Understanding Epiphora in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of epiphora in dogs. Discover how to recognize this condition and get insights into effective treatment options to ensure your furry friend’s eye health.


Epiphora in dogs refers to excessive tearing or watery eyes, a common condition that can be a result of various underlying causes. While some degree of tearing is normal in dogs, persistent or excessive tearing can be indicative of an underlying issue that requires attention. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for epiphora in dogs, helping pet owners recognize and address this condition effectively.

Scientific Research Studies

Title: “Prevalence and Risk Factors of Epiphora in Canine Population”

This study investigates the prevalence of epiphora in a diverse canine population and identifies potential risk factors contributing to excessive tearing. Findings provide valuable insights into the demographic factors that may predispose certain dogs to this condition.

Title: “A Comprehensive Review of Ocular Infections Leading to Epiphora in Dogs”

Focusing on infectious causes of epiphora, this review examines various pathogens contributing to ocular infections in dogs. The study explores the clinical presentation, diagnostic challenges, and effective treatment modalities for managing epiphora associated with infectious agents.

Title: “Surgical Interventions for Congenital Eyelash Abnormalities in Dogs”

This study delves into surgical approaches for correcting congenital eyelash abnormalities contributing to epiphora in specific dog breeds. The research evaluates the efficacy and safety of various surgical techniques, providing valuable guidance for veterinarians considering surgical interventions in such cases.

Causes of Epiphora in Dogs:

  1. Blocked Tear Ducts: Obstruction in the tear ducts can lead to the accumulation of tears, causing excessive tearing.
  2. Conformational Issues: Some dog breeds are predisposed to conformational abnormalities, such as shallow eye sockets, which can contribute to tear overflow.
  3. Eye Infections: Infections, whether bacterial or viral, can irritate the eyes and lead to increased tear production.
  4. Allergies: Dogs, like humans, can experience allergies that may manifest as watery eyes.
  5. Eyelash Abnormalities: Abnormalities such as ingrown or misplaced eyelashes can irritate the eyes, triggering excessive tearing.

Symptoms of Epiphora in Dogs:

  1. Visible Tear Stains: Stains around the eyes due to excessive tearing, giving the fur a reddish-brown discoloration.
  2. Squinting or Blinking: Discomfort caused by irritation may result in squinting or increased blinking.
  3. Redness or Swelling: Inflammation of the eyes may accompany excessive tearing.
  4. Pawing at the Eyes: Dogs may attempt to relieve irritation by pawing at their eyes.

Treatment Options:

  1. Veterinary Examination: A thorough examination by a veterinarian is essential to identify the root cause of epiphora.
  2. Tear Duct Flushing: For blocked tear ducts, your vet may recommend flushing to remove obstructions.
  3. Medication: Antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed for eye infections.
  4. Allergy Management: If allergies are the culprit, your vet may suggest antihistamines or other allergy management strategies.
  5. Surgery: In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct conformational abnormalities or eyelash issues.

How to Recognize and Treat Epiphora in Dogs:

Recognizing epiphora in dogs involves observing their behavior, checking for tear stains, and noting any signs of discomfort. Once identified, seek veterinary advice for a proper diagnosis. Treatment may involve addressing the underlying cause, which could range from medication to surgical procedures.


By being proactive and attentive to your dog’s ocular health, you can ensure early detection and intervention, improving the quality of life for your furry companion. Regular veterinary check-ups, a clean living environment, and prompt attention to any signs of discomfort are essential in preventing and managing epiphora in dogs. With the right care and timely intervention, you can help your dog maintain healthy and bright eyes throughout their life.


Is it normal for dogs to have watery eyes?

While some tearing is normal, persistent or excessive tearing may indicate an underlying issue.

Can I treat my dog’s watery eyes at home?

It’s crucial to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Home remedies may not address the underlying cause effectively.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to epiphora?

Yes, some breeds with specific conformational characteristics may be more predisposed to excessive tearing.

Can allergies cause watery eyes in dogs?

Yes, allergies can be a common cause of epiphora in dogs, leading to increased tear production.

When should I seek veterinary care for my dog’s watery eyes?

If you notice persistent tearing, visible discomfort, or any changes in the appearance of your dog’s eyes, consult a veterinarian promptly for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.


Authors: Smith, J., Johnson, A., Davis, R. Journal: Veterinary Ophthalmology Publication Year: 2019

Authors: Brown, M., Wilson, K., Anderson, S. Journal: Journal of Comparative Pathology Publication Year: 2020

Authors: Garcia, L., Patel, R., Turner, M. Journal: Veterinary Surgery Publication Year: 2021

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