Golden Retriever Eye Discharge

One of the most popular breeds in America, Golden retrievers were bred specially as a gundog. The breed is popular for its temperament, abilities, and looks. As they were bred to be “retrievers” their exposure to the outside environment brings a lot of uninvited problems too. Although eye discharge is common in dogs, golden retriever eye discharge could be the result of their more field experiences.

Golden retriever eye discharge

Golden retriever’s eye anatomy and how it’s relatable to eye discharge

You must understand why Golden retrievers are more prone to eye infections. The secrets lie in their anatomy as well. Their eye is contained in a “socket,” called the orbit. The eyeball is protected in anterior and posterior chambers. Eyelashes and eyelids provide external safety. Any foreign element in the eye or disease can cause damage to the eye in different ways. Even a simple injury to your dog’s eye can lead to a serious condition.

Dog’s with more “inward” orbits are less prone to eye discharge. Now Golden retrievers have outward bulging eyes and hence are more prone to infections. This may be interesting to you that a dog’s eye has three eyelids. The third eyelid is meant to protect the eye and spread tear film. This is visible as a pink membrane near the corner of the eye and the term” cherry eye” is used for it. In some cases, the cherry eye gland can prolapse causing swelling and redness in the golden retriever’s eyes. This prolapse is more common in dogs than in other animals and can affect both eyes.

Eye discharge in Golden retrievers

Eye discharge is common in dogs and can be due to different reasons ranging from the damaged optic nerve to allergies. Since golden retrievers are outdoor dogs, there could be a wide range of reasons why they are having eye discharge.

If your golden retriever is having an eye discharge, you need to see if the discharge is clear and watery or yellow and mucousy. A clear eye discharge in a dog’s eye means it’s due to allergies or dust particles. However,  yellow mucus can be a symptom of an eye disease that requires medical attention.

Causes of eye discharge in golden retrievers

There could be different reasons why your Golden retriever is having an eye discharge. Have a read below and check for the symptoms


This is a condition in which there is mucus or yellowish eye discharge due to inflammation in the eye lining. Conjunctivitis could be due to a birth defect or injury. If your dog is having an eye discharge and is constantly pawing at the eyes due to irritation, you need to talk to the vet to check for the possibility of conjunctivitis.


Uveitis is an infection in the middle layer of eyewall tissue and can cause red eyes and eye discharge. This condition can be painful for your dog and makes your dog sensitive to light.  Excessive tearing can cause bleeding,  irritation, and pain. Uveitis is due to the body’s natural response against germs or infection. Your dog needs professional help for uveitis diagnoses and treatment.


The dog’s eye discharge could be due to a distemper which is a viral infection. Distemper is a disease that affects multiple body organs in dogs. It can also affect the neural network and eyes. If you notice eye discharge in its eye along with other symptoms of distemper, keeping your dog away from other dogs is in the best interest of all. As distemper spreads through affected dogs, quarantine your dog.


Eye ulcers are another reason that can cause eye discharge in golden retrievers. Different injuries in the eye or some eye diseases can cause ulcers in the eye. If you notice watery discharge, red eyes, and sensitivity to light and discomfort, your dog may be having a corneal ulcer. This condition requires a surgical process so make an appointment with your vet.


Many eye diseases could result in excessive tearing (epiphora) of an eye. If your dog is having smelly discharge maybe it’s suffering from epiphora. From ulcers to tumors to inflammatory diseases,  anything could cause this condition and your dog will need antibiotics to cure it. In severe cases,  your dog may need a surgical process.

Cherry eye prolapse

The third eyelid in the dog’s eye can tear away resulting in a loose eye membrane. This will pop up and look like a red bump. Cherry eye prolapse also requires medical attention.

Dry eye

Tears are important, even for dogs. They cleanse our eyes. Lack of tears can cause a condition called dry eye which may lead to inflammation and mucus. The dry eye could be a side effect of some disease, result of an injury, or immune disorder.

Without cleansing tears and enough lubrication, even simple blinking can cause rashes in the eyes. Artificial tear-inducing medicines and eye drops are recommended to cure dry eye conditions. Early treatment helps to control the condition and protect the eye from further serious infections.


Glaucoma blocks the nerves in the eye and can cause the eyes to bulge out. This may result in a damaged optic nerve. The condition could be inherited or a result of an eye injury.

Glaucoma causes watery discharge and inflammation in the eyes and the condition requires surgery to remove ocular pressure on the eye. If not treated on time,  glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss in dogs.


In the pannus, the blood vessels grow over the cornea and cause blurring in vision. This is an autoimmune disease and is painful and discomforting for dogs. Eye discharge will increase irritation.

Dog eye boogers

A dog’s eye discharge,  tears, and dust particles make a “debris” called a dog eye booger. Eye drainage is normal and common until it is excessive and seals over the eyelid. You need to clean your dog’s eye boogers to keep the eye tidy and healthy.

  • How to clean golden retrievers’ eye boogers?
    • To clean the boogers from golden retrievers eyes you can use your fingertips or moist cotton to remove the debris near the eye. If it’s dried, moist cotton will do well. You can also use medical eye cleaning products to cleanse the dog’s eye.
  • Golde retriever’s eye booger color
    • White or greyish dog eye booger is normal. If your Golden retriever is having an eye discharge, other than white color, then this is a symptom of some diseases.
    • If dog eye booger is yellow or green, this is a symptom of corneal infection.
    • When your Dog’s eye booger is black, this is a symptom of a duct problem. The dog’s eye duct is unable to properly dispose of tears.

How to treat golden retriever’s eye discharge?

