Why Is My Dog’s Eye Red

Red eyes in your dog can occur for a number of causes, such as trauma, foreign objects in the eye, allergies, and a variety of eye diseases include glaucoma, conjunctivitis, and dry eye. If your dog has red eyes, you can treat certain problems at home, but there are some that require a trip to the vet.

In order to determine the exact reason of your dog’s eye problems, your veterinarian will do a thorough ophthalmologic examination and a number of various tests. Once you understand the cause of your dog’s red eyes, you may treat him accordingly.

Why is one of my dog’s eyes red?

Your dog’s eyes will turn red if they have an infection, irritation from a foreign object, dry eyes, or physical damage, much like your own eyes do. The reasons and remedies for red eyes in dogs are discussed by our board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and team in Greensboro.

How are my dog’s eyes different from mine?

Our dogs’ eyes function quite similarly to ours. They are dynamic, self-adjusting organs that are working to get the information your dog perceives to their brain. Their third eyelid, known as the nictitating membrane, is situated in the corner of their eye and sets their eyes apart from ours.

There are a wide variety of things that might irritate and create redness, from external irritants to excessive dryness and disease, as you have undoubtedly seen with your own eyes. Some dog breeds are more prone to getting red, inflamed eyes and other related health problems.

Red eyes can be more common in flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus as well as breeds with long hair around their eyes like Sheepdogs, Maltese, and Poodles. Particularly if they have pre-existing diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, older dogs frequently acquire eye problems that cause their eyes to grow redder more frequently.

What is causing my dog’s red eyes?

Redness that is noticeable in your dog’s eyes typically denotes irritation and inflammation, which can be caused by a variety of different eye health conditions. The following are a few of the most typical medical issues that could be the cause of your dog’s red eyes.


  • Your dog can have red, watery eyes and discomfort from any number of allergens, much like you could experience stuffy nose and watery eyes during allergy season. These could relate to your dog’s food or be seasonal issues with pollen or anything similar. Bring your dog in for allergy testing if you find that they have red eyes, are scratchy or sneeze more frequently than usual without seasonal patterns.

Eye Injury or Trauma

  • This reason for red, itchy eyes can be quite serious or fairly simple. It’s possible that your dog has a hair or piece of grass lodged in their eye, irritating the surface tissues and resulting in redness and inflammation. Additionally, your pup can be hiding a scratch, cut, or other more serious abrasion. Bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you can if you suspect that one or both of their eyes have grown red due to a major physical injury.


  • This irritating eye irritation, sometimes known as “pink eye,” affects both people and pets on a regular basis. It often only affects one eye at a time and affects the tissues protecting your dog’s eyes. Viruses, bacteria, or environmental irritants may be at blame for this infection. Bring your pet to the veterinarian for assistance on how to treat their itchy eyes because you probably don’t know the reason of their pink eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Dry eyes in dogs, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, are brought on by a lack of the moist tear coating that normally covers healthy eyes. When this coating is thinner, it permits the inflammation and drying of your dog’s eye. Immune-mediated illness in dogs that impairs tear production is one of the most frequent causes of this disorder. Your dog’s ability to develop dry eyes may also be affected by other underlying illnesses, such as diabetes.

What Are Treatments For Red Eyes in Dogs?

Never start a home remedy for your dog’s red eyes without first consulting your veterinarian. Red eyes are a sign of a wide range of eye-related health problems; a short and simple veterinary examination will assist identify the underlying issue causing your pup’s discomfort and the best course of action. Without a thorough diagnosis, any treatments you try to give your dog may make their symptoms worse.

Having said that, eye drops or ointments with medical, antibacterial, or anti-inflammatory properties are among frequent therapies for illnesses that cause red eyes. Your veterinarian will make sure to educate you through the ideal manner to administer these drugs so that they promptly relieve your dog’s swollen, irritated eyes. In more severe situations, surgery can be necessary, especially for more complicated conditions like cherry eye.

