Why are Dogs Eyes Watery? 5 Common Causes Unveiled

Dogs’ eyes become watery due to several potential causes, including allergies, eye infections, irritants, or a medical condition called epiphora. Watery eyes in dogs can be a concerning issue for pet owners.

Although occasional tearing is normal, excessive eye discharge can signal an underlying problem. Numerous factors can contribute to dogs’ watery eyes, such as allergies, infections, irritants, or a condition known as epiphora. Allergies can cause itchiness, redness, and excessive tearing in dogs, while eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, can lead to watery eyes accompanied by discharge.

Additionally, irritants like smoke, dust, or foreign particles can cause dogs’ eyes to become watery as a natural defense mechanism. Moreover, the condition called epiphora, often observed in dogs with prominent or shallow eye sockets, can prevent proper tear drainage and result in watery eyes. Understanding the reasons behind watery eyes in dogs is important to ensure proper care and seek veterinary attention when necessary.

Tear Duct Blockage

The tear ducts, also known as lacrimal ducts, play a crucial role in keeping your furry friend’s eyes moist and free from irritation. These small channels are responsible for draining excess tears from the eyes into the nasal cavity. In dogs, tear ducts are located at the inner corners of the eyes. They transport the tears through canaliculi, small tubes that lead to the lacrimal sac and eventually connect to the nasal duct. This efficient drainage system helps maintain the cleanliness and health of a dog’s eyes.

Causes Of Tear Duct Blockage

Tear duct blockage, also known as dacryostenosis, can occur for a variety of reasons. It is most commonly seen in certain breeds, such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs, due to their facial structure. However, other factors can contribute to tear duct blockage as well. Some common causes include:

  1. Congenital abnormalities: Some dogs are born with narrow or absent tear ducts, making them more prone to blockage.
  2. Inflammation or infection: Conditions like conjunctivitis and sinusitis can lead to swelling and inflammation of the tear ducts, resulting in blockage.
  3. Trauma: Any injury to the face or head, such as a scratch or blow, can cause damage to the tear ducts and lead to blockage.
  4. Tumors: In rare cases, tumors can grow within the tear ducts, obstructing the flow of tears.

Symptoms And Diagnosis

Identifying tear duct blockage in dogs is relatively straightforward, as there are specific signs to look out for. If your canine companion is experiencing this condition, you may notice:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness and irritation around the eyes
  • Mucus or discharge from the eyes
  • Frequent blinking or pawing at the eyes

To diagnose tear duct blockage, a veterinarian will perform a thorough eye examination. This may involve using special dyes to check for blockages, assessing tear production, and evaluating the overall health of the eyes. In some cases, further imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound, may be necessary to determine the exact cause and extent of the blockage.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to alleviate tear duct blockage in dogs. The specific approach will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Some potential treatment options may include:

  1. Medication: Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation and treat any associated infections.
  2. Surgical intervention: In more severe cases or when other treatment methods have failed, surgery may be recommended. This can involve widening the tear ducts or creating an alternative drainage path.
  3. Flushing and irrigation: Regular flushing of the tear ducts with a sterile solution can help clear blockages and maintain their patency.

It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your dog. Early intervention and proper management can help alleviate discomfort and prevent complications associated with tear duct blockage.


Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from allergies that can cause various discomforting symptoms. Allergies occur when a dog’s immune system overreacts to certain substances, known as allergens, in their environment or diet. One common symptom of allergies in dogs is watery eyes. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and ways to manage allergies can help alleviate your furry friend’s discomfort.

Allergens That Can Cause Watery Eyes

Different allergens can trigger watery eyes in dogs. Some common allergens include:

  1. Pollen: Seasonal allergies caused by pollen are known as hay fever or canine allergic rhinitis. When dogs come into contact with specific pollens, their immune systems may respond by releasing histamines, resulting in itchy and watery eyes.
  2. Household cleaners: Certain chemicals found in household cleaners, such as perfumes or strong detergents, can irritate a dog’s eyes and lead to excess tearing.
  3. Mold and mildew: Dogs who are exposed to damp environments or areas with mold and mildew may develop allergic reactions, including watery eyes.
  4. Dust mites: These microscopic insects thrive in carpets, bedding, and upholstery. Dogs can become allergic to the proteins found in dust mite feces, leading to watery eyes and other symptoms.
  5. Insect bites or stings: Some dogs may be hypersensitive to insect bites or stings, which can cause localized allergic reactions, including swelling and watery eyes.
  6. Foods: Certain ingredients in a dog’s diet can trigger food allergies, resulting in various symptoms, including watery eyes.

