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Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red?

Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red?
Dog's Eyes Red

Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red?

Several factors can cause red eyes in dogs. Your dog’s eyes can become red due to the following reasons:

Corneal damage

Basically, any foreign body that can cause damage to the cornea can cause your dog’s eyes to become red. That can be a simple twig or a blade of grass that poked your dog’s eye and caused irritation.

Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)

Conjunctiva is a loose, moist connective tissue that covers the surface of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is a condition that occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, this causing eye redness.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye)

Dry eye occurs when there is not enough tear film in the eyes. The absence of tear film causes inflammation of the cornea. This condition causes red eyes in dogs, but it is also very painful.

Cherry eye

Unlike humans, dogs have the third eyelid. Normally, the third eyelid is hidden and we can’t see it. However, due to genetic disorders, ligaments that hold the third eyelid in place are weak in some dogs. Therefore, the eyelid pops out of its usual position and appears as a small red mass in the inner corner of the dog’s eye. This will, of course, cause irritation and red eyes in the affected dog.

Symptoms Of Red Eye In Dogs

Obviously, eye redness is the main symptom. However, there are several other symptoms you may notice: 

  • Excessive blinking
  • Squinting
  • Excessive eye-watering
  • Mucus discharge
  • Excessive eye rubbing
  • A foreign object stuck in the eye
  • Infection with yellow or green discharge
  • Corneal scars or scratches


Red eyes in dogs are not normal. While in most cases, red eyes are not an emergency, it’s still advisable that you take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will conduct detailed exams and determine the exact cause of redness and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Treatments differ based on the underlying cause of the issue. For example, if the cherry eye is causing the problem, the vet will surgically return the third eyelid into its place. On the other hand, if dry eye is causing your dog’s eyes to become red, the vet will prescribe cyclosporine and similar medications. 

These medications stimulate taêar productions. Also, the vet may use other forms of treatment such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.