Dog Eye Boogers: When to Worry About Them?

November 18, 2019
dog eye boogers

Look, nobody likes the sensation of waking up out of a good, deep sleep. After all, who wants to stop dreaming about being on a beach or flying?

But, everyone can at least agree that the sensation of waking up is made infinitely worse when you wake and your eyes are full of gunk.

These crusty, annoying chunks of discharge, known by some as ‘eye boogers’, make it hard to see and so unpleasant to blink. The best way to get rid of them is with your fingers and wipe or scrape ‘em out.

Thankfully, eye boogers aren’t really anything to worry about for humans. They’re just a fact of life. But, what about for dogs? Are eye boogers really just a fact of life for them, or are they a sign of trouble? 

Are eye boogers normal for dogs?

dog eye boogers on a normal dog

Eye boogers are normal, until they’re not.

Try to remember this phrase as you move through this article: eye boogers are normal, until they’re not.

We say this because there’s a certain amount of eye gunk that should be expected to accumulate in any healthy dog’s eyes. Throughout the day, your dog’s eyes produce tears. The purpose is to keep the surface of their cornea and conjunctiva lubricated and healthy.

But, while those tears will then drain down your dog’s tear ducts, other substances that gather on and around the surface of your dog’s eyes such as mucus, dust, oil, and other debris …can’t. 

Tears will then stockpile around the eyes and eventually form a crust or a bit of gunk. Then, voila! You’ve got yourself a totally normal eye booger. This may be a good time to look into making your own Pet Wipes.  Yes, it’s really easy and inexpensive, just click here Pet Wipes.

What are different types of dog eye boogers? 

Sometimes your pooch’s eye crusties may be indicative of some underlying condition or problem.

Grayish-White Discharge

Everyone, even our pets, can get a case of dry eye sometimes. It’s only when it becomes a chronic condition that we should be worried. Is is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS.

When a dog experiences chronic dry eyes, they suffer a dramatic reduction in tear production and natural lubrication. To make up for those lost tears, the eye will then begin producing more mucus.  It results as a discharge that’s grayish-white in color.

Unfortunately, when eyes lose their ability to readily produce tears, they also lose their natural defense mechanism against irritants or infections. This can lead to intense irritation and the formation of ulcers. If left untreated, KCS can even cause blindness.

There are many conditions that can cause KCS. It usually occurs when your dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the glands that produce tears. Other common causes include eye infections or side effects of anesthesia or antibiotics. However, there’s no way to visually know what’s causing the condition.  So, if your dog’s eyes are filled with gray-white discharge, it’s time to take them to a vet.

Too many tears

Quick, what’s the opposite problem of having eyes that are too dry? Bingo, eyes that are too wet. We always knew you were a smart one.

Suffering from a constantly watering eye is known as epiphora. It is the result of tear ducts not being able to properly dispose of excess tears. If left untreated, these overly abundant tears can cause the skin around your dog’s eyes to become infected. Or worse, smelly!

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to discern the exact cause of excess tearing with a naked eye. (Ha!). Epiphora can be caused by a myriad of underlying problems ranging in severity from a foreign object being stuck in the eye or eyelashes growing where they shouldn’t, all the way up to serious conditions like conjunctivitis and even glaucoma.

With that said, if you notice your dog is tearing up a lot, it’s best to err on the side of caution and have them evaluated by a veterinarian.

“Poodle Stains”

poodle with eye stains

Dogs with poodle stains may need weekly application.

On the internet, it’s common to hear people make jokes about “crusty white dogs”. While mean (and hilarious), there’s a reason for the ubiquity of this joke: because some white and light-colored dogs are prone to developing what are referred to as “poodle stains”.

These are reddish-brown tear stains that discolor the fur around your dog’s eyes and down their muzzle. You know what we’re talking about.

