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Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red?

Dogs’ eyes are extremely sensitive to the environment. They can easily be susceptible to allergies, irritation or injury. Here are some of the reasons your pup’s eyes get red from time to time.


Writer Animalia Team

Dog with red eyes

Have you ever looked at your dog, expecting to see their sweet loving look, but instead you get tired, blood-shot eyes? Well, that’s not because your dog’s been enjoying a puff with his pup-buddies, but might be a sign of a serious health issue. 

Dogs’ eyes are extremely sensitive. They can easily be susceptible to allergies, irritation, or injury. Here are some of the reasons your pup’s eyes get red from time to time.   

Vet inspect dog eye

How are dog’s eyes different from humans?

As a matter of fact, your dog’s eyes are very similar to your own. It’s an active, exposed organ used for focusing and locating objects in the environment. The only difference is that dogs have a third eyelid. The ‘Nictitating Membrane’ is located on the inner corner of the eye and protects it from scratches. 

Dogs are mainly guided by their nose so they do not actually see with their eyes. It means they can shove their head in places not safe for the eyes such as dusty corners, thorny bushes, or even other dogs’ mouths, and cause injury or inconvenience to their eyes as a result. The third eyelid also functions as an inflammatory response, which will clear the eye from bacteria. 

Dog breeds with furry and wrinkly faces have more eye troubles than shortcut breeds

Dogs also have superpowers. It has been widely known that dogs see colors differently, but that’s because they can track light movement better than any human. They might not see all the colors of the rainbow, but they can out-track you at any given moment with their powerful sense of sight and scent. 

Some breeds suffer from eye issues more than others

Like human eyes, external factors can have devastating results on your dog’s eyesight, and some breeds have it worse than others: 

  • Shi-Tzus, Pekingese, Bulldogs, and Pugs have eye issues because of their wrinkled face
  • Breeds with flowing locks on their face also have eye problems: Poodles, Sheepdogs, and Maltese dogs
  • Older dogs are more prone to eyesight issues because of their age: problems with high blood pressure and diabetes can cause redness in the eyes. 

To sum it up, breeds with furry and wrinkly faces have more eye troubles than shortcut breeds. 

dog closing his eyes

Why are my dog’s eyes red? 

If you notice that your dog is walking around with bloodshot eyes, then it’s definitely time for a visit to the vet.

The swollen eyes and redness can be caused by various reasons, ranging from mild allergies to serious diseases. 

The following are the leading causes of redness in your puppy’s eyes:

  • Eye injury or trauma from a foreign object 
  • Allergies to food or environmental causes 
  • Conjunctivitis- commonly found in humans as well, also known as pinkeye. It’s an itchy inflammation so watch if your dog tries to rub their eyes with their paw.  
  • Glaucoma – a more serious issue that could lead to blindness if not treated immediately. It could be recognized by swelling and fluid build-up, giving your dog a ‘weepy face.’
  • Corneal ulcers – an erosion of the frontal membrane, commonly caused by severe trauma like excessive scratches. 
  • Uveitis- painful inflammation of the eyeball 
  • Dry eye syndrome- a serious red flag pointing you straight to a vet’s office.  

Another reason for redness in your bloodhound’s eyes is old age. As dogs mature, they become susceptible to diseases like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and cancer. 

Dogs have a third eyelid called the ‘Nictitating Membrane’ which is located on the inner corner of the eye and protects it from scratches

How to keep your dog’s eyes clean 

You can’t stop a dog from doing doggy things, but you can take some preventive measures to keep your pup’s eyeballs as safe as possible. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep your dog’s eyes neat and clean: 

  • If you have a longhaired breed, always keep those bushy bangs out of your dog’s eyes. They won’t mind them while running, but these hairs can cause serious inflammation. Tie those bangs in a stylish ponytail and perfect it with a bow. 
  • Regularly clean the inner corners and wrinkles around your dog’s eyes. Use a cotton ball or a wet wipe and wipe from inside the corner towards the outside. Exercise caution to avoid touching your pup’s eyes’.
  • Watch out if your dog repeatedly scratches or rubs his eyes. This is an alarming sign that signifies a visit to the vet. (Which reminds us, have you considered getting pet insurance yet?)
  • Don’t let your dog hang their head outside the window during car rides. Even though it looks fun and adventurous, the wind can hurt their eyes. 
  • Monthly visits and veterinary check-ups.


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