I don’t think we need to tell you how much we love puppies here at Zigzag HQ, those puppy dog eyes can melt even the hardest of hearts. But have you ever stared lovingly into your pup’s eyes and been horrified to see they’re watering? 

Puppy watery eyes can be concerning. No one wants to see their puppy cry, do they? It makes me well up just thinking about it. But should you be worried if you’re seeing puppy runny eyes? Well, we’re here to help, as always! So dry your tears and read on…

This article will discuss what puppy watery eyes are, why your puppy might have runny eyes, and how you can help if your puppy has weepy eyes.

Although online information should never be used in place of vet advice, we do our best at Zigzag to give you the facts in a safe way, to try and help you put your mind at ease. We do it in our puppy training app too. We use the most up to date science-backed methods to build a training programme for your puppy. It’s all based on their breed-specific needs and learning style as well as developmental milestones. This means all of their socialisation and habituation needs are covered. You’re not alone with the app, we have a team of fully qualified dog trainers and behaviourists on hand to talk to you 7 days a week too. 

dog with big eyes looking at camera
Photo by Izabelly Marques on Unsplash

So…What are puppy watery eyes?

Puppy weepy eyes, runny eyes, or watery eyes? Call it what you like, it’s really just eye discharge.

Tears perform a number of functions that keep the eye healthy, such as lubrication and washing away dirt and dust to keep the eye-clean, so watery eyes can be perfectly normal.

Some breeds may produce more tears than others because of the shape of the eye socket. These include Pugs, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels and Shih-Tzus. If a breed is particularly hairy or has many skin folds around the eyes, this can also cause more of a weepy eye. 

Puppy runny eye discharge can vary in colour from clear to green or yellow. Green or yellow can signal an infection though so that might be worth a check up with your Vet.

brown dog with brown eyes looking up at the camera
Photo by Mia Anderson on Unsplash

Why does my puppy have watery eyes?

There are several possible causes for your puppy’s runny or watery eyes. Some are entirely normal and are simply your puppy’s body’s way of remaining healthy, but there are others you should be mindful of.

Your puppy’s runny eyes may be due to allergies

Just like itchy eyes from hayfever, puppies can get allergies too, from food allergies to environmental. Air fresheners and plug-ins can cause environmental allergic reactions, so avoid those if you have a puppy or dog.

Puppy weepy eye may be conjunctivitis

If you’re seeing puppy watery eyes with a yellow or green pus discharge, which goes crusty or gluey after sleep, inflammation or redness of the eye is probably conjunctivitis. There can be quite a few different causes for conjunctivitis, this is one to ask your vet about as it’s easily treated.  

Ulcers can cause runny eyes 

There are a few different causes of corneal ulcers, and they generally make your puppy’s eye quite sore. You’ll often see an ulcer start as a milky or cloudy area in the eye.  You should seek immediate Vet attention if you think your puppy has an eye ulcer as they can cause sight loss if left untreated.

A stray eyelash or other foreign body can cause a watery eye

Isn’t that the worst? We all know how annoying and aggravating a rogue eyelash in the eye can be, and it’s just the same for your puppy. It might be another foreign body too, like a grass seed that’s caused your pup to have runny eyes

Brachycephalic dog breeds often have more watery eyes

No, they aren’t just more emotional…those flat faces mean their eye sockets are more shallow in breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Frenchies than in other breeds of dogs, and so the eye protrudes out of the front of their faces. They also often have more folds around their eyes, and fur close to the eye. All of those factors will make them more likely to struggle with weepy eyes than others.  

Entropion will cause puppy runny eye

Some breeds of puppy have what’s called entropion eye – this is where the eyelids roll in on themselves and eyelids skin and fur rub against the surface of the eyes. It’s a hereditary condition and some breeds such as Shar-Peis, Chow Chows and Pugs seem to be most affected by it, and will need to have their eyes tacked (operated on) to correct the eyelid.  

dog with brown eyes looking at camera
Photo by Austin Kirk on Unsplash

How can I help my puppy’s watery eyes?

One of the best ways to help your puppy’s watery eyes is to keep them healthy in the first place, with a good diet, and having a regular grooming routine. You’ll also want to do lots of handling exercises and probably teach your puppy how to have pretend eye drops put in. By teaching your puppy to be A-OK with this kind of handling you can prepare them for any eye examinations they might need to have in the future. 

Eyes are so delicate and also self-cleaning, that there’s normally not a need to put any drops in to clean them. Just make sure the area around the eye is clear of any dust or debris, and don’t be tempted to use anything like sawdust in living areas as that can cause a lot of eye troubles. 

If you need to clean your puppy’s eyes, then cooled boiled water or saline can be used on cotton wool, don’t squirt anything in the eye, be really gentle. 

Keep your puppy hydrated, with fresh water available at all times. Removing the water bowl won’t reduce the amount their eyes run and you can run the risk of your puppy becoming dehydrated and getting a dry nose. 

If your puppy is itching or scratching their eyes, has a coloured eye discharge, excessive tearing, any hazing or shadows on their eye, or there has been a sudden change and they now have runny eyes then consult a vet. They will be able to examine the eye thoroughly (bring lots of treats to teach your puppy this is a fun thing to do!) and tell you whether there is a reason to be concerned. 

We hope you’ve found the above useful, and you’ve managed to understand a little bit about why your puppy has runny eyes. While you’re here and on the subject of puppy eye problems, you might want to have a read of our article on cherry eyes in puppies, or how about why your puppy might have a runny nose?

Are you looking for more to do with your puppy? Why not download a free trial of the Zigzag puppy training app? We cover a broad spectrum of socialisation, habituation and life skills exercises as well as teaching your puppy to be happy home alone, or how to take them on car journeys. You also have expert puppy coaches on hand to answer your questions too.