Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. September 26, 2016
Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes?

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As humans and dogs do not speak the same auditory language, we as owners need to be attentive to and mindful of any changes in our pet's physical or behavioral changes. Maintaining a good state of health for a dog means picking up on its signals and demeanor as well as keeping an eye on changes in its physical traits. By doing so, it is possible for us to discern the root cause of a dog's potential health problems and maybe even prevent harm from coming to our beloved friends. Treating the disease and providing the best advice for an individual dog is the responsibility of a veterinarian, but keeping alert will help an owner know when such an intervention is necessary.

Red eyes in a dog can be alarming and lead to distress for both owner and pet, so read on here at to find out Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes? and what you should do about it.

You may also be interested in: Why Is My Rabbit's Urine Red?

What is Eye Redness in Dogs?

When you notice that your dog has red eyes, you need to check if this redness is affecting the actual structure of the eyeball. It is possible that the redness is limited to the eyelids which can seem inflamed or even oozing pus. This could be due to many reasons, some of which depend on the breed of dog. Some breeds such as Pugs and Labradors are prone to congenital conditions like distichia (abnormal eyelash growth) which can cause irritation. Short muzzled dogs often have problems with eyelid redness which should not be of much concern.

If you see redness in the eye itself, it might be due to an aberrant irritation such as contact with a chemical substance, burst blood vessel or even an allergic reaction. If the eye is both red and swollen, it is also possible that there is an infection. One such condition when you see redness in the whites of the eye is episcleritis, a term indicating inflammation of the ocular structure.

This inflammation can present itself as a generalized swelling in the eyeball or as a small inflamed nodule in a very definite position. We must first clarify whether or not it is a benign condition with a good prognosis.

Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes? - What is Eye Redness in Dogs?

Symptoms of episcleritis in dogs

If your dog is suffering from an inflammation of the episclera you will be able to see the following symptoms:

  • A nodule in the eye or a generalized swelling
  • Altered coloration of the white of the eyeball which can range from a pink colour to a brownish tone
  • Irritated and reddened eyes
  • The dog may keep the affected eye closed
  • Signs of discomfort and pain when inflammation is very widespread
Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes? - Symptoms of episcleritis in dogs

How do you treat eye redness in dogs?

Epiescleritis can have several causes and and sometimes this inflammation corresponds to several diseases, some of which are relatively easy to manage and treat such as conjunctivitis. Others, however, have more a complex prognosis, such as glaucoma. A veterinary assessment will be very important in order to determine the underlying cause and to prescribe appropriate treatment.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the symptoms do not usually indicate a severe illness and commonly the prognosis is good, but immediate veterinary care is required because other complications could arise if the inflammation is left untreated.

Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes? - How do you treat eye redness in dogs?

The veterinarian will prescribe eye drops and eye ointments. These may include various active ingredients, which usually include anti-inflammatories and painkillers. However, if the inflammation is very serious a drug containing cortisone, one of the most potent anti-inflammatories, can be used although it can also have significant adverse effects.

The treatment can be administered from home which the owner must agree to carry out completely and adequately, consistently monitoring the status of their pet. They must also go to the vet immediately if any kind of aggravation or new symptoms occur.

If you want to read further information about medication for your dog, read these articles on Can I Give Antibiotics to My Dog and Can I Give Anti-Inflammatory Drugs to My Dog.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Dog Have Red Eyes?, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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