Should I Worry About My Pet’s Eye Gunk?

Published: December 7, 2018

Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood

It is hard to know what to worry about when it comes to our pets’ health. Your pet can’t tell you when something hurts more than it should or if their pain is at a three or at an eight. 

Here’s the good news: If you’re paying attention, you can spot some signs that your pet’s eye gunk is more than the usual eye crust.

Here are some tips on how to determine if your pet’s eye gunk is normal or a matter of some concern.

Normal Eye Gunk

All dogs and cats can get eye gunk from time to time. Sometimes they slept really long, there might be a lot of pollen in their air, or they might be a breed that is prone to more eye gunk. Clear eye gunk is not a big deal. When it dries and becomes eye crusty, it might look a bit brown. If it happens every once in awhile, it is not something to worry about.

Excessive Wetness

The hair around your pet’s eyes should not be constantly wet. You should be concerned if you notice that:

  • You’re wiping off eye gunk multiple times a day.
  • The hair around your dog’s eyes looks wet all the time.

This could be caused by allergies. If it is combined with snorting, sneezing, red or irritated skin, or paw chewing, this could be seasonal allergies or an allergy to their new food or toy or dog bed. If the issue gets worse and doesn’t alleviate quickly, you should make an appointment with your vet.

Discolored Gunk

Normal eye gunk that happens to all pets and humans alike, should be clear or opaque looking. If your pet has eye gunk that is brown or green or yellow in color, this is definitely a cause for concern. Your pet could have conjunctivitis or another infection that needs to be treated by a veterinarian.

Constant Pawing at the Eyes

Your pet is not a fan of the eye gunk anymore than you are. Even normal eye gunk they will likely try to use their paws to get off of their eyes. However, if you notice your pet pawing at their eyes much more frequently than normal, this can be a sign of a more serious problem. This can be a sign that a buildup of tears is happening in their eyes from either primary or secondary glaucoma, and an appointment with your vet will be needed to treat. The tears building up can put pressure on the eye and be very painful for your pet.

The most important thing to note is that eye gunk that happens every once in awhile is likely no big deal. If you see eye gunk one day and don’t see it again for a few days or a few weeks, your pet is likely okay and just woke up like that.

Eye gunk that you notice every day, or multiple times in a day, and looks at all different than it has in the past, likely warrants a call to your veterinarian.

For more information about eye gunk, or to talk about any concerns you have about your pet, contact the experts at Academy Animal Hospital.