and signs of infection

Dog eye discharge that is clear and doesn't alter the surrounding fur's colour or texture is often no cause for alarm. However, a shift to a more opaque, yellow, or green hue could indicate the presence of an infection.

Owners should monitor the consistency of the discharge, noting whether it's thin, like tears, or thicker, resembling pus.

When weepy eyes are accompanied by other symptoms

Consider the overall situation; if weepy eyes occur alongside other symptoms such as redness, swelling, or your dog frequently pawing at their face, this may suggest an underlying issue that extends beyond weepy eyes. A vet can analyse these symptoms to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.

The role of breed-specific eye problems

Some dog breeds are predisposed to particular eye conditions due to genetic traits like shallow eye sockets or protruding eyes.

It’s essential to be aware of these breed-specific eye problems as they require specialised care and attention for prevention and management.

Normal discharge

Potential signs of infection

Breed-specific considerations

Clear and watery

Yellow or green mucus

Brachycephalic breeds - shallower sockets

Lubricates the eye

Thick and pus-like

Breeds with long hair around eyes - more cleaning required

Does not damage surrounding fur

May be accompanied by redness or swelling

Breeds with protruding eyes - greater risk of injury and drying

When to see the vet: recognising serious eye conditions

As responsible pet owners, identifying the warning signs of serious eye conditions in our canine companions is paramount.

Early detection of symptoms such as abnormal eye discharge in dogs can make a significant difference in the treatment and management of any eye-related disorders.

Therefore, knowing which red flags to look out for is essential when considering veterinary advice for eye redness, glaucoma in dogs, dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, cherry eye, a corneal ulcer, and other serious eye conditions.

From conjunctivitis to glaucoma: knowing the red flags

Conjunctivitis in dogs presents as eye redness and discharge, often accompanied by swelling and discomfort. When noting these symptoms, it's crucial for pet owners to consult a vet promptly.

Glaucoma is another grave concern – a condition involving increased intraocular pressure that can lead to severe pain and vision loss if untreated. Awareness and timely action can prevent long-term damage to your dog’s eyesight.

Corneal ulcers and cherry eye: understanding the urgency

Signs such as squinting, eye redness and watery discharge could indicate a corneal ulcer, or an open sore on the eye’s surface, which is a veterinary emergency.

Similarly, cherry eye is also a condition needing immediate attention, typically seen as a red bulge in the corner of the eye due to gland prolapse. These ailments necessitate urgent care to prevent more severe complications.

Close up of French Bulldog's red eye.

Treatment options for weepy eyes in dogs

Addressing the challenge of weepy eyes in dogs involves a balanced approach where home care measures and professional veterinary solutions play pivotal roles.

Understanding when and how to implement various treatment options can make a significant difference in maintaining your dog’s eye health. Let’s delve into the ways to manage this condition effectively.

Home care tips vs. when to seek professional help

Pet owners can employ simple practices like gently wiping the area around the eyes with a soft, damp cloth, thus preventing potential irritations that could cause weeping.

For mild cases, routine cleansing holds infections at bay. However, should symptoms like persistent eye discomfort or changes in discharge consistency occur, it’s a clear sign to solicit professional help. In scenarios where home remedies show little to no improvement, seeking the advice of a qualified vet is imperative.

Medications and surgeries: exploring the possibilities

Certain conditions necessitate specific medications to treat weepy eyes in dogs. Veterinary-prescribed eye drops or ointments are frontline treatments addressing underlying infections or inflammations.

In advanced cases, such as those requiring intervention for obstructed tear ducts or the repair of corneal damage, surgical options may be offered.

The following table illustrates when to consider medications or surgeries based on the symptoms:





Mild conjunctivitis

Redness, mild discharge

Antibiotic or steroid eye drops

Rarely required

Corneal ulcer

Cloudiness, severe discharge

Antibiotic drops, pain relief

Potential for repair surgery

Blocked tear ducts

Continuous weeping

May require antibiotics

Duct probing or surgery


Bulging eye, vision changes

Pressure-reducing drops

Laser treatment or drainage surgery

A close up image of a Beagle with pink eye.


Maintaining optimal eye health in dogs is a multifaceted challenge that calls for observant and proactive guardianship from dog owners. Weepy eyes, while common, can sometimes be an outward manifestation of more significant health concerns.

Monitoring your dog's health is always important for any pet owner and learning about other health issues is key. Waggel provides a range of unique and expert guides to dog health care, covering topics such as
ticks on dogs, dogs breathing fast, and ear mites in dogs.

All our content is centred on the actual questions people ask about their pet's health day in and day out so we try to cover all aspects for you. So stay tuned to the Waggel blog for more future pet-centred content.


What are the common causes of weepy eyes in dogs?

Weepy eyes in dogs can be caused by a variety of issues including epiphora (excessive tear production), eye infections, allergies, irritation, blocked tear ducts, corneal ulcers and more serious conditions like glaucoma or cherry eye.

Breed specificity can also play a role in susceptibility to these problems.

How can I tell if my dog’s weepy eyes are due to an infection or allergies?

Eye infections typically present with symptoms such as yellow or green discharge, redness, and possibly swelling, whereas allergies often cause both eyes to water with a clear, watery discharge.

It is vital to observe the colour and consistency of the discharge along with any other accompanying symptoms to determine the root cause.

When should I take my dog to the vet for weepy eyes?

You should take your dog to the vet if the weepy eyes are persistent, accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, or changes in vision, or if there is a yellow or green discharge that may indicate an infection.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to weepy eyes?

Yes, certain breeds are more prone to weepy eyes due to their unique anatomical features.
Breeds with shallow eye sockets or protruding eyes, as well as those with longer facial hair that can irritate the eyes, are more susceptible to issues that cause excessive tear production or blocked tear ducts.

How can I care for my dog's weepy eyes at home?

At home, you can gently clean the area around your dog's eyes with a soft, moist cloth to remove any debris or discharge.

You can also use saline eye drops to help flush out irritants. However, if symptoms persist, it's important to seek professional advice from your vet as soon as possible.

What are some treatment options for weepy eyes in dogs?

Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause. They may include eye drops or ointments for infections, antihistamines for allergies, medications for conditions like glaucoma, or even surgery in more severe cases such as for cherry eye or blocked tear ducts.

What should I do about tear stains around my dog’s eyes?

For managing tear stains, keeping the fur around the eyes trimmed and the eyes clean is important.

Certain products designed to remove tear stains can be useful. Always address the underlying cause, as tear staining can also be symptomatic of a deeper issue.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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