Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red

Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red

Author WDF Staff


One of the most important things dog owners need to do is keep their dogs healthy. To successfully do that, they should provide their dogs with proper nutrition, activity, grooming, and regular vet visits. One of the common problems dog owners notice is red eyes in their dogs. Naturally, that causes them to ask themselves, “Why are my dog’s eyes red?” Here are the most common reasons dog’s eyes turn red and what you can do about it.

1. Injury or a foreign object

One of the most common reasons your dog’s eyes can become red is if they got injured or a foreign object got stuck in their eye. Things like foxtails, grass, or dirt will cause a reaction, and your dog’s eye will start tearing and become red. Dogs explore the world around them by scent, so they love sticking their heads in different places. It is not uncommon that a stick pokes them in the eye, and the body’s reaction will turn the eye red.

What to do about it?

The first thing you should do is examine your dog’s eyes. If you notice swelling or your dog pawing at their eye (especially just one eye), chances are something is stuck there, or they were injured. If an injury happened, take your dog to your vet. If you notice grass or sand in your dog’s eye, use saline solution or eyewash to flush the dog’s eye. However, if you see something stuck in your dog’s eye, do not try to remove it yourself.

2. Allergies

Another common reason dog’s eyes become red is allergies. Like humans, dogs can be allergic to different things. One of those things is the environment. If your dog is allergic to pollen, chances are they will experience many similar symptoms we humans do. They will get a runny nose, red eyes, and itching. Luckily, allergies can be somewhat easy to deal with.

What to do about it?

When dealing with your dog’s allergies, the key thing to know is the actual cause of it. Pollen from the environment is just one possible cause. Your dog can be allergic to ingredients in dog food, cleaning solutions, perfumes, bugs, mites, or fleas. The best way to deal with allergy-caused red eyes is to eliminate the allergen causing issues to your dog.

You can also give your dog Claritin or Benadryl to deal with their allergies. However, you should change your dog’s food in case of food allergies and change the cleaning solution if your dog is allergic to it. Make sure you adjust to the cause of the allergy and talk to your vet about making an allergy test. That is the only way to be absolutely sure what your dog is allergic to.

3. Glaucoma

Just like humans, dogs can develop glaucoma in one or both eyes. This is a severe medical concern, and if it is not treated promptly, it can lead to blindness and loss of the eye. Glaucoma is a condition that is caused by rising pressure in the eye. It happens because the eye drainage doesn’t function properly. This is a painful issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.


What to do about it?

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent glaucoma from happening, nor can we treat it without the help of your vet. If you notice glaucoma symptoms in your dog (swelling, loss of vision, red eye, squinting, cloudiness), take them for an examination as soon as possible. Glaucoma can be treated with medication or with surgery if the meds don’t work. Your vet will determine the best option for your dog.

4. Pink eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a common eye problem in dogs, and it is one of the most common reasons a dog’s eyes become red and inflamed. There are two types of pink eye - infectious and non-infectious. This issue develops when the dog’s conjunctiva tissue becomes inflamed.

What to do about it?

Once again, the best thing to do is to take your dog for a vet exam. Your vet will determine the exact cause of pink eye, and based on that, they will determine the best way to treat it. If the issue is non-infectious, it is usually treated with an ointment. In most pink eye cases, the cause is bacterial, so your dog will be placed on an antibiotic course with or without the help of eye drops.

5. Uveitis

Uveitis is a condition that is not as common as other conditions on this list, but it can still be a reason your dog’s eyes are red. Uveitis is when the tissue in front of your dog’s eyes becomes inflamed. You can notice swelling, tearing, uneven pupils, or cloudy eyes.


What to do about it?

Take your dog for an eye exam and listen to your vet’s advice. They will most likely prescribe your dog a combination of eye ointments, eye drops, and oral medications that will help keep this issue under control. Uveitis may happen as a secondary problem. It can be caused by cancer, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes.

6. Dry eye

If your dog develops dry eyes, chances are their eyes will become red. This issue happens when the dog doesn’t produce enough tears that keep the eye adequately lubricated, so the eye becomes dry and red. You can spot a dry eye by thick mucus around the eye, excessive blinking, common eye infections, and cloudy eyes.

What to do about it?

Dealing with dry eyes in dogs is somewhat time-consuming. You have to use eyewash or drops to keep your dog’s eyes properly lubricated. In worst cases, your vet will prescribe your dog medicinal drops to help you deal with this issue.

In conclusion

Dogs can develop red eyes for different reasons. We mentioned the most common causes, but they are not the only reasons your dog’s eyes might be red. You should keep a close eye on your dog’s eye health and take them to the vet as soon as you notice something wrong with them.

World Dog Finder team

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