It is usual for dogs to create tears; they lubricate the eyes and create a barrier to prevent debris from collecting on the eye’s surface. However, if you notice your dog’s eyes are watering excessively, it may be a sign of inflammation; something more is happening. Luckily, most of the time, the solution is simple (get rid of anything in a packet!).
In this article we will be discussing:
Symptoms of weepy eyes in dogs
- Wet tear tracks from eyes
- Brown crust on the fur
- Puffiness around the eye
- Wanting to keep the eye shut
Just to be clear, in this article we are specifically addressing the issue of clear runny eyes in dogs that leads to fur stains. If your dog is experiencing any discomfort (pain or constantly rubbing her face with her paw) or coloured discharge (yellow / green) or redness in the eye, she may need veterinary attention as there can be other issues such as conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers and pannus that can cause these symptoms.
Top four causes of a dog’s eyes watering
1. Household chemicals & chemical parasite control
Unnecessary chemical products such as flea, tick and worming treatments and needless annual boosters. You know those lovely scented candles and reed diffusers you have all over the house? Well, they contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, naphthalene and phthalates.
The same applies to household items such as cleaning products, aerosols, some air fresheners, many plug-ins and cigarette smoke. Studies show these compounds accumulate in pets just as quickly as humans, if not more so being sniffers, and they suffer them more being smaller of size. Once in there, these can all cause major irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat of your pets (and you!) AND they build up over time.
2. Food intolerance leading to inflammation
By far the most common reason for your dogs teary eyes is due to internal inflammation. Most of your immune system is around your gut. It follows that an unhealthy gut and unhappy biome is the route cause of the lion’s share of inflammation dogs experience today. This is why you may find your dog’s eyes water in the hours after eating. THis is why getting the diet right is so important in a dog with weepy eyes.
Put simply, the tear ducts are a big exit point for unwanted gunk. This is important. What few of us realise is that the skin, ears and eyes, together, are a bigger emitter of toxic garbage from the body. Which exit point an animal tends to employ is very individual.
The biggest food culprits of dog and puppy weeping eyes are gluten (wheat, barley, rye) – it’s no coincidence that those white-coated breeds (Maltese, West Highland Terriers, toy poodles etc) suffer the most with excessively weepy eyes – they are also among the most wheat gluten intolerant breeds we know of – dairy and chicken or beef protein (which should be as strange as a cow being allergic to grass, but if you need to know more, here’s why…).
3. Other causes of internal inflammation that can lead to weepy eyes are…
- Poor Dental Health
- Infections (giardia, colitis)
- Disease (autoimmune – thyroid, adrenal, Lyme)
- Stress (IBS)
- Old age
4. A blocked nasolacrimal duct & structural issues
The nasolacrimal duct (tear duct) carries tears from the eye into the nasal cavity. The eye is only able to hold a certain amount of tears so any excess will drain into the nose via this duct.
This is why you will be blowing your nose when you cry!
If those ducts become blocked, you will have an overproduction of tears in the eye as they are unable to drain into the nose. Brachycephalic breeds (pugs, bulldogs etc) can suffer more with blockages to their tear ducts due to the flatter facial structure.
This and the fact that they have tight skin folds, is why these breeds often suffer more with weepy eyes.
Why do weepy eyes in dogs cause staining?
A common issue that results from all the damp fur when you have runny eyes in dogs, is a rusty brown staining. This is a collection of minerals and gunk from the weepy eyes which build up, like the stain on the wall from a gutter. This is a stubborn stain to remove on white-coated breeds but it is often accomplished with some clever washing, to a point.
As mentioned above, if you notice your dogs eyes watering excessively, you need to deal with what may be going on internally, as washing will only deal with the surface issue.
Why are the stains a rusty brown colour?
The rusty brown stains you see when your dog has weepy eyes, is from porphyrins – These are molecules which contain iron that comes from the breakdown of haemoglobin. There are a number of ways that these molecules are excreted through the body, this can be through the skin, the GI tract, urine and most importantly here, saliva and tears.
