Eye Watering in Dogs

All it takes is one eyelash to make those big eyes start spilling tears.
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No, your pup isn't crying, but those watery eyes definitely point to something out of the ordinary. Sometimes it's his immune system, and other times it's a fallen eyelash that's going out with a bang. Whatever the reason, your little guy might be off to see the vet.

Tear Staining and Duct Blockage

No dog wants to strut his stuff while sporting a brown stain right next to his eye, but such embarrassment is a thing of life for some dogs, especially miniature and toy breeds. WebMD explains that it's possible the draining system of small pups is not adequate enough to deal with all of their tears. Also, tear ducts can sometimes become blocked due to a birth defect or an eyelid that turns in toward the eye, and this is not specific to small breeds. When the tears can't drain properly, they pour over, soak into your little guy's fur and turn brown when the chemicals of the tears interact with light. Antibiotics can eliminate the staining and certain causes of blockages, while surgery is sometimes an option when antibiotics aren't doing the job.


Some dogs have perfectly well-behaved hair around their eyes, such German shepherds. Others -- picture a Maltese -- have crazy hair that darts out, curls around and acts as a method of transportation for tears. The rogue hair, or hairs, allow the tears to slide down and onto your pup's fur, producing symptoms of watery eyes, like brown stains. The trick to stopping this is simple: trim those out-of-control hairs just a bit. If you don't have grooming experience, it's best to take your dog to the groomer. Trimming around the eyes can be dangerous, especially if your little guy is a bit wild.


Just a tiny bit of irritation and your pup's eyes will start producing lots of tears in a short amount of time. Whether it's a tiny bug that mistook your pup's eye as his landing pad or an eyelash that's rubbing against his eye, an irritant usually produces excessive tears in the affected eye only. The irritant will often be flushed out on its own, but if your pup's eye won't stop watering after a day, set up a vet appointment.


Allergies in dogs don't always cause excessive eye watering, but it's definitely a symptom that can be present. Eye watering is usually one among many symptoms of allergies. Your pup will also be itchy and may have a few stomach problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Your vet can determine what's causing his allergy if it's something in the environment, or he'll put him on a food trial with special kibble that contains no grain and has hydrolyzed proteins that can be broken down without a problem.

It's Vet Time

If your little guy's eye waters for more than a day, it's time to go to the vet, even if you're almost certain it's nothing major. There are a slew of disorders, infections and diseases that can cause excessive eye watering aside from the most commonly encountered conditions. Glaucoma and conjunctivitis, for example, both cause watery eyes. You'll feel a lot better knowing exactly what's plaguing your pup, and he'll be better off with an expert diagnosis.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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