Why Do Dogs Get Eye Boogers?

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There is a lot of quirky stuff about dogs, some pleasant, and others – not so much. If you are a dog owner, there is no doubt that you noticed those pesky eye boogers appearing from time to time. While they are nasty to clean, moderate eye boogers are quite normal. However, if the discharge becomes constant or increases, it might be a sign of an allergy or some other underlying issue. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but none should be a reason for excessive worry. Here’s why eye boogers appear, and what steps you can take to make them disappear!

Dog eye boogers accumulate over time. Usually, all they are the dried tears that gather in the corner of the eye, mixed in with the dust, pollen, and all the microscopic bits and pieces that might get in touch with your dog’s eyes. In a sense, these tears are your pet’s natural remedy against the possibly harmful stuff that can get into the eye. Special glands generate the tears, keeping the eye well lubricated and “flushing” out all the things that should not be there. In the end, all that discharge ends up in the corner of your pet’s eye – and we often call it “dog boogers”. 

Typically, dried dog tears, aka “eye boogers”, will come in a moderate amount and will gather in the corner of the eye. When dried and crusted, these secretions get a brown color and can leave marks as they run. The best way to clean these boogers is with commercial dog eye wipes or a damp cloth. It is crucial not to use any harmful liquids or commercial wet wipes, as these can damage the dog’s eyes. 

But when do eye boogers become an issue? Some of it is normal, but an excess amount certainly is not. If you notice too many boogers, too much discharge, and extremely wet eyes, it is likely something is amiss. Often enough, your dog will somehow let you know that something is not right, usually by showing some of the telltale signs. Is your doggo blinking a lot, constantly scratching their eyes, always squinting? Chances are, there is irritation at hand and a veterinary checkup might be needed.

What you also need to take into account that certain dog breeds might produce more eye boogers and at a faster rate, and can also be more prone to eye infections and irritation. Eye boogers are produced in larger quantities in brachycephalic breeds. These are the so-called “flat-faced” breeds, with squat muzzles: Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, and others. With their short noses and large round eyes, these breeds will usually drool more and have more tears, so it’s good to notice when this becomes very excessive.

All in all, dog boogers – and the brown stains that they leave behind – are not something you should be alarmed by. They are usually a sign of normal functioning of the eyes and signify that all the bad particles have been flushed away. However, nothing is good in excess amounts, so make sure to have a vet checkup if you notice something is not quite right.