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Owners of Pekingese dogs might notice their pets often have watery eyes, a condition known as epiphora. This issue can be spotted by a consistent overflow of tears from the eyes, potentially leading to visible tear staining on the dog’s face. While epiphora can occur in various breeds, Pekingese dogs are predisposed to this condition due to their distinctive facial structure and eye shape.

Several factors contribute to watery eyes in Pekingese, including allergies, infections, or the presence of foreign bodies. In some cases, issues with the dog’s tear drainage system may also lead to excessive tearing. Additionally, the breed’s brachycephalic nature means Pekingese have shallow eye sockets and bulging eyes that can contribute to tear spillage.

Proper care is crucial for managing this condition and includes regular cleaning of the area around the eyes to prevent irritation or infection. In more severe cases, veterinary intervention may be necessary to address any underlying health issues and provide appropriate treatments such as medication or, in some instances, surgery to correct anatomical problems.

Understanding Pekingese Eye Structure and Genetics

The Pekingese breed is characterized by distinctive facial and eye structures largely due to their genetic makeup. This section explores the reasons behind their unique ocular features.

Brachycephalic Head Shape

The Pekingese is well-known for its brachycephalic head shape, a trait evident through a significantly shortened upper jaw and nose. This defining characteristic is a result of selective breeding to achieve the breed’s distinctive flat face. The head shape inherently affects the positioning and health of the eyes.

Genetic Predisposition

Genetics play a crucial role in the Pekingese’s physical appearance, including eye-related issues. These dogs carry genes that predispose them to certain conditions that are not as prevalent in non-brachycephalic breeds. When discussing the Pekingese’s ocular health, these genetic factors cannot be overlooked, as they contribute to the breed’s tendency for eye problems.

Shallow Eye Sockets

Pekingese dogs have shallow eye sockets, which cause their eyes to be more prominent or bulging. The depth of the eye sockets is reduced in brachycephalic breeds, and this anatomical feature can lead to increased risks for ocular trauma and disease. The structural conformation of the Pekingese’s face means that their eyes are more exposed and potentially more susceptible to injuries and irritations.

Common Eye Conditions in Pekingese

Pekingese dogs are prone to several eye conditions that can contribute to watering and discomfort. These concerns require prompt attention to prevent more serious complications.


Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing eyelashes or fur to irritate the surface of the eye. In Pekingese, this can lead to excessive tearing, also known as epiphora, and potential damage to the cornea if not treated.


With Distichiasis, Pekingese can develop abnormally growing eyelashes that emerge from the eyelid margin and brush against the cornea. This irritation can cause watering eyes, redness, and the possibility of corneal ulcers if the condition persists without intervention.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) or dry eye occurs when there is inadequate tear production to lubricate the eyes. Despite the name, dry eye can lead to increased tear production as a reflex, causing tear overflow and potential secondary infections or inflammation.

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers are a serious condition characterized by sores on the corneal surface. These ulcers can result from untreated entropion, distichiasis, or any persistent eye irritation. Symptoms include excessive tearing, redness, and sometimes a visible defect on the surface of the eye that needs immediate veterinary care.

Symptoms of Eye Problems

Pekingese dogs can exhibit several symptoms indicative of eye problems. It’s important for owners to recognize these signs early for prompt treatment.

Excessive Tearing

Excessive tearing or watery eyes are a primary symptom of eye issues in Pekingese dogs. Owners may notice more tears than usual or a continual wetness around the eyes. This condition can lead to stains on the fur and may be a sign of an underlying issue such as an infection or an obstructed tear duct.

Redness and Inflammation

Another common sign of ocular discomfort is redness in the whites of the eyes or around the eyelids. Inflammation may accompany the redness, indicating irritation or infection. Squinting or frequent rubbing of the eyes by the Pekingese can further signify that there is redness and inflammation needing attention.

Pain and Discomfort

Pekingese may demonstrate pain and discomfort through behaviors such as squinting, becoming more sensitive to light, or visibly rubbing their eyes against surfaces. If the eyes appear cloudy or there is any noticeable change in how they interact with their environment, it could suggest they are experiencing discomfort due to an eye condition.

Diagnosis and Professional Care

When Pekingese dogs exhibit symptoms of eye problems, such as watering eyes, it is crucial to pursue a proper diagnosis and professional care to prevent complications. The process typically involves a comprehensive veterinarian examination, potential specialist referral, and various diagnostic tests to determine the nature and severity of the issue.

