Weepy/Watery Eyes: Sometimes, particularly with dogs who have paler coloured fur, you might notice that their eyes are weeping or watery. Some breeds are more prone to this condition than others for example the Poodle, the Shih Tzu, the Bichon Frise and the Maltese, but any breed can suffer with it. Breeds with larger eyes, such as the Chihuahua produce lots of tears to help keep the surface of the eye moist and debris-free. This level of tear production can cause the appearance of “weeping”.
The watery discharge or mucus overflows the tear ducts and runs down the face, often staining the fur towards the corner of the eye with a kind of “rust” colour. This is a condition called Epiphora. Epiphora may come and go or be a permanent condition dependant upon the cause and, depending on just how severe the condition is, it can even cause the skin to become infected and inflamed.
Temporary causes of Epiphora are things like allergies or irritants. Even things such as food colourings in their diets can be enough to cause a mild allergic reaction resulting in a weepy eye and dust in the air on a windy day can easily cause enough irritation to do the job.
Permanent causes are usually more structural in origin such as entropion where the eye lashes rub on the eye and cause irritation, corneal ulcers, glaucoma etc. All dogs have tear ducts, like we do, just at the corner of the eye to allow the nasal passages to remain clear. If these ducts become blocked, either partially or completely, the eyes may weep as a result. It’s not uncommon for the tear duct on one side to be blocked and hence you end up with just the one watery eye.
Because there are various possible causes for watery eyes and because eyes are so important, its always advisable to seek a professional veterinary opinion as to what is going on with your dog. However, on first noticing the problem, simply bathing with tepid salt water two or three times a day may be enough to ease the problem if it is merely being caused by dust, debris or an irritant. Your dog may need eye drops, a change of diet, diagnosis of an allergy, flushing of blocked tear ducts or even surgery if the cause is felt to be structural so please do check things out further with your vet.