Once these iron-rich molecules hit the air, they oxidise (think metal exposed to water and air, turning to rust) and with your dogs eyes watering excessively, this will build up and there you have the reddy/brown stain.
There is also a fungus called Malassezia that thrives in damp conditions, this can appear on areas that the dog licks excessively and also have a red/brown appearance.
How to get rid of weepy eyes in dogs?
1. Ditch those unnecessary chemicals
First and foremost – stop those chemical flea, tick and worming preventatives/treatments. Studies show that not only can these products cause many issues for your dog but they also pose a health risk to you, your family and the environment.
Those annual vaccination boosters are completely unnecessary too and only add to the toxic load and cause more runny eyes in dogs.
Perhaps now is the time for you to try better, more natural and, dare we say, more effective ways to clean your home. One pro tip is to swop the chemical anti-life surface sprays and anti-life floor cleaners, products that only last a few minutes before drying, and shift towards probiotic surface and floor cleaners. This way you leave in place some good bacteria (largely Lactobacillus and Bifido, those guys in your yoghurts) which simply out-compete the bad guys to food. And they stay there. Check out how well such cleaners performed in this busy hospital. Amazing!
It is also vital to filter that tap water. Unfiltered tap water is full of chemicals like fluoride that will only be contributing to the inflammation in the body.
2. Feed them real food
It’s critical the above food antigens (gluten, dairy, and ideally chicken and beef, initially) are completely removed from the diet. And simply choosing a “wheat-free” dry food is not enough either as studies show even when it’s not on the label it’s in the pet food anyway. They’re all made in the same factory. They are not held to the same regard as say gluten-free bread for humans.
Ultra-processed foods often contain or are sprayed with rancid fats and not to mention all the pesticides sprayed onto the wheat and corn they include in the ingredients! All of this will only be contributing to inflammation in the body. If it is ultra-processed, where possible, cut it out for a while and see if it stops your dog’s eyes weeping.
What is good for dogs’ eyes is real food. By that, we mean a biologically appropriate fresh food diet. Ideally, remove all of that ultra-processed dry and canned food as well as any dental sticks or pet store treats, all of which are packed full of those ingredients guaranteed to get your dog’s eyes watering!
3. Try some natural anti-inflammatories
Alongside a fresh food diet, you may want to try some of these natural anti-inflammatories to help with runny eyes in dogs.
i) Golden tumeric paste
One of the very best natural anti-inflammatories to give your dog, far and away, is Golden Turmeric Paste. Easy to make at home, the active ingredient curcumin in turmeric, has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and a study on humans with arthritis showed that it was more effective than the most commonly recommended anti-inflammatory drug.
ii) Omega 3 for dogs
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation. Human studies revealed that supplementing your diet with omega 3 can reduce the symptoms of certain eye problems. An enormous review by Watson (1998) reveals fish oil omega 3’s are highly effective at ameliorating skin coditions such as dermatisit and reduce steroid need. For these benefits, rather than. asupplement, a little fresh oily fish is the first place you should go. They don’t need a lot, as little as 100g a week for a 15kg dog would be fine (but. atouch more would be welcomes). Feed the whole fish, including the head – those eyes are nutrient-packed and will offer so much benefit and may stop the dogs eyes watering.
If you’re looking for a supplement, we recommend avoiding the cheap fish oil supplements in supermarkets as they’re full of crappy oil filler, containing less of the good stuff (in this case you’re after the omega 3’s EPA & DHA). We recommend going for some refined fish oil, meaning more of the good stuff. I prefer to use the smaller oily fish such as sardine oil or anchoive oil as these fish accumulate less of the nasty pollutants bigger fish are known to do (nasties that reside in their fat…).
Even better again is phytoplankton. Vegans love this one as no animals are involved. I used to not recommend this oil as it was very costly to produce and rarely contained a whole lot of EPA (as this normally comes from animal fat). However, times have moved on and Phytoplankton Omega 3 is now crammed full of the good stuff and is now comparable price wise, pound for pound.
iii) Eyebright (Euphrasia)
A herb that commonly grows in Europe, North America and Asia, has been used for centuries as a traditional herbal medicine. Studies show it can greatly improve minor ailments of the eye, such as watering and irritation.
