Dog’s Eyes Are Red: Why Are My Dogs Eyes Red? Symptoms and Remedies

Your dog’s eyes are important. She needs them, after all, to look at you lovingly and the treat you hold in your hand. But the eyes of your dog may be very sensitive. It is vulnerable to allergies, irritation, injury, or disease as well. You’ve noticed recently that your dog is pawing or rubbing her eyes a lot? Do one or both eyes look red? Is the surrounding area swollen? Does she look like she’s crying her eyes out all the time?

Her red eye condition could be because of many factors. Here are the causes, symptoms, treatment, and home remedies to help alleviate the condition of your dog. We’re also going to have some tips to prevent your dog from getting red eyes.

Difference between human and dog eyes

1. Your dog has a third eyelid like the nictitating membrane of snakes. It’s inside the corner of the eye. It extends up to protect the eye from trauma.

2. Your dog also has more rods in each cornea. This enables her for better track movement and light than human beings do. To see a flying Frisbee better. But there are not many colors your dog can see.

Why are my dogs eyes red

Many factors could turn your dog’s eyes red. Here are some of them:

1. Age: Your dog might be old. With age comes health problems that might affect her eyes.

2. Allergies: Your dog might be allergic to something in her environment or her food.

Bacteria or virus: Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis may have been contracted by your dog. Conjunctivitis is also called Pink Eye. Bacteria, viruses or irritants in the internal portion of the eyelids attack the pink tissues. The result of inflammation or infection is a red eye.

Bacterial conjunctivitis usually happens when your dog already has inflamed eyes from dry eye or viral conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis is common among pets with canine distemper. It may also be caused by systemic diseases (a disease that affects the entire body).

Breed: Your dog may be from a long-hair or brachycephalic (flat breed). Because they have bulging eyes, flat-faced dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus are more vulnerable to eye problems. Many of them are also more susceptible to dry eye disease (see below).

Meanwhile, Sheepdogs, Maltese, and Poodles are vulnerable to having their hair poking their eyes. Individual hair could also fall into the eye.

3. Dry Eye: The eye(s) of your dog may not produce enough tear films to lubricate them. This may be due to adenitis, which may damage the tear films ‘ lacrimal glands. The corneas of your dog (the film covering the eyeball) will become dry without tears. Possibly the eyelids swell. Yellow discharge from the infected eye may emerge. This also makes it easy for the cornea to get irritated with debris such as dust or dirt.

This condition is also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). It can be a symptom of an underlying illness. It’s also very painful if left untreated.

5. Eye disease: Your dog might have an eye disease like:

  • corneal disease;
  • episcleritis (a small mass, nodule, or growth that is smooth, pink or tan, and might look like a pimple);  
  • glaucoma (increased pressure in or on your dog’s eyeball due to improper drainage, which may result in a gradual loss of vision) may be accompanied by corneal disease;
  • hyperemia (excessive blood in the eyelids);
  • ocular vasculature (excessive blood in the blood vessels of the eyes); or,
  • uveitis (inflamed iris, choroid, or ciliary, parts of your dog’s eye which have sensitive blood vessels). 

6. Genetic disorder: The third eyelid of your dog may have developed a genetic disorder that weakens the third eyelid’s ligaments. The third eyelid pops up or prolapses when this happens. In the inner corner of the eye, it looks like a small, bright red bulge. This is why the condition is also called Cherry Eye. The eye may be vulnerable to inflammation or infection if the gland pops out.

Another genetic condition could be distichiasis. This is the abnormal growth of an eyelash. Instead of growing outward, the eyelash grows inward, constantly rubbing against the eyeball.

The third type of genetic disorder is an abnormal formation of the tear ducts. Usually, tears are drained. But if the tear duct is not properly formed, there may be a buildup of fluid. This disorder may result in primary glaucoma. This type of condition could begin in one eye and advance to the other. That’s why medical surgery is needed for such a condition.

7. Hemorrhage: Your dog could be suffering from a ruptured blood vessel. The blood floods into the rest of the eye.

8. Injury or trauma: On or near her eye, your dog might have had an accident. For example, her eye is poked by a grass stalk. But the trauma doesn’t need to be on the eye directly. Even if the eye is not harmed, it may still hurt the surrounding area.

For example, she could bump against a chair and hurt her eyebrow. This will lead to an inflamed eye area.

9. Irritants: Your dog’s eyelashes are very short. So, smoke, dust, dirt, and other sources of irritation could easily enter her eyes.

10. Skin disease: Your dog might have a skin condition near her eyes. She might have mites or cancerous growth.

11. Systemic diseases: Your dog may have an underlying disease such as hyperthyroidism, leptospirosis, or cancer (lymphoma, a type of cancer, may cause the eye to turn red).

