What are dog eye boogers and how to remove them?

Your dog can look unattractive with eye boogers. Almost all dogs will have ocular discharge at some time in their life, and it typically does not signify a health problem. However, ignoring eye boogers due to an infection or discomfort might lead to more serious eye problems, such as corneal ulcers and glaucoma.

What is an Eye Booger?

Eye boogers are ocular discharge buildups in the inner corners of a dog’s eyes. This “gunk” may occur after your dog has slept, similar to how humans wake up with sleep crust in the morning, or it can accumulate during the day. Eye boogers, also known as rheum, are generally a combination of mucus, tears, and skin cells. When your dog sleeps, he accumulates ocular discharge, which tends to dry up and harden until he wakes up and you wipe it away.

Causes of Eye Boogers

The hue of a dog’s eye boogers may help distinguish between typical, innocuous detritus and harmful discharge. For example, redness may suggest normal tear coloration or the presence of blood. Still, copious yellow or green discharge may indicate an infection.

Reddish Tear

Light-colored dogs, Bolognese, often develop a reddish-brown stain at the inner corner of their eyes. This happens because tears contain a pigment called porphyrin, which becomes reddish-brown when exposed to air for an extended period. Tear staining in this region is typical in the absence of other disorders and is just a cosmetic concern. Try one or more remedies by consulting your vet to reduce your dog’s tear stains.

Firstly, you can wipe the region down several times each day with a warm-water-dampened cloth or a dog-specific cleaning product. Or you can give your dog an antibiotic-free dietary supplement to help with tear stains.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

When your dog’s mucus becomes thicker, whiter, or greyer, you should take him to the vet. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), often known as “dry eye,” is a disorder in which the body’s inability to produce tears increases mucus production. As a result, white dog eye discharge, inflammation, and ulcers develop.

The immune system attacks and destroys the lacrimal and third eyelid glands in most instances of dry eye syndrome in dogs. Also, tear production is typically reduced by systemic diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease.


If your dog gets clear eye discharge, it’s likely due to allergies or something physical, such as dust in the eye or wind in the face. A watery discharge or mucus from one eye often indicates a foreign substance, such as an eyelash. Still, yellow-green, or pus-like eye discharge might signal a severe illness. Always see your veterinarian determine the reason for your dog’s eye discharge. Certain issues may result in blindness or loss of an eye if left untreated.

Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of your dog’s eye lining, may be characterized by mucus, yellow-green pus, or a watery eye discharge. Conjunctivitis may be caused by various factors, including allergies, injuries, birth deformities, tear duct problems, foreign particles, dry eye, distemper, or even malignancies. Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include extremely red eyes, inflammation, excessive blinking, squinting, crusty eyes, pawing at the eyes, or closing the eyes frequently. To cure conjunctivitis, it’s critical to first figure out what’s causing it. Treatment may include removing the irritant and calming the region with pain medication, antibiotics, and saline wash to control infection.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Tear ducts are the little channels via which tears exit the eyes. Excessive eye boogers might occur if these tiny channels get clogged. Blockages in the tear ducts may be caused by congenital abnormalities, inflammation, tumors, external debris, and infections. Blocked tear ducts frequently need veterinarian treatment to be cleaned out.


An increase in normal ocular pressure is unpleasant and may result in profuse eye discharge that appears pus-like. Glaucoma needs quick veterinarian treatment owing to the discomfort it produces and the potential vision problems that might occur if not addressed.


When canine eyes directly touch elements such as dust, sand, smoke, or even a thread of eyelash hair, they release tears, much like human eyes. Epiphora happens when your dog’s tears do not stop falling excessively, indicating that something is lodged in the eye. This is a common occurrence since anything may obstruct your dog’s eyes and cause it to cry nonstop. In addition, tears congeal with dust around the eyes, leaving a thick coating of mucus that may be difficult to remove.

Suppose the particle clogs the eye for an extended length of time. In that case, your dog’s eyes may expand, making them difficult to open, which may result in significant injury to your canine.

Corneal Ulcers

A corneal ulcer develops anytime the cornea is harmed. Ulcers may be caused by a lack of tears, sickness, or damage. Corneal ulcers are distinguished from conjunctivitis by the presence of red and watery eyes. Furthermore, the dog will be light-sensitive, paw at their eyes frequently, and have a film over their eyes.


