Jump to section

What are Watery Eyes?

Complications of an ocular nature can vary greatly in a cause. Excessive tearing can result from abnormalities with the eyelids, infection, or diseases of the eye. Resolution of epiphora can range from simple to complex. While epiphora is not breed specific, certain breeds are more predisposed to some ocular conditions. For example, dogs with the anatomical “flattened or squished” face can have problems related to tear duct drainage.

Epiphora is the medical term for an excessive watery, ocular discharge. Often secondary to a variety of conditions, watery eyes become a problem when accompanied by other symptoms that indicate irritation. Eye conditions can be painful for your pet and should be investigated by a veterinarian without delay.

Watery Eyes Average Cost

From 62 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Watery Eyes in Dogs

Veterinarian treatment is essential when dealing with eye conditions. Disorders of the eye can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog. If you notice or come across any of the symptoms below, contact the veterinary caregiver for an appointment.

  • Puffiness around the eye
  • Redness of the eye
  • Squinting, which can mean pain
  • Discharge
  • Reddish brown staining of the fur
  • Dampness or wetness under the eye
  • Sneezing
  • Eye or skin infection
  • Holding eye shut
  • Odor
  • Rubbing of eyes with the paw, or against other objects
Types

There are several types of ocular conditions that can cause watery eyes, some of which are listed below.

  • Distichiasis
    • An entire row of eyelashes can be affected
    • The eyelashes may grow in an abnormal direction or in an abnormal location on the eyelid
    • Genetics play a factor
    • Many breeds can be affected: Chesapeake Retriever. Golden Retriever, Shetland Sheepdog, Pekingese, Pug, Boxer, Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Dachshund, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso
  • Entropion
    • With this condition, the eyelid rolls inward

    • The hair on the surface of the eyelid rubs against the cornea
    • Some of the many breeds that may be affected by this congenital disorder are Akita, Shar Pei, Great Pyrenees, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pekingese, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Bulldog, Pomeranian, Mastiff, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Japanese Chin, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Dalmatian, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner, Poodle, Basset Hound and Irish Setter
  • Conjunctivitis
    • This is an inflammation of the lining tissue that covers the eye
    • Often both eyes will be involved
    • May be secondary to another disease
    • Breed associated conditions may predispose German Shepherds and Collies
  • Dacryocystitis
    • An inflammation of the tear duct which can be genetic (such as abnormal development) or acquired (tumor or bacteria)
    • Brachycephalic breeds are susceptible due to the shallow eye socket and the tight eyelid
    • Examples of this breed, which have a flat and wide skull, are the Pug, Pekingese, Bulldog and Boston Terrier
  • Corneal Ulcer
    • This is the erosion through the epithelium (outer layer of eye) into the stroma (main support tissue for the cornea)
    • The most common cause is trauma
    • Can be secondary to other diseases like Epithelial Dystrophy, which can be inherited by Boxers
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Watery Eyes in Dogs

There can be many causes for watery eyes which lead to various degrees of seriousness. Several of the causes are listed here.

  • Breeds with excessive hair on the face can have the hair growing into the eye
  • Eyelashes growing at an abnormal angle
  • Allergy to pollen
  • Dust, smog
  • Trauma, punctures, scratches
  • Tumor
  • Sprays or perfumes
  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Fungi
  • Chronic infection
  • Glaucoma
  • Facial anatomy that causes inadequate tear drainage
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Congenital issues like folds on the skin that become infected from constant wetness
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Watery Eyes in Dogs

Because watery eyes can be the indication of a serious problem, do not delay in taking your dog to the veterinarian for an eye examination. The veterinary caregiver will want to know how long the eyes have been watering, and whether there has been the presence of an illness of late.

If your dog is showing signs of pain, a topical anesthetic may be applied directly to the eye before the examination begins, in order to make the surface numb. A fluorescein stain may be administered in the eye. This is a painless procedure to verify if there are scratches, to check for foreign objects, or to assess tear drainage. Once the stain has been applied and your dog’s head is tilted slightly downward, the veterinary caregiver will assess the drainage capabilities of the nose. Normal function will allow the stain to become evident in the nose within minutes.

The veterinarian will also examine your pet’s eyes to evaluate tear production, corneal damage, and nasolacrimal duct function. Radiographs may be included to look for possible obstructions.

Depending on the cause for the epiphora, the veterinarian may suggest further investigation with an ophthalmologist.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Watery Eyes in Dogs

The treatment of watery eyes in dogs will vary depending on the cause.

