Itchy, Water Eyes: should you risk your dog going blind?

A watery, itchy eye might not seem serious.

Eye problems can though quickly turn nasty and blindness is possible!

What should you do, and is it worth starting treatment with a natural eye drop?

what to do if your dog has a watery, itchy eye

Coco my dog has been scratching his right eye for about a week now. I gave him some eye drops called Pink Eye Relief. It’s a natural eye drop containing euphrasia. It works for a little while but it comes back and he starts scratching again. I’m wondering if he has an allergy. Can you tell me what to do for him? There is no yellow pus or anything coming out, only mild tearing and it’s clear. Thank you.

And so my next question is all about Coco the pit bull who's got an itchy, irritated eye that he can’t stop scratching

Watery Eye Causes

So we'll start off, as I often do, with the causes of watery eyes and causes of irritations.

The eye surface

First up would be a mild conjunctivitis. There could be a very small superficial ulceration, a small eye ulcer on the cornea so the front surface of the eye. There could be an extra eyelash growing into the eye causing irritation.

skin problems

As well as eye problems, there could also be irritation causing rubbing, which is actually then causing the tear discharge. If the skin around the eye is irritated, then your dog will be seeming to rub their eye when it's actually the skin that's causing the problem. This then leads to the eye becoming watery.

Internal eye issues

And then we can also have a problem within the eye actually causing discomfort and that's then causing them to rub their eye. So this could be something like glaucoma. An increase in the pressure within the eye would be an example of something that causes some discomfort or pain, and a dog will rub their eye as a result.


Now an allergy is possible. I would say it's not a very common cause of eye irritation and runny eyes unless a dog is also irritated elsewhere. Frequently with our allergic dogs are also going to have itchy skin and so be scratching their feet, have ear problems, or rubbing their face elsewhere. Also, with allergic problem, you'd expect both eyes to be affected. If there is an allergy that's just causing watery eyes, you'd expect it to be both eyes and not just one that is affected.

Those are really the main causes of watery eyes in dogs, and it's important to think about these before we can then give an effective treatment. If we don't know what's going on, then you can see that the best treatment might be very different to the one you try.

Natural Eye Drops

Now Pink Eye Relief, I had a little look at what that was as it’s not something I was familiar with, but that's actually a homeopathic medication. In it, the euphrasia has a potency of 6x. What this means, is that 1 part of the euphrasia is diluted in 10 parts water, then 1 part of this solution is again diluted in 10 parts of water, and this process is repeated for a total of 6 dilutions.

The end result is a final concentration of 1 part euphrasia to 1 million parts water.

What to do when the treatment’s not working

Now, whenever something is not improving with the treatment being given, regardless of what that treatment is (and whether that treatment’s based on an at home diagnosis or treatment by your vet), we really need to re-evaluate the situation.

In this case, homeopathic medications don't work - I'm going to state that plain and simple. If you want to learn more about this then you should head over to my post all about homeopathy and its use in pets.

We also need to reassess the diagnosis (or make one in the first instance!) and find out exactly what is causing this runny, itchy eye problem.

Make a diagnosis

There's no way I can tell what's wrong with this eye. If a dog has got something like a glaucoma, so an increase in their pressure within the eye, that's a really serious condition and needs to be treated appropriately as soon as possible. If they've got an ulceration in their eye, then that's something that needs different treatment. If they've got an eyelash that's growing into their eye and causing that irritation, again that needs a different treatment as well.

What Should Coco’s Owner Do?

So in this case, seeing your vet is really the most appropriate thing. It’s definitely not worth trying anything else because the consequences might be that Coco loses sight in their eye. That might sound extreme but it's a possibility with some of the potential causes of this problem.

So I definitely encourage Coco's owner to take Coco to the vet to have the eye checked out. And if you're ever giving any home treatment for anything and it's not working, then you need to see your vet. You need to reassess that diagnosis and discuss whether there are any other treatment options that you can consider.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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