PetMeds: Managing Eye Discharge (Mucus) in Dogs and Cats


One of the most common questions asked by animal guardians is why do they have to wipe away the crust or eye boogers from the corners of their pets’ eyes each morning.  While this symptom is quite common, most of the time it is not significant and does not require medical treatment. The most common cause is usually airborne allergens which can cause weepy eyes as in people.  Other times morning crusties can indicate a clogged tear duct but in this case the discharge is usually much thicker.

When asked about morning eye crust or mucous , I simply advise clients to wipe it away with a moist cloth or with some mild Visine eye drops. Most cases do not need veterinary attention and/or antibiotic therapy. However, if the crust or discharge becomes thicker,  or develops a green or yellow color or bad odor, or the eyes become red or light sensitive and/or the pet is bothering with his or her eyes, then in these cases a veterinary exam would be indicated for proper diagnosis and treatment.

For suggestions on pet products to address eye problems in your dog or cat, including eye discharge, read my previous blog post on Eye Discharge in Dogs.

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  1. Michelle blizzardApril 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm · Reply

    I have a pek who we took to the vet a while ago and they said that he has something wrong with his eyes. I can’t remember what they called it and I am pretty sure that they gave me optimmune to put in his eyes every 12 hours. But he seems like he has more and more gunkie stuff that sometimes covers his whole eyes. They also said that it might make him go blind later on down the road and that he should have surgery to fix it. I believe that they said something about his eye lashes could be causing it but I am not sure. I can’t afford for him to have surgery but I don’t want to see him go blind either. Do you have any other suggestions that may help. If so, Please help me out. I love my dogs and treat them like that are my children and this really bothers me. Thank you and have a great day.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianApril 25, 2011 at 10:32 am · Reply

      This is one where I need diagnosis to help advise you. Plus your dog really needs recheck exam to assess eyes and decide on further treatment. You could try artificial tears afew times daily to keep eyes moist in case your pet has dry eye. However really should have recheck exam so meds can be adjusted.

  2. I have a golden doodle. He has been having a milky discharge from his eyes. I also noticed that when I pull down on his lower lid, there seams to be a black flap of skin under his iris. Is this normal

  3. my shih tzu has been (she is 13 years old) has been diagnosed as not making enough tears, thus the constant eye boogers. i actually use my own Restasis in her eyes and that helps, but what has helped more than ever is that she has developed a terrible rash on her back side, and when i started shampooing her with an anti fungal/bacterial shampoo and then rinsing with a apple cider vinegar rinse, all her symptoms have cleared up almost completely over night. this is a dog that had chewed almost all of her hair on her tail off. just this week i did give her a steroid shot and am considering doing the ivomex just for a precaution. my point is, after all the money and expense, i swear, i think the apple cider vinegar has helped the most.

  4. Last night I noticed that my chihuahua/ schipperke mix had a large film of mucous covering her entire left eye. No previous symptoms were seen. I wiped it out and thought it was gone. This morning I noticed some more that appeared to harden slightly and adhere to her eye, with a little more under her eye lid. I was able to get it out and noticed that she has been keeping the eye closed for the major part of the day. Any ideas what would cause such thick mucous? I am hoping she is keeping her eye closed asit was irritated from the mucous.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm · Reply

      Best to have vet check of eye to make sure not infection, ulcer of cornea or a condition known as dry eye. That will help guide treatment.

  5. I called the vet, but they cannot seeher until Friday. I am wondering if I should take her to the emergency vet room, instead of risking the wait until Friday, which would be almost a week since noticing the mucous. Shehad a clean bill of health two months ago. Also I have three other dogs and a cat, if this is an infection and contamination.

  6. Ok so my dog has a lot of eye boogies.She is 4 years of age and she is a blue nose pitbull.I would wipe her eyes in the middle of the day and then like in to minutes later it will come back.It varies in colors sometimes its clear then it is like a clear green but it doesnt smell.Its very slimy and im very worried because I dont want her to go blind.Any advice.If so thank you so much.Have a good day and thank you for reading.

  7. My 5 year old pug has a lot of mucus like substance in his eye. And he can’t really open it. Eye looks a bit discolored. Should I just clean his eyes up?

  8. I have a 2 year old yorkie that has had eye problems of him wanting to scratch and ends up crying because be scratches his eyes, so we decided to Put on a cone, he has had the cone on for a little over a month because he insists on scratching and cries if we touch around his eyes, there would also-sometimes be excessive mucus coming out but cleaning it, it would go away they are a little swollen but then it goes away, we got saline for him and it seems to have helped. Today I woke up and his eye was shut and I tried to open it and he cried and went under the bed, when he came out it was open like normal though, but when he sleeps it closes up then he wakes up and it opens withing about 2 min. What can I do to stop the pain in his eyes or stop the scratching? I bought tear stain remover wipes today.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 15, 2013 at 12:16 am · Reply

      Best to have vet exam to make sure no scratches on cornea that may need topical antibiotics, etc. Sometimes dogs itch at their eyes because of chronic allergies. Topical and/or oral corticosteroids may be needed in case like this and can be prescribed by your vet. Antihistamines such as chlorphenirimine at dose of 2 mg twice daily may help.

