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It is common for dogs to have a bit of "gunk" collected in the corner of the eye. It is just a normal response of the eye to get rid of the day-to-day foreign substances that a dog is exposed to. Tearing is a bodily function to flush and clear away all the dirt and foreign substances.
Abnormal eye discharge is another story.
Excessive or abnormal eye discharge may develop suddenly or gradually. By looking at the amount and type of discharge, we can tell how serious the problem is. Generally speaking, the more eye discharge a dog has, the more serious is the eye disease.
Not all types of eye discharge in dogs are equal. Some are harmless and normal, but some may mean trouble.
As mentioned above, "gunk" collected in the corners of a dog's eyes is totally harmless. It's just a mix of dried tears, mucus and oil secreted by the eyes, as well as dirt and dust from the environment.
In the morning when grooming your dog, make it a habit of using a soft damp cloth to gently remove the gunk from your dog's eyes.
There are quite a few possible reasons that may cause your dog to have watery discharge from the eyes.
Eye problems that cause clear watery discharge include:
Sometimes, however, health problems unrelated to the eyes can also cause watery eye discharge in dogs.
Yet other times, eye irritation may be caused by foreign objects in the eye or even excessive hair around the eye. Eye irritation also results in excessive watery eye discharge.
Dogs suffering from an eye condition called dry eye (KCS) usually have thick mucoid-like discharge.
The reason is, dogs with dry eye cannot produce enough tears for lubrication of the eye. To compensate for the lack of tears, the eye over produces mucus, resulting in the excessive mucoid-like discharge.
Dry eye may lead to partial or complete blindness, so be sure to take your dog to the vet for a checkup if you see mucoid-like discharge from his eyes.
Usually, a yellowish or green discharge indicates an eye infection. An eye infection may arise from different parts of the eye (e.g. the eye surface, the cornea, the eyelids, the iris).
Puppies or dogs suffering from distemper may suffer from eye inflammation (conjunctivitis), which also causes thick, yellowish eye discharge.
You need to get your dog to the vet immediately if you see yellowish or green discharge from his eyes.
A bloody discharge from your dog's eye may be the result of some kind of trauma or injury to the eye. Needless to say, immediate veterinary care is required.
If you notice any abnormal eye discharge in your dog, put on a pair of clean rubber gloves and examine your dog's eyes and take note of the color of the discharge and check for any injury or mass near the eyes.
If your dog is otherwise healthy, showing no other symptoms, and behaving normally in spite of the discharge, try to first clean the eye and flush it with a sterile saline solution.
Closely observe your dog and the eye condition in a day or two to see if there is any improvement. If not, visit the vet.
If, on the other hand, your dog is bothered by the discharge (e.g. he is rubbing and scratching his eye repeatedly), or if you can see injury in or near the eye, get your dog to the vet immediately.
Never use human over-the-counter eye drops to treat your dog.
Herbal eyewashes can be used to clean and protect your dog's precious eyes. Herbs that are good for eyes include:
This is a soothing, all-natural eye wash that contains such herbs as goldenseal, echinacea, gotu kola that can protect and strengthen your dog's eyes. It is great for removing debris and the "gooey" substance that builds up in the mucous membranes of the dog's eyes.
This is a gentle eye rinse for dogs. It cleanses the eyes and helps relieve irritation and discomfort caused by dried mucus, foreign material, pollen and other irritants.
This is a great Chinese herbal remedy for dogs with eye conditions such as eye infections/inflammation, dry eyes, conjunctivitis, cloudy eyes, etc. It contains Chinese herbs (such as chrysanthemum, rehmannia, cassia seed) that have traditionally been used to treat eye problems. Very effective!
Abnormal dog eye discharge can be prevented by taking some simple measures to protect the overall eye health in your dog. For example:
In addition, your dog's diet is important in maintaining eye health. Feed your dog an all natural diet. To strengthen and protect the eyes, be sure to include supplements of antioxidants in the form of vitamins E and C, and beta carotene.