Red Eyes in Dogs

If your dog’s eyes look red around the white parts of the eye, it may be immediately noticeable. If your dog’s eyes have become red, you may logically be wondering what is wrong, or concerned that your pup may be suffering. Though red eyes in dogs are hard to ignore, rest assured that it is not likely to threaten their ability to see.

Possible Cause of Red Eyes in Dogs

If only one eye is red, a foreign body may have gotten inside of it and it has become irritated. Another possibility is eye trauma. Your dog could have banged his eye while playing around or chasing.

If both eyes are red, it may be due to an allergic reaction, or pollen that has caused the redness. Swelling may also accompany red eyes, as could a bit of clear or pus discharge.

Another possible cause of your dog’s red eyes is known as dry eye syndrome. This autoimmune disease causes your dog’s tear glands to dry up. There are several breeds that are predisposed to getting dry eye syndrome, which include the following:

  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • West Highland White Terrier

Environmental irritants are another possibility that can cause a dog’s eyes to become irritated and red. Things like smoke, chemicals, and artificial fragrances are all problematic for your dog. If you take your dog swimming in a chlorine pool or in the ocean, this can also make your dog’s eyes red.

Also known as pink eye, your dog might have conjunctivitis. It is caused by either a bacterial or a viral infection.

What to Do About Your Dog’s Red Eyes

You should take your dog to see the vet, but know that it isn’t likely an emergency situation. In the meantime, help make your dog more comfortable by using a warm washcloth to gently compress the eye and remove any debris or discharge. Next, flush their eyes with an eye wash. No human medications for allergic eyes should be used on your dog’s eyes, without permission from your veterinarian. Try to stop your dog from rubbing his face on the rug and furniture.

If your dog is squinting and appears to be in pain, take him or her to the vet sooner than later. It could even mean that the dog has experienced head trauma which can cause bleeding of blood vessels in the whites of the eyes. There are also two other conditions which can cause painful red eyes, glaucoma, and uveitis. Having these both ruled out by a vet may give you the peace of mind you are looking for.  


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