Cherry Eye in Dogs

Cherry Eye in Dogs

Author WDF Staff


Maybe there was a situation where you noticed a dog with a bright red and swollen looking eye. That is commonly referred to as Cherry Eye in dogs. Because dogs possess the third eyelid, this state occurs when the tear gland becomes inflamed in that third eyelid. This third eyelid works as additional protection for the eyes, especially during hunting, fighting, etc. Cherry eyes in dogs are usually not painful, but the eye can be itchy to the dog. If this disorder is left untreated, that can lead to many other complications including the dry eye syndrome.

Cherry Eye in dogs – symptoms

The most common symptoms are swelling, redness, dry eye, blepharospasm (excessive squinting). Although the eye will not look nice in most cases the dog will not feel any pain. This can occur in one or both eyes. Many dogs that develop a cherry eye in one eye will eventually develop it in the opposite eye.

TIP: If you notice that your dog is rubbing his face on the floor or that he's pawing at his eyes, that should be a sign that you should see a veterinarian.

This disorder is not preventable. This happens because of the weakness in the eyelid tissue that will in normal cases hold the gland in place.


It is mostly unknown what causes this state. This is a congenital disorder that passes on from generation to generation. Also, there are dog breeds that may be more prone to developing a cherry eye.

Dog breeds

Cherry eye can occur to any dog, at any age but there are some dog breeds that are more prone to developing the cherry eye. Usually, dogs with shorter muzzles have a high risk including a Beagle, Pug, Shar-pei, Shih Tzu, Bulldog, etc.

cherry eye in dogs

Cherry Eye in dogs - treatment

In case you notice that your dog has a cherry eye, make an appointment with your vet right away. The fast you react the better is for the dogs' long term eye health. The vet will in some cases recommend eye drops to reduce the swelling and he may also prescribe your dog with antibiotic eye medicine. If that doesn't help the next step is a surgery that will include replacing the gland in the proper position.

After surgery

Its important that you follow all the suggestions you vet will give you. Postoperative swelling in common and that should stop in about a week. It is not uncommon for the cherry eye to reappear and to avoid any complications make sure that you doing everything your vet instructed you.

Cherry eye in dogs is easily spotted and can be treated quickly if you take action right away. If you notice your dog pawing, scratching, or rubbing the eye take him to the vet because he could irritate the eye further. If you react quickly in most cases your dog will not need surgery and you will prevent other complications that can appear.

World Dog Finder team