Dog Eye Gunk: What It Is, How to Clean It, and When to Worry

Eye discharge, or what we pet parents like to call “dog eye boogers”, happens often for a common reason: your dog’s eyes & tears are flushing out dust after a long night of sleep. This eye gunk can differ in texture, fluidity, and color depending on the dog or scenario. For example, you may notice your dog’s eye boogers range from a little crusty to mucus-y and can appear green, yellow, or clear. Some of these signs, however, can indicate an underlying eye infection.

If you noticed gunk or eye discharge in your dog’s eye and found yourself Googling, “My dog’s eye is goopy” you’re not alone.

But how can you tell if your dog needs to see a vet, or if this is just normal? In this article, we will break down the signs of concern and signs of when you can tackle your dog’s eye boogers at home.

If you’re reading while eating, here’s your warning: we’re about to get into the sometimes icky details about the causes of eye discharge. Read on for more—plus five care tips you need.

dog eye gunk

What Does Normal Dog Eye Discharge Look Like?

The medically correct term for dog eye gunk is discharge. Clear to whitish-grey eye boogers with a watery consistency are normal in most dogs. You may notice some dust in them as well.

Be aware that discharge can change in appearance. If your dog’s eye gunk looks more pus-like, with a tendency to crust, this could be a sign of a bigger problem.

The Four Causes of Dog Eye Discharge

*If you’re unsure about the cause of your dog’s unusually runny or sometimes crusty eyes, always consult with your vet for a professional opinion.

  1. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis in dog

Or, as we humans call it, pink eye. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inner layer of the eyelid. This eye infection is often paired with:

  • dog eye gunk that appears as a yellow-green pus
  • yellow eye discharge that crusts overnight
  • bloodshot or pink eyes
  • excessive blinking or itching
  • pawing at the eyes

Conjunctivitis has many causes. Some cases are viral, others are bacterial, and some can be attributed to allergies or even eye tumors. The key? Seeing the vet at the first sign of symptoms to nail down the source so it can be treated properly. The most common treatment likely includes antibiotics and soothing washes to keep any serious damage at bay.



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