Red Eye In Dogs: Causes and Treatment

by | Apr 9, 2022 | Dog Health

Red Eye In Dogs: Causes and Treatment
Red Eye In Dogs: Causes and Treatment

What is causing your dog’s eyes to become red? It could be as basic and easy to fix as allergies or much more severe, such as cases of Glaucoma. Various factors can cause your dog’s eyes to become red, and even claims of diseases in other parts of the body could cause an inflammation of the eye. The best method to determine an answer is to consult your veterinarian, especially if you observe irritation persists for longer than 24 hours.

A veterinarian will have the diagnostic tools needed to identify what’s happening to your dog’s eyes. Note down, and inform your veterinarian if you detect any watery or discharged eyes accompanied by inflammation.

The Signs from Red Eye in Dogs

Redness is often an indicator of other problems; however, it is possible to notice the following symptoms:

  • Ribeye or paw on the floor
  • Squinting in light
  • Keeping eye closed
  • Cloudy eye surface
  • Watery, Teary eyes
  • A red mass that appears the under an eyelid
  • A red spot appears on the eye’s white
  • Puffiness or swelling on the eyelids
  • Green or white release from the inner corner of the eye

The causes of red Eyes on Dogs

The eyes of dogs may turn red due to many reasons. The most common causes are:

1. Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca):

 Dry eye occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tear film. If there aren’t enough tears, the cornea will not be moist or free of particles or bacteria; the cornea can become dry and damaged. A variety of factors can cause dry eyes. The most prevalent is adenitis caused by the immune system, which causes tissue damage responsible for forming the tear’s watery film. The inflammation can be quite painful and cause the eyes to look red.

2. The pink eye (Conjunctivitis) 

The term “pink eye” occurs when the conjunctiva – the pink, moist tissue that runs along the inside of the eyelids and the front of the eyes — becomes inflamed. The inflammation can cause redness. Dust and pollen may cause pink eye.

3. Cherry eye Eyes of dogs have a third eyelid that is usually concealed.

 Certain breeds have an inherited disorder that weakens the ligaments which hold this eyelid down and can cause the eyelid to open and appear like a cherry on the part of your eye.

4. Damage to the cornea Anything that could damage corneas in dogs could cause redness of the eye. 

For instance, if your dog is running in the tall grass, a stalk of grass could poke your dog’s eye and cause irritation and damage.

  1. Allergic reactions Eye irritation is caused by dust, pollen, weeds, and fiber.
  2. Conjunctivitis Conjunctiva is inflamed (the thin, transparent layer of tissue covering the outer part of your eye) caused by irritations such as allergies, inflammation or.
  3. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is Also called a dry-eye syndrome. The redness is caused by insufficient tear production.
  4. Entropion, the eyelid opens inwards, causing the eyelashes to be pressed against the eye’s surface.
  5. Hyphema A trauma in the eye can cause blood vessels to accumulate in the front portion of the eye.
  6. External body. Small or material particles trapped inside the eyelids or on the eye’s surface can irritate your vision.
  7. Corneal ulcer: A large wound on the outer layer of the cornea. Usually caused by an infection. Glaucoma is a condition that causes increased pressure inside the eye.
  8. Uveitis. Inflammation in the ciliary or iris due to injury, disease, or even cancer.
  9. Blepharitis. Inflammation of the eyelid due to allergies, irritation, or infection.
  10. Tumor Malignant or benign tumor growing behind or inside the eye.

What Can You Do About Problems with Eye Problems on Dogs

Eye issues in dogs aren’t always a cause for concern, but they need immediate attention. If your dog’s eyes appear red, consult your vet and try to make an appointment that next day. When you set the appointment, provide an account regarding the redness. These include the date that the redness began and any other symptoms you notice.

Do not attempt to diagnose and treat the redness of your eyes yourself. Your veterinarian has the experience and equipment to look at your dog’s eye and determine the reason for the eye redness.

Do not put off getting your dog to the vet. Eye issues could become more severe and painful if not treated immediately. A veterinarian, the better can examine your dog earlier.

Diagnose Red Eye in Dogs

If you notice irritation or redness around one or both of your eyes, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out exactly what’s causing it. Most commonly, the causes are conjunctivitis, allergies, and irritants; however, it could be more severe (see the previous paragraph.) Your vet should determine when the redness first started, how it has grown, and if your pet has shown any symptoms of irritation or pain.

Ophthalmologic Exam

Your doctor will likely perform an entire eye examination and look at the eye’s parts such as the cornea, conjunctiva tear ducts, retina, and eyelids. The doctor can perform one of the following tests to establish the diagnosis:

Schirmer Tear Test

A test of the Schirmer tear can examine your pet’s tear production. It assists in ruling out KCS and dry-eye symptoms. The test involves placing a tiny test strip of test paper between the eyelids and the eye. The test strip irritates, leading to tears. The tears get absorbed into the strips of writing, and the measurement scale is used to measure the number of tears produced.


This test is typically utilized to detect Glaucoma, a condition linked with high pressure on the eye. The eye’s surface can be numbed before this test. However, it isn’t required. Tonometers are pens that use small, plastic balls which bounce rapidly across the eye’s surface and record the pressure. Can take Multiple measurements to calculate an average.

Fluorescein Dye

The dye is sprayed on the surface of the eye. When infrared light beams into the eye, damaged areas on the cornea’s surface are illuminated (fluoresce), and the dye could indicate corneal ulcers or scratches.

Blood Diagnostics

A variety of underlying problems can cause the appearance of red eyes. Blood tests can assess the function of the kidney, liver and hormone production, electrolyte imbalances, and hydration.

Treatment for Red Eye in Dogs

After your veterinarian has identified the cause of the redness in your dog’s eyes and the reason, they’ll be able to treat it according to the cause.

Topical Medications: These could consist of drops or ointments that could be required to be administered at least three times per every day until symptoms disappear. They could include antibiotics or steroids, pain relief medications, dilators, and artificial tears.

Oral Medications: Should a vet determine the dog’s symptoms are due to an injury or an infection, they may be prescribed oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. They could prescribe oral medications to treat an underlying illness.

Surgery: Certain conditions like cherry eye require surgery to “manually restore” the eye gland. A second surgery could be scheduled to fix the problem if it occurs again after surgery. In some instances, the redness could be intractable and necessitate removal surgically of the eye. It’s not as complicated as it appears, and most dogs can live happily with just some depth perception.

Recuperation from Red Eye in Dogs

Your veterinarian might suggest wearing cones and asking for regular eye exams to assess how your dog responds to treatment. However, with the proper application of any medication prescribed, your dog will be able to recover quickly.


The way you handle your dog’s eyes after the initial treatment will depend on the irritating reason. For example, suppose you have dry eyes. In that case, it is necessary to regularly administer the topical eye medicine, cleanse your dog’s eyes using an eyewash prescribed by your veterinarian, and bring your dog for follow-up visits every six to twelve months.

Suppose pollen and dust are irritating your dog’s eyes. Your veterinarian may suggest that you clean your home regularly or restrict your dog’s time outdoors when excessive pollen counts. Cherry eye can recur following surgery. Therefore, you should look for whether your dog’s third eyelid appears again.

Your doctor will assist you in deciding which strategy for managing is most effective to avoid any future eye redness.

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