What can you do when you notice discharge from your dog’s eyes?

If you see discharge from your dog’s eyes, take note of the color, consistency, and frequency of the discharge. It’s important for your veterinarian to have as many details as possible, so make note of things like:

  • Is the discharge clear, yellow, green, or red?
  • Is the discharge coming from one eye or both eyes?
  • How long has your dog had eye discharge?
  • Are they rubbing or scratching their eyes at all?

Clear eye discharge can be wiped away gently with a damp cloth (avoid using your bare hands or something that may introduce foreign material, such as cotton balls). For dogs who experience clear eye discharge on a regular basis, and for dogs prone to tear staining, eye wipes can be used. There are also tear stain removers and ‘eye combs’ that will make the process easier.

In the veterinary world, we take eyeballs very seriously. Problems with the eyeball can go south quickly, so we always recommend a veterinary exam when something is not right. Depending on the clinical signs, your veterinarian will perform an exam of the eye with an ophthalmoscope and may perform some tests such as a Schirmer Tear Test (to assess tear production), and a Fluorescein stain (to look for ulcers or scratches).

A Fluorescein stain (seen as the green stain) is often used to identify ulcers or scratches on your dog’s eyeball.