Is your dog experiencing excess eye watering? It is great that you noticed, but it may not be a bad thing! First, let’s talk about what “tears” do. Tears actually perform a number of important roles. They lubricate the eyes, provide a smooth optical surface, provide nourishment, wash away debris, and even have antimicrobial properties. There are two types of tears — baseline and reflex. Baseline tears are normally produced at a constant rate while reflex tears are triggered by things such as infections, allergies, or foreign materials.
Excessive tearing can be caused by one of two reasons:
Increased production — This comes into place with the objective to “flush” an irritant away.
Impaired drainage — Also known as epiphora, tears normally drain via the tear ducts and ultimately empty into the nose. If there is any sort of blockage, tears will overflow. Blockage can occur due to trauma, inflammation, medications, or even tumors.
What are some of the symptoms of excessive tearing? Dogs who experience this normally have wet fur below their eyes. If tearing is chronic, some dogs may develop a reddish-brown stain below their eyes. Please know that this area may become irritated if not treated. How you go about treating excessive tearing depends on the cause. If the problem is reflex tearing, the underlying trigger needs to be addressed. If the problem is blockage, the ducts may need to be flushed or the obstruction cleared with a surgical procedure to open the ducts.
Communicate with your veterinarian before you attempt any home remedies to address excessive tearing. There are no home remedies that have been proven to be 100% effective and some may actually be harmful to your pet’s eyes. As stated, please do not assume that tearing is a bad thing. You will need to do your best to determine the cause and best plan of action.