Dog Eye Gunk: What It Is & How Exactly To Deal With It

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Introduction to Dog Eye Gunk: What It Is & How Exactly To Deal With It

As a responsible pet owner, you want to provide the best for you dog.

It’s your job to make sure they’re healthy and happy. However, there’s something that you might not be aware of that could be causing your dog to suffer.

Dog eye gunk, or “ocular discharge,” can be a nasty, uncomfortable condition for dogs, but is fairly easily curable with the right care.

Since you can’t see it with the naked eye, it’s hard to tell if your dog has something stuck in his eye.

You may think he merely has small dust particles bothering him, but if you go looking for the source of the problem, you’ll likely discover a piece of goop that you can remove with a damp cloth.

This is eye gunk.

If you’ve owned a dog, you know that eye gunk is a problem that comes with the territory.

Dogs are notorious for having pretty gooey eyes and no, that goo is not related to the gunk that comes out of our noses when we sneeze.

It does not necessarily mean that your dog has a serious health issue, although you can take him to a vet to make sure.

But for the most part, eye gunk is just a natural byproduct of your pet’s daily habits.

Okay, so your pooch’s eyeball is infected. Just how should you deal with it?

First, know that intracameral antibiotic therapy is not recommended for canine bacterial conjunctivitis, as it does not work this disease.

However, there are several other treatment options you might consider.

The drugs commonly prescribed by ophthalmologists are topical antibiotic drops, which you may be able to order from your vet.

However, there is a catch here: in order for this type of treatment to work, you have to be persistent! 

In order to determine when you need to take your dog to the vet, you’ll need to understand the various types of dog eye discharge and what each may mean.

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What is A Dog Eye Gunk?

Mucus, yellow-green pus or a watery eye discharge can all be signs of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the lining of your dog’s eye.

There’s a wide range of causes for conjunctivitis, from allergies, injury, birth defects, and tear duct problems, to foreign matter, dry eye, distemper, or even tumors

The medically correct term for dog eye gunk is discharge.

Discharge can range from a clear, watery consistency to a pus-like discharge with a tendency to crust, which could be a sign of a bigger problem.

If you’re unsure about the cause of your dog’s unusually runny eyes, visit your vet for a professional opinion.

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What Are The Causes?



As we humans call it, pink eye.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inner layer of the eyelid, often paired with dog eye gunk that appears as a yellow-green pus-like discharge that crusts overnight, as well as bloodshot whites and excessive blinking or itching.

Conjunctivitis has many causes. Some cases are viral, others are bacterial, and some can be attributed to allergies or even tumors.

Seeing the vet at the first sign of symptoms to nail down the source so it can be treated it’ll likely include antibiotics and soothing washes to keep any serious damage at bay.

Watery Eye 

Some dogs and humans, for that matter have constantly watery eyes.

But with epiphora or excessive tearing, the eyes are, well, just that: excessively wet.

The problem lies in the duct not being able to properly dispose of excess tearing, which is especially common in flat-faced dog breeds.

Sometimes, the stream of tears can result in the darkened fur around the eyes, especially for light-colored dogs.

The overabundance of tearing can also lead to infected, smelly skin.

Causes of excessive tearing really run the gamut: it could be a result of conjunctivitis, allergies, a duct problem, an eyelash growing where it shouldn’t, or glaucoma.

Visit the vet to figure out what’s causing the discharge, then treat accordingly in some cases, relief from epiphora will require tear duct surgery.

Dry eye

The opposite of constant watery, teary eyes?

Dry eye. 

Uncomfortable, itchy, dried-out eyes lack lubrication and therefore the ability to flush away irritants or infections.

And that could cause some serious harm.

Without tears, in an effort to protect the eye, the whites of the eyes turn brown and yellow-green discharge appears.

Common causes for dry eye include eye infections, tear duct issues, and side effects of anesthesia or antibiotics.

Blindness can occur if untreated, so make sure to visit your vet if these dog eye gunk symptoms crop up.

Eye Injury

Dogs play and explore and are sometimes just clumsy, which can lead to eye injuries.

The eye can be scratched or a foreign body such as dirt or debris can get lodged in their eye.

Even exposing the eye to a chemical may cause changes in your dog’s eye discharge.

In addition to changes in discharge, other signs can include a visible foreign object, scratching or pawing at the face, or a bloody or bloodshot eye.

Eye injuries can have serious complications, so see a vet immediately if you suspect your dog hurt their eye.

If you can see something in your dog’s eye, don’t try to remove it yourself.

Ask your vet to do so.

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What’s a Normal Dog Eye Gunk,
And When Should I Worry?

Like human eyes, dogs’ eyes need lubrication to function normally.

So how do you know if your dog is having eye problems?