  9. My Persian cat has been having this goop from one eye only. He doesn’t appear to be in any kind of pain, and doesn’t mind at all when I clean him up. Appears to be colorless, except the crusted part, and has no odor. But there is a lot of it. Throughout the day, and only in that one eye. Could that still be a sign of allergies?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 17, 2013 at 12:12 am · Reply

      Yes Still could be allergies, but always best with eye symptoms to have complete vet exam and evaluation for proper diagnosis.

  10. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog. Just a few weeks ago we took him to the vet to get his annual shots. Prior to his appointment, every once in a while he would get some eye boogies but very seldom. The first few mornings after his shots appointment He started getting a little bit of green puss come out the tear duct corner of his left eye, I didn’t notice any smell just the color. I figured he was only having a mild reaction to the shots and figured it would go away within a few days. Well the green puss went away but it turned into a ton of eye boogies and crust and now it is in both eyes. It has been exactly 2 weeks since his appointment and every morning I have to wipe away the crust and boogies from both of his eyes. Is this normal? Should I get him checked? Or could it just be allergies and only a coincidence that it started happening right after his appointment? We live in Germany and I know the allergens in this country are far worse than those in the states.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm · Reply

      Hi Eriks. SO sad as I see this issue all of the time as a holistic oriented veterinarian who also has training in traditional vet medicine. This is DEFINITELY related to vaccination, which has been shown to worsen allergic responses to pollens, etc in dogs. Hopefully nothing else much going on, but I would strongly recommend seeing a vet skilled in veterinary homeopathy, to help with improving his health over long period of time. To learn more about homeopathy go to as well as my website Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consults. Most traditional vets will just give you topical cortisone/antibiotic eye drops, but that suppression of the discharge may lead to other chronic health problems over time, in my opinion and experience as a holistic veterinarian.

  11. I have a feral kitten with pus discharge in her eye and sneezes alot. Shes also not eating. What can I treat this with?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianApril 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm · Reply

      Best to have vet check ASAP to see if antibiotics are needed. In meantime try L lysine from 1800petmeds.

  12. I have a 1 year old Beagle and yesterday I noticed she had her normal eye crusties. Today my fiancé and I noticed that she kept getting them all day. There’d be a yellowish mucous forming in the corner of her eyes, I’d wipe it off, and it’ll come back minutes later. She seems to be acting her usual old self. Earlier this evening when I was cleaning her eyes I noticed they were a little red and were watering. I really hope it’s not terribly serious but I do want to know if there’s something wrong with my dog

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm · Reply

      Sounds like could be some sort of allergic inflammation of inner surfaces of eyes, which is common this time of year in many areas of country. Consider vet exam as often topical antibiotic/steroid eye drops usually help resolve the redness and inflammation.

  13. My dog is a Texas heeler and we recently went out of town and he just into the lake without looking and now he has this mucu stuff in his eyes. I got tear duct cleaner but the mucus is still showing. Is this a serious problem?

  14. I have a 3 yr old mastiff who has thick yellow discharge from his eyes. It’s causing him to get sores where it drips from his wyes. I gave him allergy meds & it stopped but he also has dry flaky skin. His hair is falling out on his back & he is developing little scabs. It seems to only happen in the summer. What’s wrong with him?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm · Reply

      Sounds like seasonal allergies known as atopy in dogs. I would see a vet for likely topical antibiotic/steroid eye drops for the eye allergies, and possibly antibiotic and/or antihistamine therapy for the skin part of the allergies.

  15. I have a 10-year-old rescue dog. Chow/Australian Shepherd mix. He has a lot of mucus in his left eye, more than in the right. I took him to the vet, who gave me two tubes of ointment after checking for scratches and tear duct issues. It’s been two weeks on the ointment and nothing has changed.
    He has had allergies in the past -last summer he scratched a lot and we had him on Benadryl. This year absolutely no itching, but now his eyes are full of gunk day and night. I do use Burt’s bees eye wash, but nothing helps, not even the $45 of ointment I’ve been using.

    Vet mentioned it could be thyroid. What does that mean?
    I have an appointment scheduled, but now I’m worried.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm · Reply

      Low thyroid may or may not be involved, but usually there are other symptoms of low thyroid i.e weight gain, lethargy, skin issues, etc. I would ask your vet to check for tear production as sounds like could be dry eye. In which case topical tacrolimus drops is best drug for that…. Always can ask for referral to vet opthomologist in your area.

