Red Eyes in Dogs
Are almost always the first sign of something very sinister happening to your dog

Red eyes in dogs can be the sign of some very serious underlying conditions in your pet, and if your pet eyes do start to turn red, you need to be very concerned.

It could be something very routine and simple to treat, but it could also be the sign of something very wrong with your pet.

There is a huge misconception that pink eye or conjunctivitis is red eyes in dogs, but there could be nothing further from the truth.

Conjunctivitis may be one of the symptoms of red eyes, but that is all it is; it is not red eyes.

To help to fully understand exactly what red eyes in dogs are and what the causes and symptoms may be, it helps fully understand what the eye is made up of as well as the functions.


Eyes are your dog’s vessels to life and are made up of several parts. Each of these parts has extremely important functions and when attacked, these functions may break down.

The Anterior chamber of your dog’s eye is the area that is located behind the cornea and is filled with a liquid substance called aqueous humor.

It is a thick watery substance that actually sets between the lens and the cornea.

It main function is to inflate the globe of the eye itself.

The ciliary body is the structure that produces this fluid and is the front portion of the eye.

The Conjunctiva is the lining of the eyelids as well as the thin membrane which covers the white part of the eye known as the Sclera.

It helps to lubricate your dog’s eye as well as assisting in the production of mucus and the tearing.

The Cornea is the clear covering of the front of the eye and the Iris is the colored part of the organ that helps to control the amount of light that enters into your pet’s eyes.

The Lens of your dog’s eyes is the portion that focuses light on the Retina and the pupil is the actual opening of the eye that looks like a dark circle.

Your dog has one more part of the eye that is very interesting, the third eyelid.

It is translucent and can be drawn across the eye both for protection and for moisture.

It is also called the nictitating membrane and is totally different the human eyelids as they can move horizontally.

Dog’s eyes are very sensitive, but turning red is not a normal function.

Dogs mysterious eyesRed eyes in dogs should never be ignored


Superficial Keratitis

This is an inflammation of the cornea that is most often caused by a virus, bacteria, some type of an allergy, a constant irritation, or could even be caused by a traumatic situation.

It is a common condition and is found in all breeds; and if becomes chronic, it is than called Pannus, and this eye condition is only found in dogs.

It causes a grayish pink film that spreads across your dog’s eyes and will eventually cause a loss of some vision. As the lesion progresses, the cornea of the eye may turn opaque.

Chronic conditions are believed to be caused by extensive sunlight, and although it is not painful to your dog other than squinting, it can cause blindness.

This is one of the conditions in red eyes in dogs that will also cause a discharge.

The treatment for this eye infection will be antibiotics depending on the underlying cause and then keeping your dog’s eyes as clean as possible.

Anterior Uveitis

This is an inflammation of either the iris or the ciliary and may also be triggered by bacteria, viruses, or trauma. However, it can also be caused by cancer.

It will make your dog’s squint as the pupil is constricted which may develop into a lot of tearing of the eyes.

The Iris will appear swollen and the cornea may become very cloudy.

In severe situations it could result in a contraction of the pupil due to increased protein that is being sent to the eye as a natural defense.

If left untreated, it could lead to glaucoma or cataracts. In smaller breeds of dogs this can also lead to secondary lens luxation.

Treating this eye infection will consist of anti-inflammatory medications to help to dilate the eyes as well as reducing the pain.

This is a condition to take very serious as cancer could be the underlying cause of the symptom in red eyes in dogs.


This condition is well known as pink eye, and it is a potential cause of red eyes in dogs.

It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva that is usually caused by allergies, infections, or irritants such as second hand smoke or other pollutants.

With this eye condition the pupils will remain normal in size, but there will be a lot of discharge because of the infection.

Treatment will consist of antibiotics depending on the actual cause as well as keeping the eyes and eyelids clean.


Glaucoma is a very serious eye condition in your dog as what is happening is an increased pressure is being put on the eyes and causing them to turn a reddish tint.

It is caused by the aqueous humor not allowing the increased fluid to drain from your pet’s eyes.

Additional fluid is being produced but because it is not draining, it becomes very similar to a water balloon.

This is an emergency situation in your dog as this balloon effect will eventually burst. When it does rupture, it damages to the eyes internal structures.

They most likely will be either crushed or in very severe cases, totally displaced.

Treatment for these red eyes in dogs condition will be antibiotics to reduce the pressure around the eye as well as reducing the extra fluid that have been produced.

In most all cases, dilation of the pupil will also be necessary.


Red eyes in dogs are not normal and in most cases there is something very wrong is happening.

There are several other underlying causes of red eyes such as a corneal ulcer, hyphema or blood in the eye, or tumors in the eyes.

Your dog’s eyes are the vessels in which they experience life.

Protecting them with eye ointments and vitamin supplements designed especially for dogs eyes will help to prevent some of these conditions.

Pet Medications for Red Eyes in Dogs

Dog Vitamin Store

More About Dogs Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat


Is an inflammation of their eyes that affects the front portion of the eye that is called the uvea.

Cataracts in Dogs

Are often confused with nuclear sclerosis, are much more damaging to your dog, and will need to be addressed immediately.

Sore Mouth Disease

CMO in dogs is better known by two other names; sore mouth disease as well as Craniomandibular osteopathy.

Dental Disease

Has several potential symptoms but by far and away the most common one is bad breath.

Ear Infections

Dog Ear infections can be chronic conditions that linger on, especially external ear infections, or the can happen very suddenly.

Dry Eye in Dogs

Can affect any breed at any age, but there are some breeds that seem to be more predisposed than others.

Dysphagia in Dogs

Is a medical term that is used when swallowing is difficult and in humans it feels like food is sticking in your throat or chest.

Ear Hematomas

Are also known by two other names; aural hematomas and auricular hematomas, and are a collection of blood as well as fluid in their ears.


The actual causes will vary depending on which type it is, and in the primary form it is most often caused by frequent vomiting.

Glaucoma in Dogs

To fully understand why this is such an emergency, it is very helpful to understand what it is, the types, as well as the symptoms.

Hernias in Dogs

Perhaps the most common of all the potential canine hernias is referred to as an inguinal hernia.


Canine hypoglycemia is a condition where your dog’s blood sugar has become very low and can be caused by several different factors.


Canine hypopyon is the accumulation of white blood cells within the liquid of the front chamber of their eye referred to as the anterior.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Is a disorder where the nerves that control both the muscles and the cartridge that help to open and close the larynx do not work properly.


Canine megaesophagus is situation where the esophagus has basically lost it muscle tone, and ii can and does affect all breeds.


Is a series of changes that are caused by the inflammation and then the loss of the deep supporting structures of your dog’s teeth.

Retinal Detachment

Treatment must begin as soon as possible with this condition or your dog will become permanently blind.


Is a condition where there is a misdirection of your dog’s eyes and it can affect just one or both eyes.

Your Dogs Eyes

The eyes of your dog are perhaps their most attractive and expression feature but they are also very complex organs.