Dog Eye Discharge - What Certain Color Of a Discharge Means?

Dog Eye Discharge - What Certain Color Of a Discharge Means?

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Apr 17 2023


If you notice eye discharge on your dog, don’t worry because you are not alone.  Eye discharge, or eye boogers as the owners usually call them, is a common problem for any dog, but it is most common in smaller dogs.  Eye discharge could indicate some health problems ranging from mild to severe, and to help your dog, you must understand all the types of discharge.

Depending on your dog and the problem that is bothering him, some eye discharge could be treated at home, while others will need medical attention. Although this might seem to you as a harmless problem, if left untreated, eye discharge could quickly cause additional health problems.

Why does dog eye discharge happen?

Eye discharge is pretty normal for dogs in reasonable amounts.  Eye discharge is actually debris that can accumulate in the corner of a dog’s eye.  If you notice small debris in your dog’s eyes, especially after he wakes up in the morning, you have nothing to worry about.

The problem can arise if this debris changes or if you notice that the debris is visible throughout the day; most probably, your dog is experiencing some issues. Usually, this will be followed by some symptoms your dog will exhibit, and you will quickly realize something is bothering him.

There could be many different reasons why your dog could develop problematic eye discharge, and to fully understand these reasons; you will have to understand all the types and colors of the discharge.

dog eye discharge

Color or eye discharge and meaning

Eye discharge or eye boogers can be in different colors; judging by the color; you can quickly understand what is bothering your dog.  This is the easiest way of setting the right diagnosis for your vet, so if you notice eye discharge in your dog, make sure to remember the color of the discharge, so you will make it easier for your vet to set the proper treatment.

The most common colors of eye discharge include

1. Clear eye discharge

Clear and watery discharge is the most common eye reaction to certain elements from the environment.  This could be an allergy, dust, or pollen; in most cases, this discharge will not last long.  After you remove your dog from the environment that is causing him problems, the discharge should disappear.

If this discharge lasts for more than two days, you should seek vets’ help.

2. Green eye discharge

Green eye discharge will indicate a bacterial infection in your dog. There could be a variety of reasons why your dog’s eyes got infected, but either way, this problem should be treated by your vet for your dog to recover fully.

Bacterial infection will require certain antibiotics for your dog to recover.

3. White eye discharge

White eye discharge is not so common, but it could still happen. This problem can also happen because of environmental problems such as allergies, dust, and pollen, but also as symptoms of conjunctivitis, dry eye, or even inflammation of a tissue surrounding the dog’s eye.

Your dog will need vet help in order to recover fully. He might prescribe some antibiotics and meds, depending on the main reason that is bothering your dog.

4. Red/brown eye discharge

A blocked tear duct is the main reason for this red/brown eye discharge.  This is also one serious health problem that will have to be addressed immediately.  After your vet examines your dog, he will set the right treatment for him.

Symptoms your dog could exhibit if he has eye discharge

If you notice eye discharge in your dog, you can be sure that your dog will exhibit some other symptoms that will indicate that he is feeling discomfort.

The most common symptoms seen in dogs with problematic eye discharge include

  • Pawing at the eye
  • Red and swollen eyes
  • Squinting and blinking excessively
  • Color changes of a discharge
  • The eye is completely closed, and the dog is unable to open it
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing

dog eye discharge

Depending on your dog and the underlying problem that is causing eye discharge, symptoms can vary, and not all dogs will exhibit all of the mentioned symptoms.

As a dog owner, it is important that you quickly notice any of these symptoms because you can help your dog immediately, and he can recover faster.

What is the correct treatment for eye discharge in dogs?

Eye discharge and the seriousness that it causes ranges from mild to severe. Depending on your dog and the exact problem, the treatment can vary.

In most cases of mild problems, your dog could receive some antibiotics, while in the most severe cases, your dog could need to have surgery on his eyes.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to strictly follow instructions given by your vet, and only if you do so will your dog be able to fully recover.

Also, don’t try to medicate your dog on your own because, in most cases, you will only create more problems for your dog. You should let professionals set the proper treatment for your dog.

How to clean your dog’s eyes?

To clean any eye discharge, use only a soft cotton ball without any additional soaps or sprays.  You can just gently soak it in warm water to make it easier to remove discharge.

Dogs’ eyes are extremely sensitive parts of their bodies, and you should always treat them with care if you don’t want some health problem to arise.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to eye discharge?

All dogs could develop problematic eye discharge, but most commonly, this problem can be seen in brachycephalic dog breeds. These dogs have shorter muzzles and might have more eye problems than other dog breeds.  If you own one of these dogs, ensure proper care for your dog’s eyes to keep them healthy.

Blocked tear ducts are also one problem that can cause eye discharge or eye boogers.  In normal situations, ducts will drain the tears through the nose and back of the throat, and if the tear duct is blocked, there is nowhere for tears to go, so they will run through their eyes.

This is most commonly seen in Poodles and Cocker Spaniels.

When to worry and call your vet?

You should contact your vet whenever you notice something strange with your dog’s eyes or some symptoms that could indicate that your dog is not feeling well.

Most problems in dogs happen because dog owners don’t react properly and on time, and it gives enough time for this problem to develop fully.  If you immediately take action right after realizing something is bothering your dog, the chances are greater that your dog will fully recover.

How to prevent eye problems in dogs?

Dogs’ eyes are extremely sensitive, and you should always try to protect them. Ensure that you always provide proper care, clean them regularly with a soft cotton ball soaked in warm water, and try to avoid areas with additional dust or pollen.

Also, make sure to regularly check your dog’s eyes for any symptoms that could indicate some health problems, such as redness, squinting, or swelling.  Only that way can you ensure your dog’s eyes are perfectly healthy.

World Dog Finder team

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