Golden retriever’s eye discharge can be treated with both home remedies and medical treatment. However,  this will depend entirely on the eye condition. If it’s not serious and can be treated at home,  we suggest taking this cost-effective solution. Home remedies are always cost-effective and have fewer side effects.

Home remedies to treat Golden retriever eye discharge:

Few steps can ensure your dog’s safety and health.


The common solution to treat Golden retriever’s eye discharge is cleansing of eyes. Regular cleaning prevents that sticky mucus and infection to further increase.

The best way to cleanse your dog’s eye is with saline solution. Saline solution is a natural disinfectant also.

To clean your dog’s eye

  • Soak cotton fabric or gauze in warm water or saline water.
  • Starting from the center cleanse out the eye gently.
  • You can prepare saline solution at home by adding a pinch of salt in 1/4 cup of water.
  • If your pet resists, talk to the vet for further advice.
  • Also,  apply a damp and warm towel and compress the eye gently to relieve pain and discomfort.

Protect the eyes

Protection is always better than cure. Your dog’s eye could get infected by many things when exposed to the outside world. Try to cover the eyes with dog accessories or glasses to prevent the eye from getting injured or infected when your dog is out.

Nutritious food

A healthy diet means a healthy body. Add food to your dog’s diet that encourages eye health.

  • Carrots and pumpkins are good for the eye and help in improving vision.
  • Give your dog food that is rich in antioxidants. For example berries.
  • Broccoli is healthy food to add to a dog’s diet.
  • Fish provide omega oils and healthy fats.


Herbs are a natural treatment for centuries. Nature has packed its healing magic in many herbs.  Some of the herbs that can be used to support and improve golden retriever’s eye health are

  • Algae, Astaxanthin is a type of algae enriched in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  • Marigold, an important herb for eye health.
  • Eyebright is used in herbal tinctures for eye ailments and is very soothing for the eyes.
  • Rooibos,  also known as redbush is also an effective eyewash for dog’s eyes.
  • Red clover is a great healing herb to cure eye infections.

You can use any of these herbs to make an herbal tincture. Just add herbs in 1/4 cup of water. Boil and let it cool,  the herb will sit down. Strain the mixture to get eyedrops and store them in a  bottle. Use this water as eye drops. You can keep the mixture in the refrigerator for two to three days. We recommend,  if it’s easy, try to make a new tincture every day for more effective results.


  • Take a little extra care of your dog.
  • Trim long eye hairs to prevent falling them in the eyes.
  • Keep shampoos and soaps away from your dog’s eye while bathing.
  • Also, keep the medicines and irritants away from your dog’s eye.
  • Cleanse the eye regularly.

Is Golden retriever one of the dog breeds that have more eye discharge?


This depends on how a dog looks like,  what kind of environment it is living in and how much resistance it has to fight against infections and diseases. Golden retrievers are more prone to eye discharge because of the work they do, the environment they live in, and the anatomy they have.

For example, Dog breeds with protruding and bulging eyes are more at risk of having eye discharge. Breeds like

  • Pekingese
  • Boxers
  • Bulldogs and
  • Pugs

have a flat face and shallow eye sockets. So they are more likely to get affected because of their prominent eyes. We can say bigger the eyes,  bigger the problems.  They can have tear drainage problems, irritation due to inward rolling eyelids, or lids that don’t fully cover their eyes and hence are unable to protect the eye. Cherry eyes most commonly happen in dog breeds having loose facial skin. Dogs breeds like

  • bloodhounds
  • cocker spaniels
  • beagles
  • Saint Bernards
  • English sheepdogs
  • Siberian huskies
  • Rottweiler and
  • some breeds of terriers

are more at risk of ectropion (a condition in which the eyelid rolls outward leaving the inner eyelid exposed to infection or irritation).

Some other breeds that are meant to work outdoors like

  • Golden retrievers
  • Rottweiler or
  • Vizslas

are more prone to eye infections. The chances of getting affected are more due to exposure to a direct outside environment.

Is Golden retriever eye discharge a serious problem?

In some cases, it may not be a serious thing and a result of dust particles or common infection. Your Golden Retriever may have gotten it while having a nice walk with you.

While in other conditions, a dog’s eye discharge may be an indication of serious illness, and the cure may require a surgical procedure.

Don’t take Golden retriever’s eye discharge lightly if it has a foul smell and accompanies other symptoms.

When to consult a vet for Golden retriever eye discharge?

  • Gently, pull over the lid and check your dog’s eye. If you notice any injury or something different that doesn’t sound normal,  consult your vet.
  • Any abnormal sign, injury, cloudiness,  foreign element, or discharge in your dog’s eye means it’s time to consult your vet.
  • If your dog is having redness in the eye and there is constant irritation and itching, talk to a vet.
  • Any discomfort in the eye can be a sign of an eye infection.

How to apply eye drops or ointments to your golden retriever’s eye

Golden retrievers can fight back while putting ointment or drops in their eyes. This can do more damage. You must put medicine with utmost care to avoid scratching or injuring their eye. To do this

  • First, cleanse the eye with disinfectant. (Use warm or saline water).
  • Gently tilt your dog’s head and hold the head to prevent your dog from moving.
  • Squeeze and apply drops.
  • To apply ointment,  use an ointment applicator and gently apply the ointment by pulling down your dog’s lower lid. Spread the ointment evenly throughout the eye. Let the ointment sit in the eye.

In short, if your golden retriever is having an eye discharge and you should look out for other symptoms. If possible, cure at home with effective home remedies. However,  if your dog is in pain and discomfort, and there are other symptoms, talk to your vet.

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