Watery eyes in dogs is a common issue that plagues many different types of breeds and their doting puppy parents. While there are some who just see their dog’s tear stains as a natural part of life for the breed, many are posing the question of why. What makes certain dogs more prone to water eyes? Is there anything we can do about it? To understanding excessive tearing, we have to take a look at some canine physiology. Let’s talk about the significance of these tears as well as their causes and the leading treatments used to deal with them.
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Causes and Treatment of Watery Eyes in Dogs
Significance of Tears
Our dogs produce tears for many of the same reason that we do. Along with providing adequate eye lubrication, tears offer a smooth optical surface and feature antimicrobial properties. Also, your dog’s tears provide nourishment while simultaneously washing away debris that can harm their eyes. These tears are developed at a constant rate to a great part to maintain proper lubrication of the eye. However, reflex tears can be triggered by certain stimuli such as infections or allergies and medications.
Causes of Excessive Tearing
There are a few causes of watery eyes in dogs. The most common reason is known as “flushing.” The best way to describe this is to image what happens to your eyes when you get something in them. A speck of dirt or an eyelash falls into your eye, and it immediately tears up, trying to flush away the irritant. The same thing happens to your dog. It’s totally normal and expected. What we’re most worried about, though, are the unexpected causes of watery eyes, the causes that indicate an underlying problem.
Did you know that chronic abnormal watery eyes in dogs is called epiphora? This condition can be caused by a few different factors. The most common cause is simply the shape of your dog’s eyes. Some breeds are predisposed to chronic watery eyes because of the way their eyelashes or eyelids turn in. Distichiasis, a genetic trait in which there are two rows of lashes instead of one, is often seen in Shih tzus, cocker spaniels, bulldogs, dachshunds, and miniature poodles, among others. Entropion, the turning in of the eyelids, is common in pugs, mastiffs, poodles and chow chows.
Other causes of watery eyes in dogs include conjunctivitis (eye infections), other types of infections, seasonal allergies, and damage to the different parts of the eye.
Treatments for Excess Tears
When it comes to treating watery eyes in dogs, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It depends on the cause behind the excessive tearing. For pets with reflex tearing issues, a vet will need to address the underlying trigger. If your dog’s watery eyes are related to an infection, your vet will recommend treatment based on the type of bacteria or virus.
If a foreign body is a culprit, your vet will remove it and treat from there. In the case of a blockage in the lacrimal drainage system, your vet may attempt to flush any obstructions via surgery. Note that I said “your vet” several times when referring to treatment. There’s a reason for that. You should not attempt to treat your dogs’ eyes yourself.
If the watery eyes aren’t caused by a serious problem and not affecting your pup’s overall quality of life, sometimes the best course of action may be no action. Some dogs are just prone to chronic watery eyes. If the tear stains bother you, you can always use grooming products designed to remove them.