golden retriever watery eyes
golden retriever watery eyes

Golden Retriever Watery Eyes: Causes and Symptoms

Do golden retriever watery eyes bother you? Perhaps, you’ve been wondering if it’s normal for your pup to have watery eyes or if the excessive eye discharge is a sign of an underlying problem. Golden retriever watery eyes range from minor issues to more serious conditions. So to put you at ease, let’s explore the possible causes of watery eyes in golden retrievers and how to handle them appropriately.

Types of Golden Retriever Eye Discharge 

golden retriever watery eyes

Various eye discharges are common in this breed, and it’s essential to understand the different types to recognize when something needs to be addressed – or isn’t cause for concern. Let’s look at the common types of golden retriever eye discharge.

❃Little Goop/Crust

These comprise a combination of proteins, moisture, and mucous, accumulating at the corners of their eyes during sleep and shut-eye. While this type of eye discharge may appear worrisome, they usually signify that a normal, natural cleaning process is taking place to keep the dog’s eyes from drying.

In general, if your golden retriever has enough tear production that provides oxygen and nutrients to its eyes, it will begin to accumulate crusty eye discharge each night, which should remain relatively consistent. So, don’t worry if you spot a thin layer of residue around your pooch’s eyes.

❃Reddish-Brown Stains in Tears

Golden Retrievers can often have reddish-brown tear staining in the tears that create a discoloration of their fur near the inner corner of their eyes. It occurs due to porphyrin, a tear pigment that turns reddish-brown as it interacts with air over time. While this could be cause for concern, in the absence of any other problems, it is just an aesthetic issue and ultimately harmless.

❃White/Gray Mucus

This could indicate dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), a condition that occurs when the immune system causes damage to the tear-production glands. Symptoms include excessive eye discharge, any change in color or consistency, and possible redness, swelling, or soreness. Taking your Golden Retriever to the vet should you notice any signs and getting prompt treatment is important, as KCS can multiply and worsen without intervention.

❃Yellow or Green Discharge 

 It’s important to note that these colors typically indicate an underlying eye infection. These infections can arise as a direct problem or due to other conditions, such as corneal wounds or dry eye. You may also see signs of redness, squinting, and eye rubbing. If your pet shows any signs of discomfort or a change in its behavior, it’s best to bring them to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

❃Watery Eyes 

This will be our focus in this article, as this is the most common type of golden retriever eye discharge. Watery eyes are the most common symptom and can be caused by anything from an allergy or irritant to a foreign object being stuck in the eye, even if it is simply excess tears flowing from the eye. This should not be taken lightly as it could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue like entropion or ectropion.

It may require veterinary attention to diagnose and treat the problem to prevent further complications properly. Even if the discharge seems benign, getting your Golden Retriever checked by a vet for an accurate diagnosis of their eye condition is important.

In more detail, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment for watery eyes in golden retrievers.

What Exactly is Golden Retriever Watery Eyes?

What Exactly is Golden Retriever Watery Eyes

Water eyes, sometimes called epiphora, are a common symptom found in the breed, which causes constant tearing of the eyes from a malfunctioning tear duct. Epiphora occurs when excessive tears are produced and accumulate at the corners of the eye. This can happen due to a blocked tear duct, eyelash irritation, improper blinking technique, or eye infection.

Signs and Symptoms Watery Eyes in Golden Retrievers

The most common signs and symptoms of watery eyes in golden retrievers include:

  • Eye puffiness
  • Discharge
  • Painful squinting
  • Eye redness
  • Fur stain ( reddish brown)
  • Under eye wetness
  • Dampness
  • Skin infection
  • Eye infections
  • Sneezing
  • Odor
  • Eye rubbing with paws
  • Periorbital alopecia
  • Vision problem

These are the most common signs and symptoms of watery eyes in golden retrievers. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your pup checked out by a veterinarian immediately.

Possible Causes of Golden Retriever Watery Eyes 

Possible Causes of Golden Retriever Watery Eyes 

It is essential to learn how to recognize epiphora’s symptoms and understand its causes to provide your Golden Retriever with appropriate treatment. Here are some of the possible causes of watery eyes in Golden Retrievers. 

📌Excessive Hair on the Face 

Golden Retrievers have beautiful fur, but sometimes their abundant facial hair can cause eye issues. It is possible for their hair to grow into their eye, which leads to irritation and redness. If this is the case, it is recommended that you trim the hair surrounding your pup’s eyes to reduce any discomfort and make sure that no other debris or dirt gets into their eye.  


It is a condition where extra eyelashes grow from the eyelids’ edges and irritates the eye. It’s caused by an overgrowth of eyelash follicles, making the eyes appear watery and red. Additionally, if left untreated, the hairs may eventually rub against the cornea and lead to further irritation or even ulceration. Treatment usually involves surgically removing extra eyelashes or using cryosurgery to freeze them off. 


Just like us humans, our furry friends can suffer from allergies too! Allergic reactions such as seasonal allergies from pollen or dust mites can cause watery eyes in dogs just like it does with humans.