  16. are kittens are outside cats and their mamma just brought them out today and their eyes are matted closed with green gross stuff what do i do ive tried whipping it off with a warm water rag but it just keeps coming back. One of the kitten eyes are so bad it cant see out either eye. Its kinda gross and i have a week stomach when it comes to this stuff should i take them to the vet or just keep whipping their eyes?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 18, 2014 at 4:21 am · Reply

      Probably best to take to vet, as does sound like they may have infection that may need topical or systemic antibiotics. Some kittens have herpes viral infections of eye, which need more aggressive management.

  17. my cat has runny green mucus from her eyes this is not a often type thing its like an everyday type thing when she first wakes up from her nap she sneezes and blows chunks of green mucus everywhere and I don’t know what the cause of it is took her to the vet and they gave her some medicine but its not working she also sound like she has a scratchy throat when she meows what can be the cause of this and how do I stop it??

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm · Reply

      Needs vet exam and evaluation as may need different med or antibiotic. I find that many cats with these signs have herpes virus of cats and need immune stimulants like DMG liquid and lysine from 1800petmeds.

  18. My dog has milky discharge in her left eye a couple times a day excesive thirst wines middle of night very little appetite i have a pomeranian

  19. My cat work up this morning with a little greenish colored mucus in the inner corner of her eye should I be worried she’s caught something. She does play with a neighboring kitten

  20. I have a 3 year old maltese. So, my sister got an eye infection when we came back from a trip that made her eye really red but I think it’s fixed now. Anyways, today we realized my dog had this like dark lime green mucus in his tear duct and if you pull the skin up his upper eye is red. So what is this? Plz help :( I love this dog

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 30, 2014 at 11:09 am · Reply

      Could be allergic eye disease or even condition known as dry eye as well as anatomic issue of eye lid. Best to see vet eye specialist in your area if possible for proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

  21. i have a 16 year old mix. hes got yellow green mucus coming out of his right eye. we wipe it out 2-3 times daily. this has been going on for 2 days. cant afford to go to vet and cant get dog in car -his legs are in bad shape. is there anything i can give him that would help? hes not itching or ribbing yet- his eye is open. he doesnt like me to clean it out but he lets me.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm · Reply

      Try halo pet herbal eye drops which you can get from health food store that carries pet products. Should see vet when possible. Some may do house calls in your area.

  22. Hi we recently got a Maltese dog the owner didnt want it the dogs age is 5 and it has many problems but the main problem we want to solve is the dogs eye infection no matter what we do we cant give the eye ointment to the dog it tries to bite us and we tried every technique the dog is really smart is their anything to do? its really serious.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm · Reply

      You may want to get a muzzle from a pet supply store, and/or ask vet for a low dose sedative orally to help

  23. My pit mix has recently started having greenish discharge in both of his eyes, I usually wipe it off with a warm, damp rag and give him a 25 mg Benadryl, it seems to work for the most part but is there anything else that I should do?

  24. My pit mix has recently started having greenish discharge in both of his eyes he is acting normal and isn’t scratching at his eyes or anything, I usually wipe it off with a warm, damp rag and give him a 25 mg Benadryl, it seems to work for the most part but is there anything else that I should do?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm · Reply

      Best to have vet exam to evaluate for eye infection or eye ulcer. Other possibility is allergies that might need prescription topical eye drops.

  25. My 6 month old kitten who I adopted from the Austin Humane Society about a month ago, has a little bit a green discharge in her tearducts when she wakes up after a long nap. Is this something that I should go to a vet for? She doesn’t have any other symptoms like sneezing or anything, so I’m not sure.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm · Reply

      Doesn’t sound like much to worry about, but never hurts to have a vet check it out to make sure no mild infection and/or allergy to eyes.

  26. Hi my 5 month old siberian husky has a little red in his eye hard to see actually, when he wakes up from sleeping there is a little goo not much but should I be worried or do you think it’s just dirt or dust, and will saline solution help to wash it out plain saline solution.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm · Reply

      Best to have vet exam to make sure no eye infections or allergies that may require topical antibiotics.

  27. I have a 1 year old pit bull and for the past two days her eyes have been really red and slight puffy and she’s producing more mucus than normal. I’m thinking it’s just allergies but I’m not sure.

  28. This is useless. All that is said is take your pets to the vet. Why does this even exist?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 8, 2014 at 7:56 am · Reply

      This website is of educational purposes and informational purposes. Always have to cover my bases in recommending vet evaluations as it is difficult to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe specific medications from a verbal prescription.

