It’s possible for Chihuahuas' eyes to water more than other breeds. This is because they are small and often have larger eyes, meaning they could become overwhelmed by their environment which can lead to excessive tearing and staining.
Why are my Chihuahua eyes watering? (and how to deal with tear stains)
By Laura Ballarin
Last updated on May 1, 2023 | 10 min read
If you have a Chihuahua, chances are that at some point, you've noticed your Chi's eyes getting teary and leaving red marks on their fur. This is not something to be alarmed about - it's actually quite common in this breed !
But what causes these tell-tale tear stains and how can they be managed? In this blog post, we'll look at why your Chihuahua might have watery eyes, and explore the various ways you can reduce or prevent them from happening.
Why are my Chihuahua's eyes watering?
So why do Chihuahua's eyes water? There’s actually quite a range of reasons why your Chihuahua might be struggling with watery eyes.
Each of these problems can vary significantly in severity but should all be treated as equally important owing to the nature of eye problems:
This is a perfectly natural response to external stimuli. The most common cause for reflex tears tends to be cold weather, or perhaps a couple of specks of dirt getting into your Chihuahua’s eyes that need to be washed out.
There are also additional stimuli that can be treated or avoided such as hay fever caused by grass pollen, or perhaps a foreign body such as a gas or spray in the air that can cause irritation.
Allergies can generally be easily treated with antihistamines and the right treatment can save your Chihuahua the discomfort and frustration of constantly having to deal with teary, and potentially itchy, eyes.
Cherry eye with Chihuahuas is characterized by an obvious bubble-like appearance at the corner of the eyes.
Chihuahua owners unfamiliar with this condition may think it’s the result of severe swelling of the tear duct, however, it is actually a prolapse of the nictitans.
This prolapse occurs when the Chihuahua’s third eyelid becomes severely inflamed. This inflammation causes of inflated appearance as a result of excessive swelling.
If your Chihuahua’s eyes water a lot and also seem to have a clouded appearance, it could be glaucoma. Glaucoma in Chihuahuas can lead to blindness if left untreated and should be treated as quickly as possible once it has been noticed.
There are two types of glaucoma in Chihuahuas, known as primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is an isolated idiopathic disease, whereas secondary glaucoma has identifiable predisposed elements which cause the onset of the condition.
Stress or emotional issues
If you see your Chihuahua's eyes tearing up in high-stress situations, it is entirely possible they are becoming overwhelmed. These are not tears of sadness or stress, as dogs are incapable of crying real tears, but rather that when a dog is overwhelmed by its environment it is more likely to want to watch everything around it.
A Chihuahua being such a small dog can become more overwhelmed by busy human environments than other breeds, and so their large eyes may come under strain from trying to see everything at once.
Distichiasis (extra eyelashes)
Distichiasis is a condition in which the eyelashes can grow in abnormal places or directions.
This is not overly common with Chihuahuas, however, it has been known to happen. When a dog has Distichiasis the eyelashes can turn inwards and irritate the eye - potentially leading to infection.
How to clean Chihuahua tear stains
If your Chihuahua seems to struggle with chronic eye-watering it can cause tear staining, gumming in the corners of the eyes, crusted fur, and general irritation.
Additionally, the best way to help your Chihuahua deal with teary eyes is to try your best to clean the area regularly to reduce discomfort. Here are a few tips to help you ensure you’re cleaning them properly:
1. Get the correct cleaning solution
It’s possible to purchase a canine-specific eyewash designed to reduce tear staining and soothe the eye area. Alternatively, boil the kettle and allow the water to cool fully before continuing. This water should be used within half an hour of cooling down.
2. Use a gentle cleaning tool
By this we mean don’t use Q-tips as they could poke your Chihuahua in the eye whilst you’re cleaning, and try to avoid using a cloth as it can be quite abrasive or carry bacteria. It’s better to stick with a good old-fashioned cotton bud.
3. Wipe gently
When cleaning their eye it’s important that you are slow, deliberate, and gentle with your approach. You don’t want to go poking your Chihuahua in the eye.
Dampen the cotton bud with your cleaning solution and then carefully clean around the eye with small motions.
4. Repeat as needed
You might not get all of the stainings at first, but don’t worry. If you need to simply repeat the process a couple more times over the course of the day.
5. Monitor your Chihuahua’s reaction
There is a chance that having their eyes cleaned could be uncomfortable or stressful for your Chihuahua. Therefore it’s important that you pay close attention to their body language and let them go if they’re looking as though they want you to stop.
You can always come back to it later.
Chihuahua tear stains FAQs
Do Chihuahuas' eyes water a lot?
How to clean Chihuahua tear stains?
The best way to help your Chihuahua deal with teary eyes is to try your best to clean the area regularly to reduce discomfort. This can be done using a canine-specific eyewash designed for this purpose, or water that has been boiled and cooled down.
Do Chihuahuas cry tears?
Yes, Chihuahuas can cry tears due to a number of reasons. It could be because they are overwhelmed or stressed by their environment, or it could be because they have an eye infection or condition that is causing inflammation and irritation.