Some dogs are just more susceptible to eye problems than others. Because of their tiny eye sockets and projecting eyes, flat-faced dogs, such as pugs, sometimes have a lot of ocular discharge. Similarly, dogs with prominent eyes often suffer from tear flow difficulties, eyelash irritation, and other eyesight concerns. Dogs with loose facials are prone to outward rolling eyelids and cherry eyes.

All of these situations result in watery eyes and, ultimately, boogers.

How to Remove Eye Boogers?

Dogs’ eyes are inherently sensitive, regardless of breed. These furry animals have sensitive eyes, which may cause eye discomfort if they are subjected to numerous conditions such as a virus, foreign item, bacterial infection, allergies, or glaucoma. Your dog is at significant risk of developing an eye infection over its lifespan. You should be prepared to deal with it.

Some breeds are more prone to developing eye infections than others. Pugs, Pekingese, Poodles, Maltese, Cocker Spaniels, and Shih Tzus are some examples of breeds. If your dog is one of these breeds, you should always keep your dog’s eyes clean.

Here are some recommendations on cleaning your dog’s eyes, regardless of breed.

Trim Your Dog’s Facial Hair

The first step in ensuring effective cleaning is to remove facial hair around the eyes. Excessive hair might hinder your cleaning, and it can also irritate dogs’ eyes. In addition, ungroomed dog face hair may gather dust, dirt, or debris and go into your dog’s eyes, causing illnesses.

Tear stains may also be caused by excessive facial hair. Make trimming your dog’s facial hair a regular part of your hygiene regimen. It is advised to use scissors rather than clippers since clippers move too quickly and may damage your dog’s eye.

Wash the Eyes

Use only dog-specific cleaners or saline solutions after consulting your vet. Other harmful products such as multipurpose cleaners should not be used. If your veterinarian has recommended a particular product, a reliable saline solution is the best alternative for dogs. Saline solutions are mild and can clean your dog’s eyes of irritants that might cause infections. You can also make DIY soothing saline water by mixing ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and 1 cup of distilled water.

It is recommended that you clean your dog’s eye immediately after bathing him. Cotton pads should not be used since they may leave filaments on the eyelashes, eventually entering your dog’s eyes and causing more difficulties.

Prevent Tear Stain

White-coated breeds such as Bishon Frises can develop red-brownish tear stains underneath their eyes and between their toes. The reason might be health concerns, eye structure, clogged tear ducts, puppy teething, ear infection, allergies (food or environmental), etc. If your typically white-faced dog suddenly gets aggressive staining, see your veterinarian and potentially a veterinary ophthalmologist to verify any underlying health concerns.

To clean tear stains, you can use an appropriate canine eyewash. For example, saline eyewash solutions or Terra septic eye drop. Additionally, rub below and around the eyes with an eyewash wipe. Two ready-made solutions are Opti-Clear and Bio True; a do-it-yourself option is to combine one tablespoon of boric acid powder boiled in one cup of filtered water. You can also wash the muzzle hair with a damp washcloth and dry or waterless shampoo. You might also use 3% hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel. Comb and blow-dry your hair afterward.

Food additives may also help to prevent the tear stain issue in dogs. For example, you can add buttermilk powder or apple-cider vinegar to dog meals. Another product with promising benefits is I-Stain, a probiotic enzyme.

Use Pet Eye Comb

Eye combs are useful for removing eye boogers in dogs that stick to the hair around the eyes. They are simple to use, effective, and can be acquired at local pet shops and online. In addition, a little comb intended to remove tear stains and other dirt around your dog’s eyes can be purchased. It’s compact enough to fit into small areas and has rounded tines to reduce the danger of injury.

You’ll still need a firm hand, and you don’t want your dog to move at an inconvenient time, so having a companion to hold their head is a must.

Sterilize Tools

Make certain that the instruments you want to use have been thoroughly sterilized. This is done to guarantee that the infection does not arise or worsen. If you do not sterilize the instruments that come into touch with your dog’s eyes, the illness is likely to increase owing to germs present in the tools.

You should also make sure that you have clean hands before wiping your pet’s eyes. Your objective is to alleviate the pain and eliminate any irritants or germs in the eyes so that they may recover fully. You might aggravate the matter by having filthy hands, resulting in a more severe problem.

