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Doberman Eye Boogers: 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

If your Doberman has constant eye boogers, not only is it off-putting, but you’ll likely be concerned and want to know if everything is okay.

This article looks at the common causes of eye boogers, what you can do about them, and when a veterinarian check-up is necessary.

Eye boogers can be a range of colors and consistencies and may be caused by various ocular conditions.

Knowing what is going on is important, as a new discharge may indicate a serious issue.


Are Eye Boogers Normal In Dobermans?

Small dogs, especially snub-nosed brachycephalics can have narrowed or blocked tear ducts and are prone to tear staining and eye boogers.

However, large breeds with longer muzzles like Dobermans should not typically be afflicted with this issue.

So, if your Doberman’s eyes are watery or gloopy then extra investigation is necessary.

As is true in humans, if your dog’s eyes are irritated by dust or smoke, they may produce tears. However, this should not last long. When the discharge is ongoing, this is not normal and it is important to look into things further.

What Causes Eye Boogers In Dobermans?

As there is a wide range of potential causes for eye boogers, it can be a little tricky diagnosing yourself.

If none of the causes below jump out, then it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for them to perform a thorough health check.

It’s also important to make your vet fully aware of your dog’s medical history as many conditions can be affected by age or alongside other health issues.

1. Conjunctivitis

This is the medical term for inflammation of the conjunctiva, the lining of the eye. The lining may be bright pink or red and can even appear swollen in some cases.

This can be caused by bacterial and viral infections and is a relatively common issue in the Doberman (as well as other dog breeds). Other signs can include itchiness, pain, and sensitivity to light.

2. Allergies

Seasonal or environmental allergies can commonly cause signs including watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. Dogs can react to pollen, grass, trees, and other things in their surroundings.

For many, this is a seasonal issue that is worse in Spring and Summer. Your vet may be able to prescribe medications such as antihistamines to help alleviate symptoms.

3. Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

While it may seem odd that a condition leading to a dry eye creates eye boogers, this is indeed the case. The eye boogers seen in cases of ‘Dry Eye’ tend to be thick, sticky, and green.

4. Foreign Body

If something is irritating the eye (perhaps a small thorn or piece of grit), this will lead to excess tearing and crusts. Your dog will also be in some discomfort and may find it hard to open their eye fully.

5. Corneal Ulcer

A scratch to the surface of the eye can occur due to trauma or an infection and can cause significant pain. It is important that a vet assesses any ulcer ASAP to ensure it heals rapidly.

6. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a sudden increase in eye pressure that can be intensely painful. You may notice that your Doberman’s eye is red and cloudy. It is important that this condition is treated early on.

7. Irregular Eye Conformation

Perhaps your dog has eyelids that roll in (entropion) or out (ectropion). Luckily, these issues are not especially common in the Doberman.

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Dealing With Eye Boogers At Home

It’s important to emphasize that a vet consultation is needed first, to rule out underlying health issues.

At home, you can clean away the eye boogers with wet, warm cotton wool as required. Remember to be gentle as your dog’s eyes may be quite uncomfortable.

If you notice your Dobie rubbing at their eyes, protect them from further damage by using a buster collar. There are a range of buster collars available on the market but most dogs prefer soft fabric collars to plastic ones, as they are more comfortable.

As the Doberman has short fur, there is no need to trim or clip the fur around their eyes.

When To Visit Your Veterinarian

Whenever your Doberman develops eye boogers that won’t go away or are causing them discomfort, you should get them booked in with your nearest vet.

You can tell they are irritating the dog if you see them rubbing their head on the floor or frequently pawing at their eyes.

Other signs of concern would include:

  • Reddened conjunctiva
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Blepharospasm (squinting)
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Clouding of the eye
  • Fur loss or red skin around the eye

What will happen at the vets?

If you bring your Doberman to the vet because of their eye boogers, there are a few things that will likely happen.

Your vet will examine your dog from nose to tail and take a relevant medical history. They may ask you about e.g. recent foreign travel, parasite prevention, and diet. They will want to know when you first noticed the discharge from the eyes and will ask about any accompanying signs.

Your vet will examine both eyes in detail and will likely use an ophthalmoscope to look inside the eyes. They will assess the nerve responses and vision. In some cases, they will measure the intraocular pressure.

The Schirmer Tear Test is usually performed. The vet uses small paper strips to measure the tear production in both eyes. A normal level is above 15mm and anything below this could indicate that your Doberman has dry eyes.

A Fluorescein Stain may also be carried out. This is when an orange dye is put on the surface of the eye and then rinsed off. The vet will then turn out the lights and look for any uptake of the dye. This will appear green and, if present, tells us there is corneal ulceration. Afterward, the vet will clean away any excess stain with saline.

What treatment will be given?

The treatment your Doberman needs will depend entirely on what is causing their eye boogers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ which is why it is so important to have the affected eyes assessed by a veterinarian.

Common treatments prescribed will include:

  • Antibiotic Eye Drops
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Steroid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops
  • Pain relief

Some patients may need more intervention. For example, a debridement procedure may be performed for a stubborn corneal ulcer while an eyelid tacking surgery will help a dog with turned-in eyelids.

Last Thoughts

Eye boogers are a common issue in all dogs, including the Doberman. Leaving an eye condition untreated can cause chronic pain and even vision loss, so eye boogers should always be taken seriously.

Have your dog checked over by their vet to determine why they are developing ocular discharge and what needs to be done.

For most, the prognosis will be excellent and they will go on to make a full recovery. This is especially true for Dobermans who have mild conjunctivitis or a small foreign body that is successfully removed.

For some, they will need ongoing treatment. Those with ‘Dry Eye’ are usually kept on life-long eye drops and will need regular checkups.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.