Luckily, poodle stains aren’t typically a cause for concern (beyond being a little funny to look at). However, it’s best to remember that all of the excess moisture of those stained areas are ripe for developing infections. So be sure to keep that area as clean and dry as you can! One of the easiest and pain-free methods (for both you and your pup!) is to use Banixx Pet Care solution for this.  Simply wet a sterile gauze with Banixx and wipe away! Cotton balls do not work as well because the cotton fibers can get caught in your dog’s eyelashes and create an additional problem. For dogs with poodle stains, you might need to do this weekly.  You are the best judge of the timing issue with this.

 Green or yellow discharge

Green or yellow eye discharge is terrible for two reasons: it is very unsightly, and it’s typically a symptom of an underlying eye infection like conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis is when the mucus membranes of your dog’s eyes become inflamed. Besides developing green or yellow discharge, dogs who are suffering from conjunctivitis may also present with red eyes, swelling around the eyes, or general discomfort accompanied by pawing at their face.

As with many other types of eye boogers discussed here, it’s best to err on the side of caution if you suspect your dog may be suffering from conjunctivitis and call your veterinarian for an appointment.

 What To Do About Dog Eye Discharge

As we mentioned, a certain amount of eye discharge is completely normal. If your dog doesn’t seem bothered by the boogers in their eyes, all that you have to do is wipe them away. 

veterinarian care for dog ear infections

The best coarse of action is early veterinary intervention.

However, sometimes you need a veterinarian to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if your dog has excessive eye boogers or seems really irritated by the discharge accumulating in their eyes.
This is especially true if your dog develops more worrying symptoms like bloodshot eyes, a bad smell emanating from their eyes, or eye discharge that impedes their eyelids from opening and closing.

Remember: early veterinary intervention, particularly when it comes to eyes, is not only the best course but, it very often ends up being the far less expensive way.

How to clean off eye boogers safely

Whether your dog’s eye boogers are normal, or whether they’re so hideous and bothersome that you need a super vet to fix them, it’s easy to make Banixx Pet Care a part of your regular grooming care process.

Not only is this a clinically-proven restorative solution that’s safe to use around the eyes, but it provides no-sting, odor-free relief without any lasting effects on your dog’s eye health.

Additionally, because it’s both an antifungal and antibacterial solution, it wipes out infections without negatively altering the pH environment of your dog’s eyes. Moreover, you’ll love that it’s easy on the wallet!

Best of all, you can use Banixx in conjunction with any other medications prescribed by your veterinarian to deliver a powerful one-two punch to any underlying eye condition.

Applying Banixx Pet Care to combat dog eye discharge is simple, quick and easy. Just liberally apply Banixx to a sterile gauze pad and wipe the affected area at least once per day. As we said, sterile gauze is preferred over cotton balls. It doesn’t shred or leave tiny filaments of cotton attached to your dog’s eyelashes that lead to further problems. Apply Banixx as often as you see fit. After all, you are going to be the best judge of how often they need it. For some, this will need to be a daily clean job. For others, it can be semi-weekly, weekly or even, perhaps, once a month. Only time and your expertise as a pet parent will tell.

Click here to find a store near you that carries Banixx or buy Banixx online.

And once you have Banixx Pet on hand for your furball’s eyes, rest assured that you have the best Pet wound spray to treat any dog issues such as hot spots, dog ear infections, itchy skin and ringworm. It’s so easy to use and easy on the wallet for the healthiest skin, coat and eyes ever!

If you enjoyed this article, you can learn more about taking care of other small pets by reading another blog;  such as rabbit care. Or if you have ever wondered about something more frivolous or quirky such as how long can my dog go without peeing or, more seriously, what if my dog eats a bee.  

dog hot spots treatment


Dog Breeds Most Affected By Dog Eye Discharge

Click here for a list of dog breeds most affected by dog eye discharge. Dog eye boogers can of course affect other dog breeds, these are just the most commonly affected pups. 

We hope you found this article helpful. There’s tons of information on our blog that can help you keep your dog happy and healthy. Here’s one of our favorites about dog bug bites (how timely, especially in summer!) or have you ever wondered about odd topics such as How long can my do go without peeing? Or Check out related blog on how to clean eye booger crust stains. 



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