📌Trauma or Punctures/Scratches 

Eye injuries can happen quickly and easily if your pup is playing too rough or they get into something they shouldn’t. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of pain or discomfort, such as squinting, blinking, or excess tearing.


Tumors could be a benign or malignant tumor that results in excessive tearing due to blockage in the tear ducts. If you notice that one eye is more affected than the other, it may be a sign of an underlying issue, such as a tumor causing the wateriness.


In some cases, environmental irritants such as smoke, sprays, dust, perfumes, etc., can also cause watery eyes in golden retrievers. These irritants can cause inflammation, producing excess tears as the body tries to flush out anything that doesn’t belong there.


Bacterial infections are fairly common among golden retrievers due to their long fur, which can trap dirt and bacteria near their face area (including their eyes). Bacterial infections can cause various issues, such as redness, swelling, and excessive discharge from the eye.


Canine herpesvirus is a common virus that can cause watery eyes in dogs. This virus is highly contagious and can be passed from dog to dog through contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms of canine herpesvirus include cloudy eyes and excessive tearing.


Fungal infections of the eye are relatively rare in dogs but can occur. The most common type of fungal eye infection in dogs is called cryptococcus. This infection usually affects only one eye and can cause symptoms like redness, discharge, and watering.


Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when the pressure inside the eye becomes too high. This can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness if it’s not treated promptly. Symptoms of glaucoma include redness, pain, watering, and squinting.

📌Facial Anatomy 

The first cause of watery eyes in a Golden Retriever is its facial anatomy. The long snout and protruding lower eyelid result in inadequate tear drainage, leading to chronic irritation and infection. To help reduce excessive tearing, vets may suggest taping the fur under the eye and using an ointment to keep it dry. 

📌Blocked Tear Ducts 

This condition occurs when the tear ducts become blocked, resulting in tears being unable to drain properly. Various things, such as an infection, inflammation, tumors, or trauma, can cause it. Treatment options include antibiotics to treat underlying infections and flushing the tear ducts with saline solution to remove blockages. Surgery may also be necessary if the tear ducts are completely blocked or damaged beyond repair. 

📌Congenital Issues 

Golden Retrievers can also be prone to congenital issues like folds on the skin near their eyes that become infected from constant wetness. These folds must be cleaned regularly and kept dry with medicated wipes/creams and tape strips over them as needed. If these measures do not provide adequate relief, surgery may be necessary to remove excess tissue around the eye area and improve drainage patterns.  


It occurs when one or both of the dog’s eyelids roll inward due to weak muscles. This causes irritation and excessive tearing since eyelashes constantly rub against the eye’s surface.


It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin membrane covering the front part of your dog’s eyeball and the inner surface of its eyelids. Common symptoms include redness, swelling, excessive tear production, and discharge from one or both eyes.


It is an inflammation or infection of your dog’s tear ducts which can cause excessive tearing and watery eyes. Blockages usually cause it in these ducts, which prevent tears from draining properly from your pup’s eye socket into their nasal cavity, where they should be processed normally before being expelled through their nostrils.

📌Corneal Ulcers 

These open sores on your pup’s eyeball can cause severe pain and irritation, leading to excessively watery eyes. This condition requires immediate medical attention since it can potentially cause blindness if not treated promptly with antibiotic drops or ointments prescribed by a veterinarian and supportive care such as anti-inflammatory medications and/or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). 

These are just some of the more common causes of watery eyes in Golden Retrievers. Anytime your pup shows the signs mentioned above, it’s essential to seek veterinary care right away to determine the underlying cause and provide proper treatment.

Diagnosing Golden Retriever Watery Eyes 

Veterinarians typically employ a characteristic approach when diagnosing gold retrievers with watery eyes. After an initial visual examination of the animal’s eyes, the vet may use specialized instruments to assess the health of a dog’s ocular system and nearby structures, such as tear ducts or eyelids.

In order to further ascertain (or rule out) possible conditions that can cause excessive tearing in golden retrievers. Vets may rely on laboratory tests such as measuring bacterial cultures or allergy screening. Surgery is deemed necessary to treat watery eyes in rare cases in this breed. Imaging tests and schirmer tear test are used to obtain precise information about a dog’s eye and head structures.

Generally speaking, excessive tearing in golden retrievers can be easily resolved. However, by following an orderly diagnosis protocol, any underlying issues causing this condition can be identified and treated swiftly.

Treatment for Golden Retriever Watery Eyes

The treatment plan for watery eyes in golden retrievers depends on the underlying cause.


Surgery may sometimes be necessary to treat watery eyes in your Golden Retriever. This procedure is used when the underlying issue is untreatable with medication or eye drops. During surgery, a small incision is made near the tear ducts so that they can be unblocked and tears can properly drain away from the eyes. This type of procedure is typically recommended by veterinarians only after other treatment options have been exhausted and has proven effective in many cases. 

👉Antibiotic Therapy 

If an infection causes your dog’s watery eyes, then antibiotic therapy may be necessary to clear up the infection and prevent further complications from developing. A veterinarian will usually prescribe antibiotics such as amoxicillin or cefalexin. It can be administered orally or topically, depending on the severity of the infection. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and finish all prescribed doses for the antibiotics to work properly. 

