Common Eye Problems in Dogs and How to Deal With Them

Eyes are precious organs and you should take any eye problems your dog may be experiencing seriously. Checking your pet’s eyes regularly is the best course of action for the prevention of issues further down the road.

Be mindful of any differences in the way your dog might be seeing things around them.

Failure to act could lead to a loss of vision. Read on to find out more about eye problems in dogs due to injuries, eyelid issues or even illnesses like diabetes.

Common Symptoms Connected to Eye Problems

There are symptoms that you can watch out for that might mean your dog is experiencing an eye problem. These include:

  • Continual weeping or a sticky discharge
  • Unusual redness or swelling 
  • Constant blinking or keeping one or both eyes shut along with discomfort
  • Blood appearing in the eye(s) 
  • A bulging of one or both eyes
  • Changes in the size or shape of the pupils
  • A loss of vision

It’s often easy to treat the causes of some of these symptoms. For example, a little redness could be due to an allergy or dryness. Some breeds of dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekingese are more prone to weepy eyes. 

If your dog is suffering a pain and blinking more frequently, they may have something such as a grass seed or other foreign material stuck in their eye.

Common Eye Conditions in Dogs

Here is a list of 6 of the most typical eye conditions and how to treat them.

1. Dry Eye

This is a condition that prevents the eye from producing sufficient tears. It can be painful and typically affects both eyes causing them to become dry and inflamed. Classically you see a lot of dry, thick, mucus combined with the front of the eye blackening. It happens when the immune system attacks the tear glands (it is unknown what triggers this).

Although there’s no cure, it’s possible to manage “Dry eye” with eye drops and care at home – however always see a vet first as in some cases the condition can be much more serious and certainly require more aggressive medical treatment.

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2. Eyelash Issues

When eyelashes grow in the wrong place, they can rub the front of the eye. That can cause pain, irritation and damage to the eye. When untreated, abnormal eyelash growth could lead to corneal ulcers, scarring or loss of vision. 

Symptoms include pain, weeping and redness. Your vet can treat an eyelash condition in several ways. They can cut away the lash and its root through surgery, by freezing or using electrolysis.

3. Eye Ulcers

These are wounds on the front of the eye. They can be very painful, often appear suddenly and worsen quickly. With the right treatment from your vet, ulcers will likely heal within a few days. 

Never leave an ulcer without veterinary care otherwise the result could be the loss of an eye. Outward or inward-turning eyelids can also lead to inflammation, pain and infections.

4. Cataracts

These happen when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. They reduce vision and can often lead to blindness. Although cataracts aren’t reversible, dogs tend to cope with them well. Some specialist eye clinics offer cataract removal operations. 

Most dogs with diabetes will get cataracts within 6 months of the time they received a diagnosis of the disease.

5. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye” happens when the gland inside the third eyelid pops out. It resembles a small, red cherry in the corner of the eye. It’s an uncomfortable condition that can lead to other problems. These include conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers.

Although “Cherry eye” can affect any breed of dog, it is common in some pedigrees like French Bulldogs, Pugs, Great Danes, and Beagles. Most will need surgery to put the gland back in place.

6. Conjunctivitis

Bacteria and viruses can both cause this kind of eye infection. The infection can also affect one or both eyes. Common signs include:

  • Pink or red eye(s)
  • Swollen or closed eye(s) and blinking more than usual
  • Rubbing the face or eyes and loss of appetite

Typical causes can be irritants such as sand, dust or acid. Your dog might also have an allergy such as hay fever or atopic dermatitis. “Dry eye” often lies behind cases of conjunctivitis.

Some viruses could also be the cause. That’s why it’s very important to ensure that your dog is up to date with all their vaccinations. Other explanations could be an eye ulcer, eyelash or eyelid disorder or something that’s stuck in the eye. 

Treatment is going to depend on why the infection has happened. If you’re in any doubt, talk to your vet. They will establish the likely cause and most appropriate course of treatment. They will also be across other potential issues such as:

  • Increased pressure inside the eye or Glaucoma  
  • Ongoing inflammation due to a fault in the immune system, known as Pannus
  • Inflammation of the iris and structures around it, known as Uveitis

Talk to a Vet as Quickly as Possible

Because eye problems tend to worsen fast, you must discuss any concerns with your vet as soon as you can. 

Do you still have any questions about your pet? Then schedule a video consultation with one of our qualified vets! We’re also able to offer straightforward, hassle-free, pet insurance for your dog and other pets.

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