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Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red Around the Outside?

Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Dogs Vets

Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Red Around the Outside?


Are you concerned about your furry friend’s red eyes? As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to understand the potential reasons behind this issue.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various factors that might be causing your dog’s eyes to appear red around the outside.

We’ll also provide you with practical tips on how to address this concern and keep your dog’s eyes healthy.

Understanding Redness in Dog’s Eyes

1. Allergies and Irritants

  • Dogs can be sensitive to allergens and irritants in their environment, leading to redness.

2. Conjunctivitis

  • Learn about the common eye condition in dogs and how it can cause redness.

3. Infections

  • Explore the types of infections that can affect a dog’s eyes and the associated symptoms.

4. Injury or Trauma

  • Find out how accidents or injuries can result in redness and what immediate actions to take.

5. Breed-Specific Factors

  • Some dog breeds are more prone to eye issues; discover if your dog’s breed is at risk.


Taking Care of Your Dog’s Eyes

6. Preventive Measures

  • Learn how to protect your dog’s eyes from potential hazards.
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7. Home Remedies

  • Discover natural remedies that can alleviate minor eye redness.

8. When to Seek Veterinary Care

  • Understand when it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian for your dog’s eye issues.


Understanding Different Types of Red Eyes in Dogs

Red eyes in dogs can result from various underlying causes, each affecting different parts of the eye. Here’s a breakdown of the types of red eyes in dogs and what they indicate:

1. Episcleral Injection

  • This type of redness occurs when blood vessels in the sclera (the white outer layer of the eye) become enlarged and straightened. It’s often an external sign of an intraocular disease, like uveitis or glaucoma.

2. Conjunctival Hyperemia

  • Conjunctival hyperemia involves congestion of blood vessels within the conjunctiva, a thin membrane covering the sclera and inside the eyelid. It’s typically caused by external factors and extraocular diseases, such as conjunctivitis.

3. Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

  • This condition results in diffuse redness deeper within the eye’s tissues, making blood vessels invisible. It often occurs due to over-restraint, trauma, clotting disorders, or strangulation.

4. Corneal Neovascularization

  • When new blood vessels form on the eye’s surface in response to corneal defects, it’s known as corneal neovascularization. This type of redness can be triggered by scratches, corneal inflammation (keratitis), or diseases like glaucoma.

5. Hyphema

  • Hyphema is characterized by a pool of blood within the anterior chamber of the eye, resulting in complete or lined redness. Causes include clotting disorders, trauma, uveitis, or high blood pressure.
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These red eye types may be accompanied by various symptoms such as third-eyelid inflammation, discharge, ruptured blood vessels, eye swelling, and discomfort. If your dog displays red eyes, promptly consult a veterinarian for an evaluation and necessary treatment to preserve their vision.


Common Causes of Red Eyes in Dogs

Several factors can lead to red eyes in dogs:

1. Allergies: Dogs, like humans, can experience red eyes due to environmental allergies, often accompanied by itching. Treatment includes antihistamines and eye drops.

2. Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the eye’s surface, caused by infectious agents, trauma, or irritants, can result in redness and excessive discharge. Treatment involves topical or oral medications.

3. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS): Also known as dry eye, KCS occurs when a dog’s tear production is insufficient, leading to eye abnormalities and redness. Treatment combines topical and oral medications.

4. Entropion: Inward turning of the eyelid can irritate the eye’s surface, causing redness and recurrent infections. Correction requires surgery.

5. Cherry Eye: Inflammation of a gland in the third eyelid can lead to a small red swelling. Treatment varies from anti-inflammatory eye drops to surgery, depending on severity.

6. Eye Injury or Trauma: External irritants or foreign objects in or near the eye can result in redness, ulcers, and discomfort. Treatment includes topical medications and pain relief.

7. Corneal Ulcers: Open sores on the eye’s surface may cause redness and require aggressive medical treatment to prevent vision loss.

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8. Glaucoma: Increased eye pressure leading to redness and potential blindness may be linked to uncontrolled diabetes, hereditary factors, or other diseases. Treatment often involves medical and surgical approaches.

9. Uveitis: Decreased eye pressure due to various causes can cause redness, pain, and cloudiness. Management includes topical and oral medications.

10. Blepharitis: Eyelid inflammation from entropion, infection, or allergies can lead to redness, itching, and swelling. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may involve medications or surgery.

11. Tumors: Benign or malignant growths behind or within the eye can cause redness, with surgical removal as a potential treatment.

12. High Blood Pressure: Increased blood pressure can rupture small eye blood vessels, resulting in a very red eye. Treating the underlying cause with oral medication can resolve redness.

Veterinarians diagnose the cause of red eyes through a thorough examination, lab tests, and eye-specific assessments. Treatment varies depending on the underlying issue. If you notice redness in your dog’s eyes, seek veterinary care promptly to address the problem effectively.



  1. PetMD – Red Eyes in Dogs
  2. Wag! – Red Eye in Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis
  3. Neater Pets – Does Your Dog Have Red Eyes?



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