It’s widely known and without a doubt that dogs have emotions just like people do. They can be scared, happy, angry, and sad. We know enough about their body language and brains that we know they experience a wide range of feelings just like humans do. But can dogs actually cry? You might have seen small dogs with teary eyes, but are they actually crying? Chihuahuas, like many other small breed dogs, tend to share similar health problems. One of which is the runny eyes and stains from weeping eyes. What does it mean? Is your Chihuahua okay? What can you do about your pet’s watery eyes?
The Root of the Behavior
Watery eyes is a condition called epiphora, which means an overflow of tears. It can be caused by a genetic condition which causes the eyelid or eyelashes to turn inward rather than outward. Breeds that tend to inherit those conditions and have watery eyes include Shar Peis, Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Pugs, Poodles, Labradors, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pekingese, and Chihuahuas. If your Chihuahua or other dog has watery eyes, you might also notice inflammation, redness, and squinting. Other conditions may cause watery eyes as well, including injury to the face, tumors, infections, sinus issues, congenital abnormalities of the eyes or eyelids, and debris in the eyes. Chihuahuas and breeds with the same kinds of eyelid or eyelash deformities may have chronically watery eyes, and there may not be much you can do about it other than keeping the area clean.
Wiping their face and eyes at least twice a day will reduce the amount of staining you have to deal with. Dogs with white or light-colored fur may have more staining than others, because the color is more noticeable. Allergies, however, may be another potential common cause of watery eyes. Your veterinarian can diagnose allergies in your dog, but if watery eyes is accompanied by itching or redness on the skin, it’s likely allergies. Dogs can be allergic to almost anything that humans can, including foods, fabrics, dust, dander, grass and pollen, mold, and more. If your dog’s eyes water during warm weather, that may be a good indicator. Your vet can tell you more about what to do about canine allergies. Alternatively, if watery eyes begins suddenly, there may be a more direct cause, such as an eye infection or debris in the eye or blocking the tear duct. You should see your vet if your dog’s eyes produce a colored discharge or become bloody.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you have a Chihuahua with watery eyes, and they’ve always had it, there’s probably nothing else going on. If the watery eyes come on suddenly, you should see your vet to make sure your dog’s eyes haven’t gotten scratched or irritated by debris. Small, active dogs tend to get debris in their eyes easily, since they’re lower to the ground and any dust traveling past. If your dog presents other symptoms, their eye discharge is yellow, green, or bloody, you should consult your vet. Other infections and illnesses can also cause watery eyes, especially sinus infections.
If a physical trait, such as long facial hair is causing the excessive watering, you can help by keeping your dog’s facial hair trimmed and clean. For staining near the eyes, your vet may be able to prescribe topical treatments. Alternatively, you can purchase products with hydrogen peroxide which may help whiten fur that has been stained from eye discharge. Also, just wiping your dog’s face twice a day with a damp cloth will help prevent staining. Do not give your dog a bath too frequently or use soap near your dog’s eyes. Excessive bathing can do more harm than good, drying out your dog’s skin, causing skin irritation, dryness, and other skin and coat problems. Once a month or up to twice a month is plenty.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you are concerned about your dog’s watery eyes, or your dog displays other symptoms, do not hesitate to see your veterinary professional. Some dogs will just have watery eyes all the time and there is nothing you can do about it. Other times, your veterinarian may be able to tell you what you can do for your pup. Starting early and training your pup to hold still will make eye examinations easier in the future. Chihuahua puppies often do not develop watery eyes until adulthood or until they are elderly. However, this does not mean that you should not get your pet accustomed to having their face cleaned and their eyes examined.
Watery eyes can be annoying and messy, but for the most part, it’s harmless. The staining that results is a cosmetic concern, but can be improved with adequate grooming practices. If you think your dog is sick or injured, it’s always a good idea to see your vet for proper treatment.
By a Border Collie lover Charlotte Perez
Published: 04/05/2018, edited: 01/30/2020