👉Eye Drops and Ointment 

For milder cases of watery eyes in Golden Retrievers, eye drops may help reduce irritation and control discharge coming from their eyes. Eye drops should always be administered under veterinary supervision as incorrect dosage could cause further irritation or damage your dog’s eyesight. Additionally, some veterinarians may recommend using an ointment or salve around the eye area to help reduce inflammation and dry out any excess fluid from tears or discharge.                     

👉Saline Solution or Sterile Water 

Another way to keep your dog’s eyes free of discharge is by gently wiping them with a sterile solution such as saline or sterile water several times a day. It helps remove any buildup that could be irritating while also providing relief from itchiness if present. Just make sure you use lukewarm water when cleaning around their eyes, so you don’t accidentally burn them with hot liquid. 

👉Elizabethan Collar (E-Collar) 

Suppose your Golden Retriever’s tear ducts are blocked due to an infection or injury (such as scratched eyeballs). In that case, an Elizabethan collar or E-collar might need to be worn until their vision has returned to normal. The E-collar prevents them from rubbing their face against anything that could cause further irritation or damage their delicate vision organs even more. 

These are some of the most common treatment options for watery eyes in Golden Retrievers. As always, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before deciding on a course of action to ensure you’re providing your dog with the best possible care.

Tips for Preventing Watery Eyes in Golden Retrievers

🐾Check Your Dog’s Diet 

The first step is to ensure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs from his diet. Ensure your dog eats a balanced diet with plenty of proteins and fats. A good quality kibble made specifically for golden retrievers will provide him with all the nutrition he needs for healthy eyes. If your dog has any food allergies or sensitivities, talk to your veterinarian about alternative diets or supplements that may help reduce his watery eye symptoms. 

🐾Keep Your Dog’s Eyes Clean 

Keeping your dog’s eyes clean is important by wiping away any discharge or dirt that accumulates around them. To do this, use a damp cloth or cotton ball soaked in warm water and gently wipe away any debris that collects around the eyes. It will help keep irritants away from the delicate tissues around the eyes and prevent infection. It’s also important to check your dog’s eyes regularly to ensure they don’t become red or swollen, as this could indicate infection or allergy.  

🐾Visit Your Veterinarian Regularly 

It’s important to have your golden retriever checked out by a veterinarian on a regular basis. This will help identify any underlying medical conditions that could be causing watery eyes and allow your vet to provide the most effective treatment. Early intervention is key in managing health issues, so don’t wait until your dog’s symptoms become severe before seeking help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Dogs’ Eyes Water Like They Are Crying? 

Most often, when a dog’s eyes are watery and look as if they are crying, it is simply an indication that too much moisture is present in the eye. It can happen if the eyes become irritated due to wind, dust, or allergies. Other causes of weepy eyes include blocked tear ducts or plugged pores caused by dirt and debris. In some cases, eye discharge can also indicate an underlying medical condition such as conjunctivitis or glaucoma. 

Are Golden Retrievers Prone To Eye Infections? 

Yes, golden retrievers are prone to certain eye infections due to their breed-specific traits. These include entropion (eyelids that turn inward), distichiasis (double eyelashes), and dry eye syndrome due to lack of tear production which can lead to infection. Because of this potential for infection, regular checkups with your vet should be part of your golden retriever’s overall health maintenance routine. 

What Eye Problems Do Golden Retrievers Have? 

Golden retrievers are prone to certain eye conditions due to their breed-specific traits, including entropion (eyelids that turn inward), distichiasis (double eyelashes), and dry eye syndrome due to lack of tear production, which can lead to infection. Golden retrievers may also suffer from cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular checkups with your vet should be part of your golden retriever’s overall health maintenance routine so any changes in vision or signs of infection can be detected early on and treated appropriately.  

Do Golden Retrievers’ Eyes Water When They Are Sick? 

Yes, it is possible for golden retrievers’ eyes to water when they are sick due to a variety of factors, including allergies, irritation from wind or dust particles, blocked tear ducts or plugged pores caused by dirt and debris buildup, conjunctivitis or glaucoma. If your pup’s eyes appear red and watery for no apparent reason, then you should take them to see the vet so they can determine the cause and provide proper treatment if needed. 

Does Parvo Cause Eye Discharge? 

Canine parvovirus (CPV) does not typically cause eye discharge. Still, it can cause other symptoms related to the digestive system, such as vomiting and diarrhea, which could lead to dehydration and subsequent eye tears due to a lack of lubrication from proper hydration levels. Any symptoms related to CPV must be addressed promptly. This virus is highly contagious among dogs and puppies, so early detection is key in providing effective treatment before spreading further within a community.  

Final Words

Golden retrievers are prone to certain eye conditions due to their breed-specific traits, and watery eyes can indicate various underlying issues. To maintain your golden retriever’s optimal health, you must visit the veterinarian regularly for checkups and watch out for any signs or symptoms of potential eye problems. By following these tips and working closely with your vet, you should be able to control the watery eyes in golden retrievers and prevent any further complications.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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