Why does your body make eye boogers

Lovely-dogs

Have you ever wiped some gunky out of your dog's eye and wondered if it should be there or not? You're not alone.

Well, dog boggers, or eye discharge, is common in dogs. It can be a sign of something serious or just allergies. Most dogs experience eye discharge from getting dirt or dust in their eye, which is normal. Some may get allergic eye drops, which is normal too. What is not normal is if a yellowish discharge forms or you can feel physical changes in the eye itself - whether it starts to cloud, bulge, or press back into the skull.

All day long, dogs collect debris in their eyes, and it is their body's natural response to cleanse them. Tears will be released every time your puppy blinks to provide protection and remove any irritation like a piece of fur. According to Dr. Brittany Cartlidge from Atlas Vet DC, dog eyes are naturally shrouded in tears to protect themselves from infection and to remove debris. Some breeds tend to have more vaginal discharge than others, which is not necessarily a medical problem. Many dogs suffer from allergies and, like humans, experience an increase in eye bleeding along with possible redness. Cartlidge says flushing the eye with over the counter sterile eye wash can give them some relief.

1. Allergies

Like humans, dogs experience everyday things like grass, pollen, and dust that their bodies may find dangerous, leading to a physical reaction, such as eye discharge. While the dust in the dog park is fine, inhaling, ingesting, or coming into contact with the dog's skin can be a problem for your puppy. According to PetMD, breeds like terriers, setters, retrievers, and flat-faced dogs like bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers are prone to allergies.

Dogs can be allergic to a number of things. Everything from weed and pollen to the stuff your Kong is made of. Some common symptoms that your dog has allergies are:

  • Itchy, watery eyes (eye discharge)
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Vomit
  • Sneeze
  • Snoring (if they don't normally snore)
  • Excessive scratching
  • Chewing paw / Swollen paws
  • 2. Conjunctivitis (aka pink eye)

    Some eye boogers differ from general eye dismissal and those just-waking eye boogers. If you notice that your dog has clear or purulent eyelids, or excessive redness in and around the eye, get your veterinarian to check - it could be conjunctivitis. Bacterial or viral pink eyes, also known as conjunctivitis, is inflammation of the conjunctiva. According to PetMD, the conjunctiva is the thin, clear tissue that overlies the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Look for red eyes, sores, pausing eyes, squinting eyes, or crusty eyes.

    3. Epiphora

    Be on the lookout for excessively watery eyes known as Epiphora. Epiphora means the eyes are filled with tears, according to VCA Hospitals. A few signs of Epiphora include excessive moisture around the eyes, brown spots under the eyes, an odor, or skin irritation. This is more noticeable in breeds with lighter coats. But if you wipe your dark colored pup's eye and the discharge is brown, keep an eye on her and make an appointment with your veterinarian. Try to figure out the cause of the excess drainage, whether it's allergies, conjunctivitis, a previous eye injury, or something else.

    4. Keratoconjunctivits Sicca (KCS)

    Next on the eye drainage list is keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) also known as dry eye - the inability to produce enough tears. Dry eye happens when the lacrimal gland becomes infected or trauma has occurred. Dry eye symptoms include yellowish discharge, inflammation around the eye, and excessive blinking or swelling of the eyelids. The cornea is very vulnerable, which can lead to eye infections or corneal damage. If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian as KCS can cause the vision loss.

    If you're not sure if your dog has KCS, a picture and more information can be found here.

    5. Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is when pressure is placed on the eye, resulting in insufficient drainage of eye fluid. According to PetMD, some breeds like poodles, chow chow's, and cocker spaniels are prone to glaucoma. There are two types of glaucoma in dogs - primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is when the eye cannot drain, which causes fluid to enter the eye. Secondary glaucoma is when some type of trauma has entered the eye, such as inflammation or cancer of the eye, that physically blocks the drainage. If you have glaucoma, watch out for excessive blinking, the bulge of the eye, high pressure on the eye, cloudy eyes, dilated pupils, or loss of vision. Take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible and have their intraocular pressure checked to determine further treatment.

    For more information and detailed pictures, see Animal Eye Care.

    To aid your canine companion with drainage, keep the hair around the eyes trimmed. If you have a long haired dog or have bothersome hair around your eyes, ask your groom to trim the area. Be careful about things that could irritate your dog's eyes like shampoo, flea repellant, and dust. After the dog park, dampen a towel to clean up any kinds of debris that might be there. Finally, see if you notice anything that is irritating your pup.

    Feature image via BarkFeed

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