- It is not a substitute for the help of a professional veterinarian.
Dogs’ eyes are just as sensitive as human eyes and can be just as susceptible to irritation, allergies, injury and illness. If your dog’s eyes are red or swollen, it could be a sign of mild irritation or allergies. Many causes of red eyes in dogs are minor and easy to treat at home. However, some eye injuries and conditions are more serious, so it’s a good idea to know what to look out for in case your dog needs extra attention.
Read on to learn more about why your dog’s eyes are red, when to see the vet, and how you (and your vet) can take care of your dog’s eye health.
What Causes Red Eyes in Dogs?
Redness, swelling, and discharge from the eyes can be caused by irritation, injury, trauma, or underlying conditions such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Whether your dog’s eyes are red and droopy, bloodshot, watery, or red around the edges, here are some of the most common causes of red eyes in dogs.
1. Eye injury or trauma
Just like humans, dogs can get things in their eyes. Irritation and injury can be caused by dirt, branches, or enthusiastic play with other animals. Minor irritations can be treated at home, but if you notice a visible foreign object or bleeding, it’s time to call the vet.
- excessive tearing
- Visible foreign body in the eye
- Excessive scratching or scratching of the eyes
Allergens can cause your dog’s eyes to itch, swell, or water. Sometimes it’s an environmental irritant (yes, dogs can be allergic to pollen too) and sometimes it’s a food allergy that causes red eyes in dogs. You can treat symptoms at home, but your veterinarian may prescribe medication or a special diet to help.
- Itching, discomfort and excessive tearing
- Redness around the outside of the eye
- Redness and/or itching in other parts of the body, which may indicate a food allergy
- Keep food bowls and bedding clean.
- Bathe your dog in soothing, hypoallergenic shampoos after outdoor adventures.
- Ask your vet about allergy testing
Conjunctivitis, also known as conjunctivitis or conjunctivitis, is an itchy inflammation of the tissue that covers the eye. Sometimes it only affects one eye at a time, but can quickly spread to both. There are different types of conjunctivitis, ranging from conjunctivitis caused by an allergy or injury to a contagious viral version.
You can help relieve the dog’s discomfort at home (see below), but conjunctivitis should always be treated by your veterinarian to prevent further eye disease or damage.
- Excessive blinking or squinting
- redness or swelling around the eyes
- Sticky, yellow or greenish discharge
- artificial tears
- Cold compress to relieve swelling.
- Over-the-counter antihistamines (check with your vet before administering)
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
A buildup of fluid in the eye that causes pressure that, if not relieved, can lead to blindness. Glaucoma is one of the most serious causes of eye redness and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.
- Physical swelling of the eyeball.
- abnormal flow
- fog in the eyes
- emergency eye drops
- medication maintenance
5. Dry eye syndrome (formerly known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS)
DED, or “dry eye,” occurs when your dog’s tear ducts don’t produce enough tears. It can be caused by injury or a weakened immune system, leading to infection or ulcers on the cornea.
- eye redness
- mucus or dirt in your eyes
- artificial tears
- antibiotic eye drops
- Immunosuppressive drugs
Uveitis is a painful inflammation of certain structures in your dog’s eye, collectively known as uvea. It’s usually a secondary condition, meaning you can treat some symptoms at home, but you’ll need to see your veterinarian to identify and treat the primary condition that caused it.
- Severe redness of the eye.
- strong pain
- Constricted pupils and sensitivity to light.
- Topical eye medications such as corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory eye drops/ointments
- Foreign body removal (this should be done by the vet!)
7. Corneal abrasion or ulcer
The cornea is a clear, shiny membrane that forms the front of the eyeball. Corneal ulcers are usually caused by trauma, such as B. by scratching by brushes or dust irritation. They can also be caused by untreated dry eye.
- excessive friction
- Squint or keep your eyes closed
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
- prescription pain relievers
8. Breed issues
Are your dog’s eyes regularly red and droopy? Certain types of dogs are simply more prone to eye problems than others, including:
- Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds such as bulldogs, shih tzus and pugs
- Flabby, loose-skinned breeds like Bloodhounds and Newfoundlands.
- Breeds with long facial hair, such as Poodles, Maltese, and German Shepherds
- Have your eyes checked regularly for signs of irritation.
- Keep the hair around the eyes trimmed and clean
- Use eye drops or ointment as directed by your veterinarian.
When should I take my dog to the vet? (And what the vet will do)
Red eyes are not always a sign that something is wrong, but eye injuries and diseases can progress quickly. It’s time to call the vet if you see anything new and unusual in your dog’s eyes, if he scratches or rubs his face, and/or you notice excessive swelling, discharge, or squinting.
When you take your dog to the vet for eye care, they’ll run one or more of these tests:
- eye exam to examine the structure of your dog’s eye by looking into the eye with a ophthalmoscope
- Schirmer tear test to determine if the eyes are properly lubricated. This painless test uses small strips of paper that are attached to the lower eyelid.
- internal pressure test with a tool called a tonometer
- Fluorescein stain testwhich uses a harmless dye to help your vet see otherwise invisible scratches
- blood test to find underlying conditions and diseases that can cause eye problems
Most causes of eye redness in dogs can be treated with topical or oral medications. If there is a more serious cause of your dog’s red eyes, your veterinarian may refer your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further evaluation and treatment.
How to keep your dog’s eyes healthy
You can’t protect your dog from every possible eye irritation, injury, or disease. Dogs eventually become dogs! However, there are preventive measures you can take to keep your dog’s eyes as healthy and protected as possible.
1. Cut the hair around the eyes
For breeds with long hair, keep the hair around the eyes trimmed and clean.
2. Wipe dirt from his eyes if necessary
Using a soft, damp cloth or eye wipe, gently wipe outward from the inner corner, being careful not to touch the eyeball.
3. Watch out for excessive rubbing or scratching of the eyes
It’s so cute when dogs rub their paws on their eyes, and it’s okay to rub or scratch them from time to time. But if your dog rubs his face against the carpet or furniture, pats his eyes constantly, or develops redness or discharge along with the rubbing, it’s time to investigate further.
4. Protect them from eye injuries (especially in the car)
As cute as it may be, sticking their head out of the car window is actually a leading cause of eye injuries in dogs. Keep the windows closed enough so they can’t stick their heads out, or invest in a pair of doggles before your next road trip.
5. Take her to her regular vet check-ups
Preventative health care can go a long way in keeping your dog healthy, eyes and all. Annual visits, twice a year for older dogs, will help monitor your dog’s eye health as it ages.
As with any canine health issue, eye care is all about paying attention to your dog. You can tell a lot just by looking at them and noticing changes in their appearance, body language, and demeanor. And of course, don’t forget to take the time to look lovingly into your dog’s eyes! While eye contact hasn’t been scientifically proven to improve eye health, it’s a great way to bond with your best friend.
Source : rover.com