Common Symptoms Of Allergies

Identifying the signs of allergies in dogs is important in order to provide timely relief. Some common symptoms of allergies that may accompany watery eyes include:

  • Frequent scratching and licking of the paws, face, or body
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Redness and inflammation of the skin
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Ear infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Excessive itching or chewing

Managing Allergies In Dogs

While complete elimination of allergies may not always be possible, several strategies can help manage your dog’s allergies and minimize watery eyes:

  • Identify and avoid triggers: If you suspect a specific allergen is causing your dog’s watery eyes, try to eliminate or minimize their exposure to it.
  • Regular bathing: Washing your dog with hypoallergenic shampoos can help remove allergens from their skin and coat. Consult with your veterinarian for the appropriate bathing frequency.
  • Antihistamines or corticosteroids: In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids to reduce allergic reactions and relieve watery eyes.
  • Allergy testing: If your dog’s allergies are severe or persistent, your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing to identify specific triggers. This can help you develop a targeted treatment plan.
  • Dietary changes: If food allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may suggest a specialized elimination diet to pinpoint the problematic ingredient.

Remember, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored to your dog’s specific needs. By understanding and managing allergies effectively, you can help your four-legged companion enjoy a happier and healthier life.

Eye Infections

Eye infections are a common issue that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. These infections can lead to watery eyes and discomfort for our furry friends. Identifying the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for eye infections in dogs is essential for their overall well-being. In this article, we will explore different types of eye infections, common bacterial and viral causes, the associated symptoms and diagnosis, as well as treatment options and prevention tips.

Types Of Eye Infections In Dogs

There are several types of eye infections that can afflict our canine companions. These include:

Conjunctivitis: Also known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is a common form of eye infection in dogs. It occurs when the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the eyeball and inner eyelid, becomes inflamed.
Keratitis: Keratitis refers to the inflammation of the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye. This condition can be caused by infections, foreign objects, or even self-induced trauma.
Uveitis: Uveitis involves the inflammation of the uvea, which includes the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. It can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, as well as systemic diseases.
Dacryocystitis: This type of infection affects the tear ducts and can lead to excessive tearing, discharge, and discomfort. Dacryocystitis is commonly caused by the obstruction of the tear ducts.

Common Bacterial And Viral Causes

Eye infections in dogs can be caused by various bacteria and viruses. Some common culprits include:

  1. Bacterial infections: Bacterial eye infections can be caused by organisms such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas. These bacteria can enter the eye through injury, irritants, or other underlying health conditions.
  2. Viral infections: Viral eye infections in dogs are often caused by the canine adenovirus and the canine herpesvirus. These viruses can be transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects.

Symptoms And Diagnosis

It’s important to pay attention to the signs of an eye infection in our canine companions. Some common symptoms include:

  • Redness and inflammation: Dogs with eye infections may exhibit redness and swelling around the eye area.
  • Excessive tearing: Watery eyes are a common symptom of eye infections, as the body tries to flush out the irritants or infection.
  • Discharge: The affected eye may produce a discharge that can be clear, yellow, or green in color.
  • Squinting and blinking: Dogs may squint or blink more frequently, as they try to alleviate the discomfort caused by the infection.

If you suspect your dog has an eye infection, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance. A thorough examination by a veterinarian will aid in the accurate diagnosis of the infection and help rule out any underlying causes.

Treatment Options And Prevention Tips

The treatment of eye infections in dogs typically involves a combination of medication and at-home care. Depending on the severity and type of infection, your veterinarian may prescribe:

  • Antibiotic or antiviral eye drops: These medications help combat bacterial or viral infections directly in the eye.
  • Oral antibiotics: In more severe cases, dogs may need oral antibiotics to tackle the infection systemically.
  • Warm compress: Applying a warm compress to the affected eye can help relieve inflammation and discomfort.

To prevent eye infections in dogs, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene and be mindful of their surroundings. Here are some prevention tips:

  1. Regular eye cleaning: Gently clean your dog’s eyes with a moist cloth or specialized dog-friendly eye wipes to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Avoid irritants: Keep your dog away from potential irritants such as smoke, chemicals, and dust that can trigger eye infections.
  3. Trim facial hair: Regularly trim the hair around your dog’s eyes to prevent it from irritating their eyes or blocking tear ducts.
  4. Vaccination: Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations to protect against certain viral infections that can cause eye problems.

By being proactive in preventing eye infections and seeking prompt treatment, you can help safeguard your dog’s vision and overall ocular health. Remember, early detection and intervention are key to managing eye infections effectively.

