"Why are my dog's eyes red?"

Have you noticed that your dog's eyes are getting red? It could be a simple irritation or a symptom of an underlying health issue. Find out more about the most common causes, how to take care of your pooch's eyes and when you should go to the vet. 

Your dog's eyes

Just like yours, your dog's eyes can suffer from allergies, irritation or disease. 

Although dogs' eyes are very similar to human eyes, they do have a third eyelid called nictitating membrane which protects their eyeballs from scratches. 

Some breeds are more likely to experience eye issues, such as flat-faced breeds (bulldogs, pugs) or breeds with long hair around the face like poodles.

As they get older, dogs have a higher risk of developing eye diseases. 

Red eyes: the most common causes

Irritation

Dirt, dust, grass, hair or even cleaning sprays can get in your dog's eyes, causing irritation and redness. Tears and itchiness are other signs of eye irritation.

Try to wipe your dog's eyes with lukewarm water and wait a couple hours to see if the redness goes away.

Allergy

Seasonal allergies or allergic reactions to food, dust or household products can cause red eyes. Tears, itchiness, sneezing and inflamed skin are other symptoms that could confirm that your dog is having an allergic reaction. 

We highly recommend consulting your vet to determine the cause of the allergy and the most appropriate treatment. 

Conjunctivitis

Dogs can get a pink eye too! It can be infectious and caused by a virus or non-infectious and a result of allergies or irritation.

If your dog's eyes look puffy, if there's any discharge, if the eyelids are stuck together or the eyelid lining is swollen then a pink eye is the most probable theory. 

Take your pooch to the vets so they can confirm the type of conjunctivitis and prescribe the best treatment.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition caused by fluid buildup that can damage the optic nerve by creating swelling and pressure. Untreated, glaucoma can make your dog become blind. 

If your dog seems in pain, has dilated pupils, poor vision and/or swollen eyes, take them to the vet as soon as possible. When it comes to treating glaucoma, and saving your dog's vision, the earlier the better. 

Other conditions

Red eyes can also be a sign of diabetes, hyperthyroidism or certain types of cancer. If the redness doesn't go away, it's always best to have your dog's eyes checked out.

How to avoid red eyes