Well, when was the last time you thought about the consistency of your own eye’s lubrication?

Probably the last time they were excessively wet, or excessively dry, or excessively gunky.

And you were probably blinking, squinting, touching them, and otherwise showing physical signs of infection or irritation.

The same holds true for your dog.

Eye discharge is normal until it’s not. To assure good eye health and quality of life for your dog, keep an eye out (haha) for tell-tale signs of eye issues:

  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Excessively dry eyes
  • A noticeable increase in eye discharge
  • Change in eye discharge consistency or color
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Bloody or excessively bloodshot eyes
  • A visible foreign object in the eye

At this point, you’ve probably picked up on what you should do if you notice these symptoms call your vet as soon as possible.

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Cleaning and care tips for your dog’s eye gunk

Once you have any injuries, allergies, and/or infections under control, here are some of our tips for maintaining your dog’s eye health.

Try a dog tear stain remover

These gentle liquids can be very handy for routine grooming, as well as stubborn stains and bogies.

Use a pet ‘eye comb

While it seems like a strange idea, “eye combs” are actually quite wonderful.

They’re sturdy, easy, efficient, and help you avoid using chemicals to clean your dog’s eyes.

Give a quick trim around the eyes

If your dog has long hair that may be contributing to the problem, clean the hair and trim it regularly this is an issue especially in flat-faced or smaller toy dogs.

Try a simple pet grooming kit at home, or visit the groomer if you’re not confident about your trimming skills!

Keep your dog’s eyes moist with a pet eyewash

Eye drops designed for canine use are a miracle invention, as far as we’re concerned.

They’re non-irritating and non-toxic, so it’s okay if your dog taste-tests any excess product.

These drops are great for eye lubrication, flushing out irritants, and soothing allergic reactions.

We suggest having treats on hand when administering drops!

Don’t use your fingers to clean it

Be careful! It’s a sensitive area.

If it’s run-of-the-mill gunk, start with a clean, damp towel rather than bare fingers.

Avoid cotton balls or other products that may shed material into the eye.

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How to Treat Eye Gunk?

As a dog owner, there’s no doubt that you want your best friend to be happy and healthy.

While you can’t always prevent dog eye discharge, there are a few things you can do to be proactive and help keep it at bay.

Observe and monitor your dog’s eyes regularly and make sure that both pupils are the same size.

His eyes should be bright, free of crust or another buildup, and they should have a bright white sclera with no discoloration.

Make sure there is no excess tearing or that your dog isn’t squinting a lot, and his inner eyelids should never be swollen or visible.

If you want to check on your dog’s eyes further, gently pull down his lower eyelids and make sure that they appear pink and not red or white in color.

If you notice any kind of discharge, cloudiness, a third eyelid, squinty eyes, or tear-stained fur, it’s time for a visit to the veterinarian.

Do your best to keep long hair or fur out of your dog’s eyes.

Take him to the groomer regularly, or you can use round-tipped scissors to trim the hair back to keep his eyes and his body healthy.

Avoid using irritating products like certain shampoos, soaps, or flea medicine that could possibly get into his eyes.

If your dog is pawing or rubbing his eyes, call your vet right away for advice and help.

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Applying Eye Medication for Dogs

If your dog is prescribed a topical eye medication, getting it applied correctly might be a little tricky.

Make sure you have the medication nearby before you start, and begin by cleaning any extra dog eye discharge around the eyes using lukewarm water and a soft cotton pad or cotton ball.

Tilt your pup’s head back slightly and rest your hand on his head so you don’t accidentally hit the eyes with the dropper if he happens to squirm.

Gently squeeze the eye drop applicator and add a few drops into the upper part of his eyes.

If you need to apply eye ointment, start by gently pulling your dog’s lower lid down to create a pocket for the ointment.

Use the same technique to rest your hand on his head in case he moves, and then squeeze a small ribbon, about a one-quarter inch strip, of the eye ointment into the eyes.

You can help spread eye drops and ointment evenly by gently opening and closing his eyelids for a few seconds.

If your dog is nervous, make sure you talk to him in a soft, soothing voice.

It might take a few practices runs before you can do this successfully, so patience is the key!

Pay very close attention to any dog eye discharge you see.

If it’s a greenish or yellow color, you should take him to the vet right away, as this is usually an indication of an infection that could lead to a more serious condition if treatment is delayed.

Clear Eyes, Happy Dog

Dog eye discharge is common, but it’s important to know exactly what is causing your furry friend’s eyes to be filled with boogers.

Once you determine the reason for the eye discharge, you can take proactive steps to treat it so your dog can see clearly and be happy once again.

Always consult with your vet whenever you’re concerned about the health of your dog so they can help you take steps to ensure he has a better, healthier life.

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