Irritants And Foreign Bodies

In dogs, watery eyes can be a common occurrence that may be caused by various factors. Some of these factors include irritants and foreign bodies that come into contact with the sensitive tissues of the eyes. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of these potential causes so they can take the necessary steps to prevent and treat eye irritations.

Common Irritants That Can Cause Watery Eyes

When it comes to irritants, there are several substances that can trigger excessive tearing in dogs. These irritants can include:

  • Dust and pollen
  • Smoke and chemical fumes
  • Strong fragrances, such as perfumes or cleaning products
  • Harsh weather conditions, like wind or extreme cold

These irritants can lead to inflammation and discomfort, causing the eyes to produce excessive tears as a defense mechanism.

Foreign Bodies That May Irritate The Eyes

In addition to irritants, foreign bodies can also cause watery eyes in dogs. Foreign bodies may include:

  • Dirt or debris
  • Sand or small stones
  • Pollen or grass seeds
  • Foreign objects, such as thorns or splinters

When these foreign bodies come into contact with the surface of the eye, they can scratch or injure the delicate tissues, leading to irritation and excessive tearing.

Signs And Symptoms Of Irritation Or Foreign Bodies

When a dog’s eyes are irritated or when foreign bodies are present, there are several signs and symptoms that pet owners should watch out for:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness and inflammation around the eyes
  • Squinting or blinking more frequently than usual
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eyes
  • Discharge or crustiness around the eyes

If you notice any of these signs in your furry friend, it’s crucial to take action to alleviate their discomfort and prevent further complications.

Steps To Prevent And Treat Eye Irritations

Preventing and treating eye irritations in dogs requires timely action and proper care. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Keep your dog’s living environment clean and free of irritants like dust and smoke.
  2. Avoid using harsh chemicals or fragrances near your dog’s eyes.
  3. Provide regular grooming, paying close attention to the area around the eyes, to remove any debris.
  4. If your dog is prone to eye irritations, consider using protective goggles during outdoor activities.
  5. If you suspect a foreign body in your dog’s eye, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

By following these preventive measures and promptly addressing any irritations or foreign bodies, you can help protect your dog’s eyes and ensure their overall well-being.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a common condition that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It occurs when there is insufficient tear production or an imbalance in the composition of tears, resulting in dry and irritated eyes. Tears play a critical role in lubricating the eyes, protecting them from foreign objects, and aiding in clear vision. When dogs don’t produce enough tears or the tears they do produce are of poor quality, it can lead to discomfort and potential complications if left untreated.

Causes And Risk Factors

The causes of dry eye syndrome in dogs can vary, but a common underlying factor is an autoimmune disease known as autoimmune dacryoadenitis. This condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the tear-producing glands in the eyes. Other factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome include:

Dietary deficiencies:

A lack of essential fatty acids, vitamin A, or zinc in a dog’s diet can impair tear production and contribute to dry eyes.

Genetic predisposition:

Certain breeds, such as English Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, and West Highland White Terriers, are more susceptible to developing dry eye syndrome.

Environmental factors:

Dry or dusty environments, exposure to cigarette smoke, and certain medications can also contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome in dogs.

Symptoms And Diagnosis

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome may vary depending on the severity of the condition, but common signs to watch out for include:

  • Watery or excessively watery eyes
  • Redness and inflammation of the eyes
  • Squinting or pawing at the eyes
  • Thick, mucus-like discharge
  • Cloudy appearance of the cornea
  • Sensitivity to light

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from dry eye syndrome, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The veterinarian may perform a tear production test, such as the Schirmer tear test, to measure the quantity and quality of tears. They may also examine the eyes using a special dye to evaluate the health of the cornea and rule out any other underlying eye conditions.

Treatment Options And Management Strategies

While there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, several treatment options and management strategies can help alleviate the symptoms and prevent complications. The most common approach involves the use of artificial tears or eye drops that mimic the composition of natural tears. These lubricating eye drops help moisturize the eyes and relieve discomfort.

In more severe cases, medications such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus may be prescribed to increase tear production or reduce inflammation in the tear glands. These medications may take time to show their full effects, and regular follow-up visits to the veterinarian may be necessary to monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan if needed.

In some cases, surgical options such as parotid duct transposition or a temporary or permanent tear duct bypass may be recommended for dogs that do not respond to other treatments.


To sum up, it is quite common for dogs to have watery eyes, which can be attributed to various factors such as allergies, eye irritations, or underlying health conditions. By keeping an eye on your furry friend’s eye health, providing proper eye care, and seeking veterinarian advice when needed, you can ensure their comfort and well-being.

Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in keeping those puppy eyes clear and bright.

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