Please take note that the information in this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice for animals. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a precise diagnosis of your pet’s illness.

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Having red eyes in my dog should I be concerned?

There are several different reasons of bloodshot eyes, some of which are relatively minor and others of which are far more serious and necessitate emergency veterinarian care. The invasion of blood vessels to either a tiny, inflamed area of the eye or a more widespread problem is what causes the red colouring of your dog’s eye(s). It’s crucial to keep an eye out for your pet developing any redness on the whites of his or her eyes or even inside the actual eyes.

Red eyes in dogs are most frequently brought on by:

* Environmental allergens and irritants: Just as with humans, your dog’s eyes can become irritated by environmental factors like dust, grime, and cigarette smoke. Trees, grasses, flowers, insects, and other environmental factors could cause your dog to develop allergies. Similar to how they do in people, these allergens or irritants cause the mucous membranes around the eyes to become irritated, red, and occasionally runny. Although it can happen at any time of year, this is frequently observed in the spring and summer.

Trauma: Sticks, dust, or other small items have a tendency to get stuck in your dog’s eye. Your dog’s eye will appear red because the foreign object causes inflammation and an inflow of blood vessels to the inflamed area.

* Corneal ulcers: The cornea, the transparent covering that covers the outside of the eye, is crucial for allowing light to enter the eye. The eye gets extremely uncomfortable and may eventually become infected when the cornea is damaged and a defect (erosion or ulcer) occurs. Dogs can get corneal ulcers for a variety of reasons, including trauma, problems with their eyelashes or eyelids, dry eyes, and secondary bacterial infections. Severe eye irritation is caused by a corneal ulceration. In response, the body sends blood vessels from the eye’s outer edges to the ulcerated area to aid in its healing. Since blood vessels deliver vital nutrients to the wounded area, they are crucial for healing. Every few days, blood vessels expand by 1-2 millimeters in length. Blood vessels pointing in the direction of an ulcer are a sign that the ulcer is actively trying to heal. Squinting, keeping the eye closed, discharge from the eye, redness of the eye, lethargy, decreased appetite, or decreased playfulness are symptoms that your dog may have a corneal ulcer. Have your dog inspected by a veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. It is advised to seek early veterinarian care since in severe cases where the ulcer gets deep and is ignored, the eye may rupture and cause pain and loss of vision.

* Glaucoma: This condition is characterized by a rise in intraocular pressure. Breeds that are frequently prone to getting glaucoma include basset hounds, shar peis, and cocker spaniels, especially females. The intraocular pressure can rise suddenly or gradually over a period of weeks, months, or even years. Acute glaucoma is excruciatingly unpleasant and necessitates prompt veterinarian care. Squinting, fatigue, decreased appetite, pain from reddened eye whites, and red mucous membranes around the eyes are symptoms to watch for. Reduced vision and a bluish tint of the cornea may also be seen. Glaucoma typically only affects one eye at first, but it can ultimately spread to the other. The damaged eye may grow bigger than the unaffected eye if glaucoma progresses slowly over time.

The central layers of the eyes are inflamed by uveitis. Uveitis in dogs is frequently brought on by trauma, a wide range of inflammatory problems, tick-borne illnesses, immune-mediated illnesses, cataracts, and eye malignancies. Blood vessels flood onto the eye as a result of the eye’s extreme inflammation. The anterior chamber of the eye may also get clogged with blood.

The lens, an oval structure located in the back of the iris (colored part of the eye), aids in focusing light rays on the retina at the back of the eye. * Lens luxation. The lens may shift from its original location into the front or the back of the eye due to trauma, glaucoma, uveitis, or genetic predispositions (especially in Jack Russell terriers). The lens can be seen moving inside the eye when it is luxated. This is a surgical emergency if the lens has moved forward onto the iris. It causes the eye to become extremely inflamed, painful, and injected (red). If you notice this, schedule an immediate appointment for your dog with a veterinarian.

* Dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis): Just like in humans, dogs can develop dry eye when there is a deficiency in the water component of the tear film, which serves to nourish and hydrate the outer region of the eye. The cornea dries up as a result of this shortage, increasing the risk of corneal ulcers. Red and in excruciating discomfort, a dry eye. Dogs can get dry eyes in any breed, but the majority of cases are inherited, especially in bulldogs, American cocker spaniels, schnauzers, and Lhasa apsos.

* Conjunctivitis: An infection of the mucous membranes lining the inner eyelids and the outer edges of the eye whites is known as conjunctivitis; (the conjunctiva). The redness and swelling of the conjunctiva are brought on by this inflammation. It’s possible to see ocular discharge as well. In dogs, conjunctivitis frequently develops as a result of an underlying systemic or eye condition, such as a bacterial, viral, parasitic, or tick-borne illness. Allergies and follicular conjunctivitis, which affects young dogs, are additional factors.

Have your dog checked by a veterinarian as soon as you notice that it has bloodshot eyes.

What causes my dog’s red eye?

A foreign object may be in your dog’s eye if he sustains an eye injury or you discover that his eyes have turned red. Any object in your dog’s eye can irritate it and make it red. The object could be small, like a grain of sand, or it could be something bigger, like a stick poking your dog in the eye.


  • Your dog is in pain, red, and swollen (especially if it is just in one eye)
  • Your dog is struggling to keep his eye open and is pawing at it.
  • a lot of tears


Check your dog’s eye to see if you can spot the contraband. To clean your dog’s eye, use saline solution or a dog eyewash. If your dog keeps pawing and scratching at his eye, you might need to put an Elizabethan collar on him. To ensure that everything is in order, it is essential to have your dog’s eyes examined by a veterinarian.


Not All Eye Problems In Dogs Are Infections

Your dog may occasionally exhibit symptoms of an eye infection while actually suffering from another kind of eye issue.

Glaucoma, tear duct issues or eye deformities, dry eye, vitamin insufficiency, exposure to or ingestion of toxins, tumors, cherry eye, or structural issues with the eye itself, such as entropion, are some of the eye disorders in dogs that pet owners frequently mistake for illnesses.

Similar to infections, these eye conditions can be uncomfortable and necessitate prompt veterinary attention.

Symptoms of Eye Infections in Dogs

You might experience one or more of the following signs if your dog’s eye is infected. If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of an eye infection, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right once. Eye infections need to be treated and could get worse if they are not.

Following are symptoms of canine eye infections:

  • Having red eyes or the area around them
  • ocular swelling
  • weeping or watery discharge
  • icky, thick discharge
  • blinking and squinting
  • keeping the eye closed
  • responsiveness to light
  • pawing at the eye or stroking it

Dog Eye Infection Treatment

Depending on the underlying reason, your dog’s eye infection may need to be treated with a single topical treatment, a combination of topical and oral medications such antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, or even surgery in extreme situations.

  • Antibiotics and eye drops are frequently administered if it is determined that your dog’s eye illness is caused by a bacterial infection.
  • The veterinarian will probably recommend an antihistamine to assist calm your dog’s eyes when allergies are thought to be the cause of their eye infections.
  • While your dog is sedated or under local anesthetic, your veterinarian might need to remove any foreign bodies or debris that is irritating the eye.
  • Surgery is frequently necessary for blocked tear ducts, then eye medications and antibiotics are used.
  • To encourage the formation of tears in dogs with dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), drugs like cyclosporine or tacrolimus may be administered.
  • Surgery is typically used to repair eyelid or eyelash defects that cause the lashes to push against the eyeball.

My dog has an eye infection, what should I do?

The truth is that you should take your dog to the vet right away if they exhibit any signs of eye sensitivity, inflammation, or pain.

Your dog’s eyes will feel better when your veterinarian does a complete eye exam to identify the source of the symptoms and provide the best possible care. Eye infections that go untreated can get really bad and even cause vision loss.