4. Try a product for weepy eyes in dogs, such as Oculus Prime
Oculus Prime is an organic, sustainably harvested seaweed-based supplement that works systemically (from the inside out) to battle the inflammation which is causing your dogs weepy eyes. Something of a fire extinguisher for the body.
OP consists fof 4 seaplants (3 seaweeds and a little red sea moss), specially selected as each are known to contain a high content certain of anti-inflammatory compounds that work on mucous membranes, compounds that only exist beneath the waves.
But OP serves a second function and is tackling any possible nutrient imbalances that may be going on under the hood.
Dry fed dogs appear to make up the lions share of the weepy-eyed dogs out there, but raw guys feature in there too. Of course they do. The fact of the matter is our food chain is not what it once was. Modern farming practices are now purely extractive – the same crops on the same soils, year on year, given little more than nitrogen to eat. Much of our meat, certainly the poultry in the EU and most US’ meat, no matter the animal, is intensively reared on crap, nutrient defunct grain. Sure they grow quick, but is it the most nourishing stuff we could be eating? Of course not. You cannot expect ingredients arising from this process to be nutrient-dense. All the studies you need are screaming this needs urgen attention before our soils are gone.
We know that chronic nutrient imbalances for all the usuals – magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium – negatively impact the immune system, result in chronic inflammation. Seaweed is extremely nutrient dense.
Without synthetic chemicals or antibiotics you will see improvement in 2-7 days. That’s our promise. If it doesn’t do as advertised you get your money back. No quibbles.
As mentioned above, there are clearly a few causes for weepy eyes in dogs. If these causes are not addressed, then you will always need a product like OP to reduce the excessive tears, but if facial morphology or damaged tear ducts are at play, OP will only be so effective.
It is, for this reason, we offer completely unsatisfied customers their money back during a 28 day trial period should it not work. That’s how confident we are!
Specific tips for preventing staining
All of the above is vital for the prevention of tear and fur staining as these stains are a product of your dogs eyes watering excessively. Stop the overproduction of tears and the moisture cannot build up and stain the fur. However, you may want to also consider the following when it comes specifically to the reddy brown staining:
1. Red meat consumption
Due to porphyrins being high in iron, if you have a dog with watery eyes and staining, despite feeding a fresh diet and are not using any chemicals etc, you may want to consider the amount of red meat you are adding to the diet.
Red meats are rich in iron so this may be one protein that could be contributing to the staining – eliminate red meat for a few weeks and see if the staining improves.
2. Additives, colourings and preservatives
Many ultra processed foods and treats are full of preservatives, additives and colourings. For example, some contain E490: Iron Oxide, or rust as it is better known!
So when we consider that Porphyrins are made up of iron, is it any wonder that dog’s fed a diet rich in “fake” iron (that the body will have no way of breaking down or absorbing, only expelling!) have fur stained with a rusty brown colour?
3. Home remedy for cleaning eye and fur stains
While there are a few ways to help clear those red stains topically, apple cider vinegar for example, is an easy and effective way of killing fungus, you must remember that you must address the underlying issue of the dogs eyes weeping and stop it, or it will keep growing back.
Tea bags on dogs eyes are another remedy people use, this however would be better for infections like conjuntivitis, especially green tea for dog eye infection.
4. Dog runny eyes home remedy
- One cup of warm water
- 2 egg cups of apple cider vinegar (dries out the region)
- Healthy dash of tea tree
Dab a little onto a cotton pad and gently clean the fur area, keeping away from the eyeballs. Leave on for a few minutes then wash off with warm water. This cure is more effective than any of the overpriced creams and ointments available for weepy eyes in dogs.
Just remember for weepy eyes in dogs, as with so many other conditions, it is not just about what you put IN to stop symptoms, it is what you take OUT to reduce inflammation that is often most important.
Feed real, fresh food, ditch all those chemicals and your dog is well on the way to optimum health, from the inside out.