Have you noticed a discharge coming from your pet’s eyes? If so, you’re probably wondering…
Why Does My Dog Have Mucus in His Eyes?
Eye mucus in dogs is normal and can be caused by a number of things, from viruses to allergies.
However, excessive discharge (especially when it’s yellow or yellow-green) could be a sign of an infection, glaucoma or other eye problem — even a brain or nerve injury.
Learning more about the most common causes of excessive eye discharge will enable you to help your dog stay healthy. To keep this article simple, I’ll discuss three very common culprits: conjunctivitis, dry eye and breed issues.
Keep in mind that there are many more possible causes of mucus in a dog’s eyes, so please see your veterinarian for a diagnosis if the discharge seems excessive — or if your dog is squinting and has tender eyes.
Here are three common causes of mucus in a dog’s eye:
According to the book What’s Wrong With My Dog’s Eyes, if you notice your dog rubbing and scratching his eyes, he could have conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the mucus membranes that line the inner surface of the eyelid. This condition can be brought on by trauma, bacteria, viruses, foreign matter or allergies.
Bacterial conjunctivitis can be highly contagious, so keep your infected pet away from other dogs and family members. Check for foreign matter by looking at both your dog’s eyes. Wear rubber gloves and check for pus and mucus that may be causing the irritation.
Flush out the eyes using a saline solution. Then, using a cotton swab, gently remove any mucus that is still there. Two to three times a day, place a few drops of eyedrops (such as Visine or Artificial Tears) to help soothe his eyes. This process will usually clear up the eye problem within a few days. If it does not clear up, it’s time to visit your veterinarian — she can determine if your pet has an eye injury to the cornea.
In this video, Wendy Zimmerman, DVM, CVA, explains more about how to clean a dog’s eyes using an eye wash that’s pet-safe:
2. Canine Dry Eye
This condition stems from a failure to produce eye-cleaning tears.
Symptoms include mucus and inflammation. Infection is a big risk for dogs with dry eye, and it can be painful. Treatments for dry eye in dogs range from artificial tears (for mild cases) to antibiotics. In severe cases, surgery is sometimes recommended.
3. Breed Issues
Type of breed can also play an important role in a dog’s eye problems. Flat-headed dogs — such as Pekingese, bulldogs, boxers and pugs — are more likely to have discharge because their eye sockets are more shallow and their eyes protrude more.
Breeds with loose facial skin (including cocker spaniels, bloodhounds, beagles and some terriers) are more prone to cherry eye, a condition that occurs when a gland in the eyelid gets out of place. Although steroids and antibiotics will help, sometimes surgery is needed.
See Your Veterinarian for More
Because excessive eye discharge can be a sign of more serious problems than the ones I mentioned above, don’t hesitate to ask your own vet, “Why does my dog have mucus in his eyes?”
To help those eyes stay bright and healthy, keep long hair trimmed from around the eyes. Also, make sure that shampoo and other irritants do not get into the eyes. Remember that bacteria feeds on mucus, so when you see a little mucus in the corner of your dog’s eyes, clean it out with a soft, moist cloth to help prevent infection.
Does your dog have eye discharge? Tell me about it in the comments section below. You might also want to check out my previous post on the six strangest dog behaviors I’ve ever heard of. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love Pets Adviser’s popular email newsletter. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll also be among the first to get alerts about major dog food recalls: Learn more here.