My dogs eye is red symptoms

Redness is a red eye’s primary symptom. The redness in one area of the white eye (episclera) could begin. But it might spread to other parts of the eye. The following could be other symptoms.

  • The eye could be watering too much.
  • Excessive eye discharge. The mucus could be clear, white, grey, green, yellow, or red.
  • Cloudy, hazy, or bluish cornea (dog equivalent of a cataract).
  • Scratches or scars on the cornea.
  • Itchy eyes that your dog paws or rub a lot.
  • Your dog squints or blinks her eyes a lot.
  • A foreign object like an eyelash could be stuck on the eye.

If you see any of the symptoms in your dog, bring it to the vet. Any discoloration in the eyes is always a source of concern. It might be a sign of being infected or inflammation.

Medical treatments

1. Watch your dog. Do not attempt to diagnose the condition yourself or treat it. Anything that affects the eyes of your pet needs medical attention.

2. Take your dog to the vet without delay. Any delay might lead to worse conditions like the loss of eyesight for your dog. The sooner she is checked, the better.

3. Share with your observations like when you first noticed the redness or swelling.

4. Your vet will do the right tests and prescribe the right treatment. Do not be afraid if your veterinarian is doing more than an ophthalmological examination. Your veterinarian may ask for blood, urinalysis, X-ray, ultrasound, and other tests. You might think the eye has nothing to do with these tests. But your veterinarian just wants to make sure your dog doesn’t have an underlying systemic disease or bacterial infection.

For example, if the cornea is damaged, the fluorescent dye will be used by your vet. The vet will put a few drops of the color in the red eye of your dog. Don’t worry, the coloring is harmless. Under a special light, this procedure will make any abnormalities such as scratches visible.

If the problem is dry eye, your vet will perform the Schirmer tear test to find out how much tear films your dog’s eye produces.

If there is an episcleritis, your vet might perform a biopsy to rule out your dog has cancerous growth.

5. The treatment will be based on redness cause. It might be cyclosporine for dry eye. It stimulates the production of tears or artificial tears. Your vet will need surgery to put the third eyelid back in place for a cherry eye.

6. Apply the medication your vet will prescribe. It could be topical anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, or eye drops.

Make sure that you ask your vet how to administer the medication properly before you leave the clinic. Make sure your vet show you how to do it. You wouldn’t want to poke the eye of your dog as you try to treat it.

If your dog doesn’t like being touched or handled, you might also want to get some tips from your vet.  She might be extra skittish when you try to administer her medication.

7. Your vet will likely schedule follow-up appointments to make sure that your dog’s condition is improving.

Home treatments

After your visit to the vet, you can take some measures to make your dog comfortable while she heals at home.

  • Avoid scratching or pawing your dog’s eyes. Put an Elizabethan collar around her neck if she keeps doing it. Or put her paws in socks so that the inflammation is not aggravated.
  • Put a cool compress on the sore eyes. If you think it’s too cold, make sure you wrap the compress in a cloth. The coolness will numb the inflammation and itchy soothed.
  • Always keep the eye area clean. Wipe the discharge with a piece of tissue dipped in warm water or use wipes safe for dogs.
  • Keep constant observation of your dog. Bring her back to the vet if she shows other symptoms such as fever, lack of appetite, or lethargy.
  • If the original eye symptoms worsen or if her surgery looks infected, bring her back to the vet also.

Home-care preventive measures

You may not be able to protect your dog completely from all possible irritation, disease, or injury sources. But you can do your best to reduce her chances of getting a red eye and protect the eyes of your dog.

  • Try to keep your home free from dust or dirt.
  • Limit her outdoor activities when it’s dusty or when you know that there will be a lot of pollen flying about.
  • Don’t allow your dog hang its head out of the window of your car. The air that rushes to her eyes carries dust, dirt, and other irritants. If your dog is the type that gets stressed in a closed car, why don’t you buy a doggle like the following?
  • Pecute Fashion Pet Goggles have a pair of polycarbonate lenses. The lenses provide UV protection. The eyes of your dog will be safe from wind, debris, or water. The frames are sturdy, which will withstand even the most energetic dog. 
  • JD Gems Cool Puppy Goggles have trendy designs. They block your dog’s eyes against the wind, debris, and water. They’re only a perfect fit for big dogs, though (about 12 kgs).
  • ILS X-Small Racing Flames Frame and Orange Lens Doggles have an orange tint to their 100% UV-protected lens. For dogs with big noses, the extra-wide frames are perfect. They are made of a flexible and elastic material that is not going to press too deeply on the head of your dog. For small dogs, this stylish brand is perfect.


You will probably be tuned to any change in your dog as a loving owner. The change may be much or small. But no change is too small when it comes to the eyes of your dog. Take care of her condition. You always want the eyes of her puppy-dog to be loving and not painful, right?

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