Use Eye Drops

Lubricating eye drops are non-toxic and safe for dogs to use. A high-quality drop or gel can soothe your dog’s eyes while protecting them from bacteria. If you opt to use lubricating eye drops to treat your dog’s eye boogers, wash your hands first. Before applying the eye drops, gently wipe the area around the dog’s eyes with warm water and a washcloth. Next, use your thumb and index finger to hold the bottle. Place this hand on the top of your dog’s head for further support.

Pull down the lower eyelid with your other hand’s thumb. The lower eyelid serves as a bag for the drops. Place your remaining fingers beneath the dog’s jaw to support the dog’s head. Hold the bottle near the eye, but do not contact the eye’s surface. Then squeeze the recommended amount of drops straight into the eyeball, aiming towards the center. Your dog will blink, which will disseminate the drug around the eye’s surface.

After receiving the drops, it is normal for dogs to blink or paw at the eye. Consult your veterinarian if this continues or if the eye becomes more inflamed or red following the treatment administration. You also need to ask your vet before following this procedure. Ensure your dog lots of praise during the treatment and reward him with a treat after you’re done. This will improve the experience and simplify administering the drug the following time.

Protect Your Dog’s Eyes

After cleaning, make certain that your dog’s eyes are always covered. Then, when using medicated shampoo or other flea-killing treatments, you must apply an ophthalmic gel to their eyes.

These items contain strong chemicals that are harmful to your pet’s eyes. Another thing to keep in mind is not to allow your dog to put his or her head out the window while driving, as this might cause particles to enter their eyes and irritate the cornea.

Different Eye Discharge in Dogs

Yellow or Green Discharge

Boogies with a mucus-like appearance are most often the result of an eye infection. They need to be checked by your veterinarian.

White Discharge

Dogs with hazy or white eye discharge are most likely suffering from inflammation rather than illness; allergies are a typical cause. However, eyes may also seem inflamed due to corneal ulcers, dry eye, or an irritating foreign substance in the eye.

Red Discharge

Bloody discharge is never natural and needs prompt veterinarian care. Injury, severe inflammation, glaucoma, or a tumor are potential causes.

If your dog has watery, clear eye discharge for a day or two but their eyes seem otherwise normal, they are not scratching their eyes. They keep their eyelids open; there is probably nothing to worry about. Contact your veterinarian if your dog has watery eye discharge that lasts more than a few days or if you observe any of these symptoms like swollen eye, red eye, squinting or excessive blinking, and colored eye discharge.

How to Prevent Eye Boogers?

Most eye boogers may be avoided by practicing good hygiene and grooming. Some dogs will be able to care for their eyes independently, while others may need a little more assistance. If you feel your dog’s eyes are watering excessively, gently wipe them off with a wet towel.

Additionally, keep the hair around your dog’s face short and out of his or her eyes. Irritations that fall into dogs’ eyes with shaggy hair and sagging skin are common. Therefore, keeping their faces clean and groomed might save them a lot of suffering in the long run.

In dogs with long or wiry hair, particularly around the face and eyes, poor grooming is the most common cause of eye boogers and excessive tearing. Hair will often fall into your pet’s eyes, hurting the sensitive tissues. Hair also collects dirt and oils, which irritate the eye and combine with tears and fur. Maintain a healthy grooming and hygiene routine for your pet to avoid eye boogers. If your dog has long hair around the face and forehead, keep it short or collect it into a topknot using clips or rubber bands.

Final Thoughts

Eye boogers may be a real annoyance for your dog. This condition, however, is readily avoidable with proper care. Maintain your dog’s appearance and pay close attention to their general health. Eye boogers tend to cascade, producing exponentially worse issues the longer they go unnoticed. Preventative eye care for your pet will go a long way toward ensuring they live a long and happy life at your side.

If your dog doesn’t like to get his eyes cleaned, distract him by giving him some peanut butter or cheese on a food-filled toy. Let him lick the meal while you do your job. If your dog’s eye is goopy, you should treat any eye discharge as soon as possible. Seek the advice of your veterinarian if you don’t know what’s causing the issue or how to repair it. Though many causes of ocular discharge in dogs are minor, others are dangerous and may result in blindness if not treated quickly by a veterinarian. If you have a small breed dog with persistent red-brown tear stains around its eyes, numerous nutrients and cleaning wipes may assist.

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