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Are My Dog’s Watery Eyes Normal?

It’s normal for your dog’s eyes to water a bit occasionally, but if you notice constant amounts of drainage it may be a sign of a condition. Epiphora is a condition that creates an overflow of tears  in dogs due to the shape of their eyes. In addition to the shape of the eyes, turning in of the eyelashes as well as the eyelid can cause Epiphora. This overproduction of tears is commonly seen in Pugs, Shar Peis, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Bulldog breeds.


  • Inflammation
  • Squinting
  • Discharge
  • Ulcers
  • Saggy skin around eye
  • Redness and/or irritation

If your dog has any of the symptoms listed above, they may suffer from Epiphora. It’s not uncommon for these symptoms to cause staining on your dog’s face. The condition may be due to one or a combination of the following factors:


  • Sinusitis
  • Nasolacrimal blockage
  • Foreign bodies
  • Inflammation due to infectious and/or immune-mediated reasons
  • Cornea scratches/ulcers
  • Glaucoma

In order to diagnose your pet with Epiphora their veterinarian will perform a physical exam. Factors such as background history of symptoms and possible events that might have precipitated your pet’s condition will be considered. Radiographs may be required to look for lesions in the sinus or nose area. A culture of any material in your dog’s eyes will be taken for analysis.

If your dog’s veterinarian determines your dog is in fact suffering from Epiphora, the first step will be to determine and treat the cause of the eye irritation. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s irritation. Medications will vary on the cause of irritation as well. Commonly prescribed medications for Epiphora include topical antibiotic ointments and pain relieving ointments.

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