  • Distichiasis and entropion
    • In the case of distichiasis and entropion, surgery is the most viable option.
    • Because the eyelashes and the hair on the eyelid can rub against the eyeball, ulcers can result.
    • If the ulcers are left untreated, vision loss can occur
  • Conjunctivitis
    • If not taken care of, conjunctivitis can lead to impaired vision
    • Treatment involves flushing the eye, and a course of antibiotic therapy
    • Eye drops and eye ointments are also given
  • Dacryocystitis
    • Treatment will mean flushing out the eye with sterile water or saline solution
    • Antibiotics will be prescribed
    • If the damage is too severe, surgery might be needed to create a new drainage pathway
    • The new drainage route will empty tears into the nasal cavity, mouth or sinus
  • Corneal Ulcer
    • It is important to care for an ulcer without delay because the eye can be damaged beyond repair
    • Antibiotic eyedrops and ointments are required
    • There's a decent likelihood that your dog may be required to wear an Elizabethan collar so as to not rub the eye
arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Watery Eyes in Dogs

Return visits to the clinic will be necessary in the case of epiphora. Complete resolution of the secondary problem is critical. Recurrent intermittent episodes of conditions related to watery eyes are not uncommon; therefore, even if you feel that your dog is back to normal, the veterinarian will need to confirm that the therapy has been thorough and sufficient. It should be noted that multiple flushings may be needed in many cases.

You may need to administer eye drops or ointment at home for a period of time. The veterinarian will be able to coach you on the best method of giving the eye drops.

For the breeds who have hair that may interfere with preventing a recurrence, diligent grooming by a professional is needed.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Watery Eyes Average Cost

From 62 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$450

arrow-up-icon

Top

Watery Eyes Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Itching

My dog start getting watery eyes all of sudden and I saw few time him scratching his eyes too

July 21, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello From what you are describing, it sounds like your pup may have allergies. I recommend that you call your vet or take him in for an exam, and they may direct you to bring him in or possibly give Benadryl if indicated. Good luck.

July 21, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Cami

dog-breed-icon

Alaskan Husky

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Eye

I am noticing a small but noticeable brownish/dark red drainage on her fur coming from the corner of her eyes. 1 more then the other. It doesn't seem to bother her and she's not scratching or even touching her eyes. Could this be a sign of aging? We do live in NC and allergies are always a possibility though she's never had them before. (1 of my other dogs now has allergies this yr at the age of 9 for the first time)

July 12, 2018

Cami's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are various causes for a runny eye in dogs and a pigment in the tears may lead to staining; however the causes for the tearing may include infections, allergies, small foreign objects, ingrowing eyelashes among other causes. You should have your Veterinarian examining the eye to ensure that there isn’t anything like an ingrowing eyelash causing these issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 12, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Max

dog-breed-icon

Mixed

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Eyes.Clear Eye Sleep

Recently my dog's eyes have started being runny watery with sleep it's clear your eyes aren't red and there's no odor could it just be allergies or another issue there's no other problems

April 17, 2018

Max's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Watery eyes may be due to allergies, small foreign objects (including stray hairs), other sources of irritation or the start of an infection. I would flush the eyes out with sterile saline twice per day to see if there is any improvement; if the eyes continue to water I would suggest popping into your Veterinarian for a general check to make sure there isn’t something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 18, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Mia

dog-breed-icon

Shar Pei

dog-age-icon

7 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Clouding
Eyes Red

My Shar pei, 8 months old has been squinting, mostly at the end of the day. Blinking a lot as well. She had one eye tacked at 2 months old, but both her eyes are being affected. She is white in color and has the brown staining coming from both her eyes as well, which I cannot remove from her fur.I feel so bad fir her. I havnt taken her in yet but I'm reading surgery is probably what will be needed. Something I probably can't afford. But I will do anything for her. Any advice.

Dec. 3, 2017

Mia's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are many causes for excessive tears which may include allergies, trichiasis, small foreign objects in the eyes, infections among other issues; you should make sure that the eyes are clear of any foreign material and visit your Veterinarian to explore your options. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Dec. 3, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Cooper

dog-breed-icon

Maltipoo

dog-age-icon

10 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Our Maltipoo puppy is now 10 months old and has watery eye discharge since the day we brought him home. The discharge is clear and his eyes do not appear gooey but the hair medially and inferior to his eyes now has an odor that is not pleasant. There is pink staining where the wetness of both eyes occurs. What should we do?

Sept. 6, 2017

Cooper's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Light pink tear staining is usually caused by porphyrin which is an iron containing compound which is sometimes excreted in tears; it would be best to visit your Veterinarian to check over Cooper’s eyes and to check if the nasolacrimal duct is clear (blockage can lead to excessive staining). Infections, foreign bodies, blocked nasolacrimal duct among other causes can make the problem worse which is why a visit to your Veterinarian would be the best course of action. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 6, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Teddy

dog-breed-icon

Shih-Tzu

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Eyes

My dog was playing with a puppy for a couple days. It was normal play, but now my dog has watery eyes. He will sometimes paw at his eyes. Should I just keep an eye on it? Or should I take him in? He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but the watery eyes are worse tonight.

Watery Eyes Average Cost

From 62 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$450

How can we help your pet?