  29. I noticed about 2 days ago that my German Shepherd Max has green discharge around both eyes and some sensitivity to light. We’d LOVE to take him to the vet, however our funds are a little low. I’m really worried about him, is there any home remedies that could help? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm · Reply

      A vet exam and proper evaluation and diagnosis is ideal here. You could try a drop of cod liver oil in each eye 3 to 4 times daily, as well as giving a teaspoon of cod liver oil mixed with each meal

  30. I have a 3 month old poodle mix I just now realized 1 eye he keeps closed I looked at it and it has some white thick mucus I wiped it off with a damp warm cloth but he still keeps it closed. What home remedies or in expensive eye drop can I get him?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm · Reply

      With any eye issues in dogs, especially at this age, it is best to have a full veterinary exam to check for ulcers of cornea, etc

  31. I have a 9 year old Pomeranian with a heart mummer. He currently takes a low dose of Anallapril. He is constantly coughing but its been regular since hes been on the medicine. He was fine all day, but when we went to feed him tonight we noticed he didn’t come right away. he stayed laying down where he was. When we went over to time we noticed that his eye is red along the top of the area that should be white and his pupil was filmy. there was a bunch of gunk coming out and he was not able to see (he only has one eye). Is there anything i can do to help him until we can get him to the vet?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 7, 2015 at 11:12 am · Reply

      Hopefully you got this problem taken care of, as any eye issue needs an immediate vet exam ASAP

  32. I have a 7 month old black with copper eyes male cat little fuzzball 1 white whisker
    On first visit ( got him at 6 months old)
    Asked vet abt eye discharge said drop visine 2 times day on nose but not for how long should also bit of shake head , did quick swap said he’s fine, healthy no big head, toe check up quick baby shot, clip nails 5 minute visit . I looked at ears no discharge still bit gooey eye otherwise head shake just a little

  33. My pug is 8 years old and has a mucus discharge from his left eye only. I seem to have to wipe/clean his left eye all the time. The eye seems irritated and oftentimes he would be itching it. What eye drop can I safely use to cleanse and soothe his eye and why is this discharge happening? Thank you.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 2:08 pm · Reply

      Always best in cases like this to have proper eye exam to make sure no infection, allergy, foreign bodies in eye, dry eye condition, etc

  34. Hi. I have a choc. lab. He is 11 years old. Just recently he started to have a very thick, brown mucus in his right eye. It looks like it kind of floats at the bottom of his eye. He has never had this before. I did change his food and he is my one pet who has a tendency to have allergies as with food and all. I use to have a foul odor even within 3 days of a bath. Should I just wait a few more weeks to let the old food kick in?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm · Reply

      Best to have vet check in this type of situation, in case infection or allergies, although a dietary trial like you are doing well worth it to see if food hypersensitivity involved.

  35. My one cat is like 13 years old maybe older and he has like a medium amount of like dark thick liquid like substance in the corner of his eye where his teatduck would be I guess and it’s been like this for a while now so is there anything I can do to make it go away ?

  36. My 8 yr old lab has tumors, and thank goodness it is not cancer because our vet extracted liquid from the tumor and tested it. The vet said to monitor the size of the tumor. Lately she has been very lethargic, and she had a hard time breathing last night.. I am wondering if the tumors has grown inside by her organs and is concerned. What should I do?

  37. My kitten is coming up on 6 months old. I got her from this local cat rescue organization. When we got her, she was 4 months and had an upper respiratory infection. With antibiotics, she cleared up within a couple weeks. She received her first shots 6 weeks ago. All vaccinations are free through the organization as part of the fee we payed at adoption. However, three weeks after the first shots, we went back to do her second, and the ladies there (not veterinarians, but have much experience) noticed that my kitten has a weepy eye. Her right eye has a discharge, clear in color, that they were concerned could be feline herpes. I’ve had cats with this clear weepy eye before, and it was never an issue. Always just good ol allergens. And she’s had it since we received her, though we thought it to be a symptom of the upper respiratory. Her eyes look healthy and they aren’t ever red or puffy. Now we got her from these ladies, and she is indoor only and a totally spoiled only cat. If she does have herpes, she got it when she was with them, no? Anyway, that was the first we’d been told of it. They are refusing to give her the second shots until she isn’t showing this symptom. Does that make any sense to you? It really doesn’t to me and today is her last day to get the second shots ,or else we’ll need to start over. She shows no sign of depression, she sneezes only here and there, like any human would, and she loves to eat. Does this sounds like feline herpes? (We plan to take her to a vet anyway. The insight just helps and we’re frustrated because we weren’t notified sooner and haven’t been able to plan for it being something serious financially.)

  38. The my dog always have discharge in the morning when he wakes up. But over the last couple of days he has had abnormal discharge in both eyes. At one point it looked as if there was a film over his eye like fish scales. My husband and I laid him down and rinsed out his eye with a saline solution. He has not been scratching or rubbing his eyes and they are not red or pink . Can you tell me why now after almost two years he’s having issues.

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