Why Are My Dog Eyes Red? Common Causes of Red Eyes and Veterinary Treatment

There are a few reasons why your dog’s eyes may appear red. One reason could be that your dog has allergies and the allergens have made their way into its eyes. Another possibility is that your dog has an eye infection, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. If your dog’s eyes are red and accompanied by other symptoms, such as discharge, squinting, or pawing at the eyes, it’s best to take him or her to the vet for an evaluation.

Do Some Dogs Have More Eye Issues Than Others?

Red eyes are common in a few breeds of dogs. It occurs when the lid droops so much that the eyelashes rub against the eyeball causing irritation. While this is not a concern as long as there is no discharge and the dog doesn’t seem bothered, a veterinarian should still check it out because it could lead to an infection.

Poodles and Cocker Spaniels, which have dry eyes or blocked tear ducts, are more likely to get red eyes. It is not always necessary to treat your dog – but you should always take him to the vet.

Ingrown hairs in the skin folds around the eyes may lead to red eyes in short-nosed dog breeds like Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Maltese, and Pugs. Depending on the underlying cause, your veterinarian will determine how to treat it. The treatment of some eye conditions is self-healing, while the treatment of others requires surgery.

It is not unusual for dogs to develop red eyes, and many factors can contribute to this condition. The best thing you can do for your dog is to take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Vet Checking Red Eye Dog

Common causes of red eyes in dogs include:

  1. Foreign Object in Dog’s Eye
  2. Dry Eye Syndrome
  3. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) In Dogs
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Cherry Eye in Dogs 
  6. Environmental Irritants
  7. Corneal Ulceration and Red Eye

Foreign Object In Dog’s Eye

All of us have experienced irritation caused by a small object entering our eyes. The surface of the eye or under the eyelids may become red due to dust, grass, hair, or a flying insect. Usually only one eye is affected by a foreign body on the eye, but there are some exceptions. Your dog might have gotten dust in both eyes if it ran around in a dusty environment. You can try flushing the eye with 0.9% saline solution if you see anything on the eye. You might not feel comfortable giving the treatment to your dog, or your dog might resist the treatment. Visit your veterinarian as soon as possible in this case. You can expect your dog’s eye to return to normal within a few hours after the foreign object is washed out

Dry Eye Syndrome Can Cause Red Eyes In Dogs

Dogs suffering from dry eyes, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, lack the moist film of tears that normally covers their eyes. Your pup’s eye can become inflamed and dry out when the film is thinner. Immune-mediated diseases cause dogs’ tear glands to stop functioning properly, which is one of the most common causes of this condition. Dry eyes can also be caused by underlying conditions such as diabetes. 

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) & Watery Eyes In Dogs

Dogs usually suffer from conjunctivitis in one eye. A red eye occurs as a result of inflammation of the tissue coating the eye. In addition to squinting and blinking, swelling and redness are also symptoms, as well as mucus-laden or clear watery discharge. Bring your pup to the vet if he has pink eye. Veterinarians can examine the pup and determine what caused the problem. If a bacterial infection is present, your dog may need an antibiotic ointment or certain medications for inflammation. 

It is possible that your pup will need surgery in rare cases. Your veterinarian will need to remove a blockage in his tear duct if this is the cause of his issue.


In dogs, glaucoma is caused by an increase in eyeball pressure. It occurs when there is a problem with the healthy drainage of fluid from the eye. A number of dog breeds are susceptible to primary glaucoma because of inherited anatomical abnormalities. Glaucoma is common in many popular breeds. There are many causes of secondary glaucoma, including uveitis, intraocular bleeding, lens dislocation, tumours, and lens damage. You should see your vet for an eye exam for appropriate treatment.

Cherry Eye In Dogs 

Dog cherry eye is the result of a disorder of the gland that sits within the membrane of the third eyelid. Young dogs are more likely to suffer from cherry eye. It can appear as a red, fleshy mass behind the third eyelid due to a defect in the attachment of the tear gland. 

As a matter of fact, cherry eye is not painful by itself, but it can become irritated and dry when exposed to the air. It is usually treated with surgery in order to restore it to its correct position. Cherry eye can lead to conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers, which may cause chronic pain, discomfort and even loss of vision if left untreated

Protect Your Dog From Environmental Irritants

A dog’s eyes can become red and sore when exposed to smoke, chemicals, artificial fragrances, pesticides and herbicides. It is also possible for your dog to get sick if he swims in the sea or a chlorine pool.

Dogs can suffer from red eyes from smog, crop sprayer drift, and cigarette smoke when they’re out and about. Most of the time, this will be fairly mild. After moving away from the irritant, it should resolve quickly.

Corneal Ulcers / Ulceration And Red Eye

Another dog eye problem which can cause red eye is corneal ulceration. Over the front of the eye, there is a clear membrane called the cornea. Your dog can become infected with bacteria if she gets a foreign body in her eye or scratches the cornea. As the bacteria grow, they dissolve the cornea. The pain is excruciating. The dog may squint, discharge mucky and scratch its eyes.

 It’s time to take your dog to the vet! A dog’s cornea can be perforated in as little as 24 to 48 hours if an ulcer is caused by a really nasty bacteria. Our dogs’ sight can be saved by antibiotics, even though antibiotics should be avoided generally. 

Dog Allergies & Eye Problems In Dogs

Inflammation, itchiness, redness, face rubbing, and scratching may occur if your dog is allergic to pollens. Redness, swelling, and irritation can occur in the conjunctiva and white of the eye. There are several types of conjunctiva, including those on the inside of the eyelids, the third eyelid, etc.

All the hair around a dog’s eyes can be lost when it suffers from severe inhalation allergies.
In the event your dog has allergies, you should seek help from a holistic veterinarian.  Allergies can cause trauma to the eye and proper treatment is necessary as soon as you see inflammation of the eye.

Red Eye After Eating Chocolate?

It’s not uncommon for a dog’s eyes to turn red after eating chocolate. This is because chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in dogs. If your dog has eaten chocolate, it’s important to watch for signs of illness and contact your veterinarian right away.

Veterinary Diagnosis And Treatment

You veterinarian will check your dog’s eyes to determine which areas are red during an eye examination. A fluorescein green dye will be applied to the cornea if your veterinarian suspects corneal damage. You may need to have a Schirmer tear test performed by your veterinarian if dry eye is a concern. To determine if there is an underlying bacterial infection, your veterinarian might also take a small sample of watery fluid from your dog’s eyes. A vet might recommend dusting your home frequently or limiting your dog’s outdoor time if pollen is irritating his eyes.

It will be up to your veterinarian to determine what’s causing the redness in your eyes. Medications like cyclosporine, which stimulates tear production, or artificial tears may be prescribed by your veterinarian if your dog has dry eyes. Surgical anchoring of the third eyelid is performed if your dog has cherry eye. Dog antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications are also available as treatments.  

A typical eye medication is an eye ointment or eye drop. If your dog needs medications, ensure that you understand how to administer them properly before leaving your appointment. Ask your vet to demonstrate how to administer topical eye medications to your dog if you have never done so before. Eye drops or eye ointments may not be enjoyable for all dogs. Giving your dog medications may require patience and extra time.

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