Why Do Dogs Eat Their Eye Boogers: Unveiling Canine Grooming Habits

Dogs, like humans, experience a variety of eye-related conditions, among which is the common occurrence of eye boogers. These are essentially a mixture of oil, mucus, and tears that can collect in the corner of a dog’s eyes.

While typically normal, the presence and consistency of these eye secretions can sometimes indicate underlying health issues ranging from allergies to blocked tear ducts.

Certain breeds with specific characteristics, such as poodles with their curly coats or brachycephalic breeds like Boston terriers, may be more susceptible to eye discharge due to their physical traits. It’s important to maintain proper eye hygiene to prevent complications such as infections or tear stains.

The eye health of dogs can be affected by a multitude of factors, from the natural drainage of their tear glands to the intrusion of foreign bodies. The appearance of eye discharge can vary, sometimes presenting as dry or watery, and its cause can range from benign issues like dust to more serious conditions like conjunctivitis or dry eye.

When a dog exhibits eye boogers, it’s not typically a cause for alarm, but consistent or excessive buildup, changes in color or texture, or accompanying signs of discomfort should prompt a visit to the veterinarian.

Key Takeaways

  • Eye boogers in dogs are composed of oils, mucus, tears, and sometimes foreign material.
  • Changes in the amount, color, or texture of eye discharge can signal health issues.
  • Proper eye care and regular grooming are essential for maintaining a dog’s eye health.


Dogs often eat their eye discharge, a behavior stemming from various reasons. They may do it to keep their eyes clean or soothe discomfort. Despite the strangeness of this habit, it typically isn’t hazardous to their health. Dog owners should monitor their pets for any signs of eye infections or ailments and consult a veterinarian if they have concerns about their dog’s eye health or hygiene practices. Regular cleaning can help prevent accumulation of discharge and ensure a dog’s eyes remain healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for dogs to ingest their own eye discharge?

It is relatively common for dogs to lick and ingest their own eye discharge. This behavior is often part of their natural grooming process. While not generally harmful, consistent monitoring is recommended to ensure it does not indicate a health problem.

What health implications can arise from dogs eating eye boogers?

Ingesting eye boogers themselves typically does not cause health issues. However, if the discharge is due to an infection or allergy, the underlying condition may require treatment. Prolonged ingestion without addressing these issues could exacerbate the condition.

Are eye boogers indicative of underlying health issues in dogs?

Yes, while some eye discharge can be normal, excessive or colored eye boogers could signal underlying health issues such as infections, allergies, or blockages.

What causes an increase in eye boogers in dogs?

An increase in eye boogers could result from various factors, including:

  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Irritants or foreign objects in the eye

How can I prevent my dog from eating its eye boogers?

To prevent your dog from eating eye boogers, you can:

  • Clean their eyes gently with a moist cloth daily.
  • Provide appropriate treatments for allergies or infections.
  • Use protective gear like dog goggles in windy or dusty environments.

What treatments are available for dogs with excessive eye discharge?

Treatments for excessive eye discharge may include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections.
  • Antihistamines for allergy-related issues.
  • Artificial tears for dry eyes.
  • Surgery, if caused by anatomical issues like entropion.