Veterinarian Examination

The initial step in addressing Pekingese eye watering is a thorough eye exam by a veterinarian. They will look for signs of eye disorders common in Pekingese, such as bulging eyes, excessive tearing, or inflammation. The veterinarian will also assess whether eye drops or other immediate treatments can offer temporary relief.

Specialist Referral

If the eye condition appears to require more specialized care, the veterinarian may refer the Pekingese to an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are specialists trained to deal with complex ocular conditions and are well-equipped to manage the specific needs of Pekingese eye problems.

Diagnostic Tests

To determine the exact cause of eye watering, several diagnostic tests may be performed:

  • Schirmer Tear Test: This measures tear production to confirm if the Pekingese is suffering from dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Adequate tear production is vital for maintaining eye health.
  • Fluorescein Staining: This test involves placing a dye in the eye to reveal any corneal abrasions or ulcers.

The combination of these procedures helps ensure the most accurate diagnosis, leading to the best course of treatment for a Pekingese experiencing eye watering issues.

Treatment and Management of Eye Conditions

In managing and treating eye conditions in Pekingese dogs, veterinarians often employ a combination of medical and surgical interventions, along with home care strategies, to alleviate discomfort and prevent complications.

Medical Treatments

For the initial management of eye issues, veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial infections and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and irritation. Artificial tears are commonly recommended to keep the eyes moist, especially in cases of dry eye. Antihistamines may be used to address allergic reactions contributing to eye watering. When administering these medications, it’s crucial to follow the vet’s instructions:

  • Antibiotics: Administer as prescribed; typically involves eye drops or ointment.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Dosage depends on the specific condition and dog’s size.
  • Artificial Tears: Use throughout the day to maintain eye moisture.
  • Antihistamines: Given for allergic responses, with the dosage tailored to the dog.

Surgical Options

Surgery may be necessary for chronic or severe conditions, such as a clogged tear duct or eyelid abnormalities. Surgical options are considered when non-invasive treatments are ineffective. Post-surgery, an Elizabethan collar may be necessary to prevent the dog from scratching or rubbing its eyes, ensuring proper healing. Surgical procedures include:

  • Tear duct flushing or repair for proper drainage.
  • Correction of eyelid issues to prevent further damage to the eye.

Home and Preventive Care

At home, regular grooming of the face and eyes can keep tear stains to a minimum and prevent debris-related irritation. Owners should provide a balanced diet to support overall health, including eye health. Saline solution can be used to rinse out any irritants, and dogs prone to dry eyes may benefit from regularly scheduled artificial tear application. Preventive measures include:

  • Grooming: Trim hair around eyes; clean face daily.
  • Balanced Diet: Ensures the dog receives essential nutrients for eye health.
  • Saline Solution: For gentle cleaning of the eyes at home.

Complications and Prognosis

When Pekingese dogs experience excessive eye watering, it’s crucial to address the condition promptly to avoid complications and ensure effective recovery. Proper treatment and care are key to maintaining their eye health.

Potential Complications

  • Blindness/Vision Loss: Untreated eye conditions can lead to severe complications such as blindness or partial vision loss.
  • Inflammation/Infection: Persistent watering may be indicative of conjunctivitis or other infections that can cause significant discomfort and inflammation.
  • Corneal Damage: Excessive dryness or tear duct issues can cause damage to the cornea, worsening the condition.

Concerns specific to the Pekingese breed include:

  • Nasolacrimal Duct Issues: Blocked tear ducts can lead to chronic tear overflow and subsequent recurrent eye infections.
  • Trichiasis: Inward growing eyelashes irritate the cornea and conjunctiva, leading to watering, redness, and potential scarring.
  • Eyelid Anomalies: Conditions such as ectropion or entropion, where the eyelids turn abnormally, can cause excessive watering and may require surgical intervention.

Recovery and Ongoing Care

  • Immediate Attention: Early detection and treatment improve prognosis significantly.
  • Maintenance: Ongoing care involving cleaning the eyes to remove irritants and prevent accumulation of bacteria.
  • Veterinary Follow-Up: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian to monitor recovery and adjust treatment if necessary.

Responsible pet care involves recognizing the signs of eye distress, such as discharge or pawing at the eyes, and seeking veterinary guidance promptly. With careful attention to the Pekingese’s needs, eye health can be preserved, and the risk of serious complications reduced.