Updated at: 17-06-2022 - By: Jane Brody

The eyes of your canine are essential and cleaning them is a straightforward and quick task. With dogs, you must ensure their eyes are clean and healthy at all times. Although dogs are superb creatures, they can be gross at times. This true, particularly when you want to pet them, only to see their eyes are full of boogers.

Most times, boogers are not easy to come off, especially if they have stayed there for some time. They tend to get hard, crusty and will stick to the corner of your pooch’s eyes. You must ensure that you remove the nasty boogers safely without hurting your dog. If you want to know more about dog eye boogers and how you can soften this hard gunk, keep on reading.

How to Soften Dog Eye Boogers

What are Eye Boogers in Dogs?

In technical terms dog eye boogers simply means eye discharge that is a fluid produced by the dog’s eyes. It can be produced in different consistencies and colors including yellow, green, or brown. Additionally, this discharge can be crusty, pus-like, or watery. The varying appearances will always mean different things and every dog owner should closely monitor their dog’s eye discharge to identify the underlying causes for the wellbeing of your pooch.

Dog eyes should be lubricated and wet for them to function properly. Therefore if there are any hard crust and gunk in the eyes, it will limit their vision and will also be irritable. This is why every dog owner should frequently clean their dog’s eye boogers.

Common Causes of Eye Boogers

In canines, eye boogers can be caused by different issues. This is usually a symptom and not a cause and this is why you need to determine the health problem that may be triggering them. Here are some common reasons why your four-legged friend may be having frequent eye boogers.


Some dogs can be allergic to pollen and dust and can even develop allergic conjunctivitis when exposed to excessive amounts of it resulting in weepy and red eyes. Minute particles of pollen or dirt can get trapped in the eyelids causing irritation and eye discharge. If your dog has an allergic reaction you should take him to the vet. To treat allergies, your veterinarian will prescribe antihistamines and anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Extreme Eye Watering

This is referred to as epiphora and it simply means the dog’s eyes tear up excessively and are constantly wet. This problem mainly affects dog breeds that have a flat face since the tear ducts cannot eliminate tears produced in excess. This results in tear staining and owners can notice the fur around the eyes darkening because of excessive tear production. Epiphora is treatable through surgery and you need to consult the veterinarian.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or Dry Eye

This eye disease is just the opposite of epiphora. Dry eye produces eye boogers and other problems that will cause itchiness and discomfort for your dog. Furthermore, the lack of lubrication in the eyes will make it difficult for the canine to eliminate particles that get into the eyes like bits of gravel or sand grains.

The whites of the eyes will also turn brown and the eyes will produce a yellow-green discharge. You need to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you think he/she is suffering from dry eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Blindness is one of the side effects of this disease if it is not treated early.


Conjunctivitis or pinkeye is simply an inflammation of the inner eyelids and the outer layer of the eyes. Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, viruses, or bacteria and is paired with green or yellow pus-like discharge and hard eye crust.

Since conjunctivitis is highly contagious, you should seek immediate treatment for your dog. This is because it can spread to other pets and even humans. Conjunctivitis can be treated with frequent eye baths and antibiotics.

How to Get Rid of Eye Boogers in Dogs

How to Soften Dog Eye Boogers

When cleaning out eye boogers on your pooches, you should never use your fingers. This may look like an easy and quick fix, but it can result in bacteria transfer or cause a bad eye infection.  You can soften and clean a dog’s eye boogers using the following methods.

  1. A Warm Flannel For Softening The Boogers

This is an effective, easy, and cost-effective method. You just need a clean flannel and soak it in lukewarm water. You should then hold the flannel over the eye boogers for about 15-30 seconds. This gives the eye discharge adequate time to soften so that you can flick it away or wipe it off gently using the flannel.

  1. Canine Eye Drops

This is a bit costly compared to the standard saline or sterile solution. However, canine eye drops are manufactured specifically for dogs. As a result, they are non-toxic and non-irritating and will not affect the dog even if there is an accidental ingestion of the solution. Furthermore, they will help to flush out the eye boogers and even treat allergic reactions and give the eyes the lubrication and moisture it needs for optimal functioning.

  1. Trimming Around the Eyes

If your dog has long hair, eye gunk will easily get stuck on the surrounding hair instead of the eye itself. You can prevent this by trimming the hair around the eyes using an electric trimmer or scissors. You can also visit the groomers to get this done by professionals.

  1. A Dog Eye Comb

This is a substance-free technique that helps to eliminate eye boogers that get stuck on the fur around the eyes and not on the eye itself. You can buy a tiny comb that is meant for removing tear stains and gunk from areas surrounding the dog’s eye. This comb is small enough and will get into tight spaces and have rounded tines that reduce the risks of injury.

  1. Dog Tear Stain Remover

This is a good product that is specifically meant for canines that experience stubborn eye boogers owing to epiphora.

  1. Bath Your Dog

Sometimes, you should just bathe your dog, particularly when the boogers seem persistent and your pooch has other debris and dirt on their face. Use a tear-free shampoo when cleaning your dog and use a cloth to gently wipe away any residues on the eye. The warmth of the bath will loosen up the boogers and make them easy to wipe away.


Your dog is part of your family and when you commit yourself to his life, you need to know that part of the deal will involve taking care of his/her bodily functions and fluids. Dealing with hard gunk and eye boogers may seem gross and inconvenient most times. However, you must ensure that your pets are clean and healthy at all times through regular baths, check-ups, flea treatments, and grooming sessions. If you have any problems dealing with eye boogers, you can always consult your veterinarian to perform procedures or prescribe medications to help solve any existing underlying issues.

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