As a dog owner, you may have noticed that your furry friend’s eyes sometimes appear red or bloodshot.
And you might ask yourself, “Why are my dog’s eyes red?”.
While it’s normal for a dog’s eyes to appear slightly red after a long day of play or when they are tired, persistent redness can be a sign of an underlying issue.
Red eyes in dogs can be caused by various factors, ranging from allergies to more serious conditions such as glaucoma or infections.
Understanding the possible causes of red eyes in dogs and the symptoms to look out for can help you identify and treat any underlying issues before they worsen.
In this article, we’ll explore the different reasons why your dog’s eyes may be red and what you can do to help them feel better.
Red Eyes In Dogs – The Reasons
Dogs, like humans, can get tired from time to time.
If your dog has been very active or has not had enough rest, they may develop bloodshot eyes.
This is because when dogs are tired, their eyes can become dry and irritated.
In addition, exhaustion can cause blood vessels in the eyes to dilate, leading to redness.
If you notice that your dog’s eyes are bloodshot and they have been more active than usual, they may simply need some rest.
Try to give your dog a break and see if the redness clears up on its own.
If the redness persists, it may be a sign of a more serious issue.
Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies to a variety of things, including pollen, dust, and certain types of food.
If your dog is exposed to an allergen that they are sensitive to, it can cause their eyes to become red and inflamed.
In addition to bloodshot eyes, other symptoms of allergies in dogs may include sneezing, itching, and a runny nose.
If you suspect that your dog has allergies, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.
Your vet can help you identify the allergen and recommend appropriate treatment, such as antihistamines or allergy shots.
Foreign Object Or Injury
Another common cause of bloodshot eyes in dogs is a foreign object or injury to the eye.
Dogs can be very curious and may get into things that they shouldn’t.
If your dog has a foreign object, such as a piece of dirt or a small piece of debris, in their eye, it can cause irritation and redness.
Additionally, if your dog gets scratched or poked in the eye, it can cause blood vessels in the eye to rupture and lead to redness.
If you suspect that your dog has a foreign object in their eye or has suffered an injury, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately.
Eye injuries can be very serious and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Dogs with flat faces, also known as brachycephalic breeds, are prone to developing bloodshot eyes.
The shortened nasal passages and flat face structure of these breeds can cause their eyes to bulge, leading to irritation and dryness.
As a result, blood vessels in the eyes can become dilated, leading to redness.
Additionally, the eyelids of these breeds may not close properly, leading to insufficient lubrication of the eyes.
This can also cause dryness and irritation, leading to bloodshot eyes.
If you own a flat-faced breed and notice that your dog’s eyes are often bloodshot, it’s important to keep their eyes lubricated with artificial tears and consult with your vet for additional recommendations.
Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition that can cause bloodshot eyes in dogs.
This condition occurs when the tear ducts do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated.
Without sufficient moisture, the eyes can become dry and irritated, leading to redness.
Dry eye can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, certain medications, and autoimmune disorders.
Treatment for dry eye may include prescription eye drops or ointments to help lubricate the eyes and reduce inflammation.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye infection that can cause bloodshot eyes in dogs.
This condition occurs when the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye, becomes inflamed.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
In addition to redness, symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs may include discharge from the eyes, itching, and swelling.
Treatment for conjunctivitis may include prescription eye drops or ointments, as well as keeping the eyes clean and free of discharge.
Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when pressure builds up in the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve.
This can lead to vision loss and can also cause bloodshot eyes.
Glaucoma can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and certain medications.
Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs may include redness, pain, and swelling of the eyes, as well as changes in vision.
Treatment for glaucoma may include prescription eye drops or surgery to relieve pressure in the eye.
Corneal ulcers are open sores on the surface of the eye that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as scratches, infections, or foreign objects.
These ulcers can cause redness and irritation, leading to bloodshot eyes.
Corneal ulcers can be very painful for dogs and can also lead to vision loss if left untreated.
Treatment for corneal ulcers may include prescription eye drops or ointments, as well as keeping the eye clean and free of debris.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the ulcer.
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye.
This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, autoimmune disorders, or trauma.
Symptoms of uveitis in dogs may include redness, sensitivity to light, and discharge from the eyes.
Uveitis can be very painful for dogs and can also lead to vision loss if left untreated.
Treatment for uveitis may include prescription eye drops or ointments, as well as oral medications to reduce inflammation.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected eye.
Eye trauma is a common cause of bloodshot eyes in dogs.
This can range from minor injuries, such as scratches or bruises, to more serious injuries, such as puncture wounds or fractures of the eye socket.
In addition to bloodshot eyes, symptoms of eye trauma in dogs may include swelling, discharge from the eyes, and changes in vision.
If you suspect that your dog has experienced eye trauma, it’s important to seek emergency veterinary care right away.
Eye injuries can be very serious and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.
In addition to minor eye trauma, severe trauma to the head or face can also cause bloodshot eyes in dogs.
This can include blunt force injuries, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height, or penetrating injuries, such as being stabbed or shot.
Severe trauma can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to redness and irritation.
In addition, severe trauma can cause more serious eye injuries, such as retinal detachment or rupture of the eyeball.
If you suspect that your dog has experienced severe trauma to the head or face, it’s important to seek emergency veterinary care right away.
How To Help A Bloodshot Eye Dog
If you notice that your furry friend has bloodshot eyes, there are several things that you can do to help.
First, it’s important to determine the underlying cause of the redness.
This may involve taking your dog to the vet for an evaluation.
Once you have identified the cause, there are several steps that you can take to help your dog feel more comfortable.
For example, if the cause of the redness is exhaustion, make sure that your dog is getting enough rest and avoiding strenuous activity.
If the cause is allergens, try to limit your dog’s exposure to the offending allergen.
In addition, keeping your dog’s eyes lubricated with artificial tears or prescribed eye drops can help reduce dryness and irritation.
Finally, if your dog has suffered an injury or trauma to the eye, seek emergency veterinary care right away.
By taking these steps, you can help your furry friend feel more comfortable and prevent further complications.
Are Certain Dogs More Prone To Eye Issues?
Yes, certain breeds of dogs are more prone to developing eye issues than others.
This is because some breeds have physical characteristics that make them more susceptible to certain eye conditions.
For example, flat-faced breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to eye issues such as dry eye and corneal ulcers because of their shortened nasal passages and flat face structure.
Breeds with long hair around the eyes, such as Shih Tzus and Maltese, are more prone to eye infections because the hair can trap dirt and debris.
Additionally, certain breeds are more prone to developing genetic eye conditions, such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy.
If you own a breed that is prone to eye issues, it’s important to keep a close eye on their eye health and take them to the vet for regular check-ups.
By being proactive about your dog’s eye health, you can help prevent or manage eye issues and keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
Before You Go…
Now you know the answer to the question, “Why are my dog’s eyes red?”.
If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!
Sarah is trained in Veterinary Medicine and a dog lover. She works as a content creator at Woofysh and writes useful and exciting articles for you - so that you make the right decision for your loved ones.