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About Dog Eye Problems

Just like you and me, a dog's eyes are very important to them. Even if dog eye problems don't immediately threaten their overall health, a problem can certainly lessen the quality of your dog's life.

Actually, dogs are very resilient when it comes to adapting to loss of sight, or even loss of a limb. . . .But, their ability to compensate and adapt can also help them hide symptoms of a dog eye problem from you.

As with people, early detection of dog health problems is often critical to treating them in time. For that reason, one of the best things you can do for your dog's eyes is to be very familiar with what is normal for your best friend.

You should know what is normal for your dog's breed and especially your dog in particular. Let's start with what's normal for all dogs by looking at a dogs eye anatomy.

Dog Eye Problems:  
On this page you’ll find short summaries of different dog eye problems. For in-depth information on a particular eye disorder, click the links under each headline to learn more about that topic.

For a very detailed explanation of how an animal's eye functions, take a look at this article eye anatomy & function. This article is quite detailed, but it's still fairly easy to understand.

Dog eye problems will show themselves in many ways. Some, you need to watch for carefully, and some will be very obvious.

Some of the major signs to watch for are:

  • Squinting and excessive blinking
  • Rubbing the eyes against the carpet or furniture
  • Clear and watery discharge from the eyes
  • Thick and yellow or greenish discharge from the eyes
  • Signs of pain, like not wanting to be touched on the head

While It's a good idea to know your dog so well that you notice even small abnormalities, it's also a good idea to perform a weekly exam -- especially if you know your dog's breed is susceptible to something in particular.

Looking for Dog Eye Problems:
It's a good idea to examine your dog's eyes once a week to look for abnormalities such as discharge & redness. You should also watch for signs of your dog squinting, avoiding light or rubbing his eyes.font>

When it comes to examining your dogs eyes, there are some very specific things to look for:

  • Check that the eyes look clear and moist
  • Check for any discharge (either watery or thick and colored)
  • Check for any redness (gently pull the eyelid down and up)
  • Make sure that the eyeball fits inside the eyelids as normal (look for bulging)
  • Check that the pupil is normal size and responds to light (The pupil should shrink when a flashlight is shined directly into the eye, and then go back to it's normal sized after a few moments)

Common Dog Eye Problems

There are roughly 7 common eye problems in dogs. Some are not necessarily serious, but of course they can be a symptom of a bigger problem and/or if not treated can often lead to more serious problems. . .

. . .And some are very serious, and even an emergency that requires immediate attention by a qualified veterinarian. If you believe your dog has a serious eye condition, don't wait -- call your vet right away!

Some of the most common canine eye problems are:

Dog Eye Infection

An infection can be caused by many things, but the most common causes are bacterial and viral. If your dog gets something in his eye, like a piece of grass or something and it has bacteria on it, an infection can result.

Or, if he comes in contact with another dog that has a viral infection, then they can become infected. The most common dog eye infection is conjunctivitis, which is also referred to as dog pink eye.

The major sign of a dog eye infection is a thick and yellow or greenish discharge from the eye.

Canine Cherry Eye

Cherry eye in dogs is quite common to some breeds of dogs like Saint Bernards, Beagles and Bull Terriers. It is what happens when a dogs "3rd eyelid" becomes disconnected and protrudes out of the inside corner of the eye.

It is fairly easy to diagnose with a physical exam by a veterinarian. Unfortunately the only treatment for it is surgery. However, the surgery is quite simple and has a very high rate of success.

Dog Dry Eye

Dry eye in dogs, just like in people is what happens when the eyes don't produce enough natural tears to keep the eye moist.

The most common cause is damage or deterioration to the tear ducts. The "3rd eyelid" produces about 35% of a dogs tears, so when it is damaged, or has to be removed because of Cherry Eye, the result is not enough tears.

It is very important to treat dry eye immediately, because it can lead to infections, corneal ulcers and ultimately blindness.


Entropion is when a dogs top eye-lid turns inward, which causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye, which as you can imagine causes extreme irritation.

It's believed to be an inherited trait, so researching a dog breeder is very important, especially if your breed of choice is predisposed to the condition.

A common surgery can easily correct the condition, but quick action must be taken because the irritation and inflammation caused by entropion can lead to more serious conditions if not treated quickly.

Glaucoma in dogs

Canine glaucoma is what happens when the fluid in a dogs eye does not drain properly.

The fluid that is supposed to flow in and out of the eye in a balanced way builds up and causes serious damage to the eye. Dog glaucoma is very painful -- much more so than for people.

It is one of the most serious dog eye problems, and an emergency situation! An urgent visit your vet is necessary, and you will likely be referred to another vet that specializes in canine ophthalmology.

There are numerous treatments that a specialized vet can use to help counteract the glaucoma, but the most important first step is to reduce the build-up of liquid in the eye in an attempt to try to save your dog's eyesight.

Canine Cataracts

Cataracts in dogs is much the same as in people, and is one of the most common dog eye problems. It is what happens when the eye's lens becomes cloudy for various reasons.

Often cataracts happen as a result of the aging process, but they can also be caused by other things such as canine diabetes, and can also be a hereditary trait.

There is another condition in dogs called nuclear sclerosis, that can cause a cloudy appearance, and is often confused with cataracts. It is actually a natural occurrence in dogs as they age, and does not seem to affect their eyesight.

Cataracts can often be treated effectively with either eye-drops or surgery. The type of treatment depends on the cause, how far along it is, and your dog's overall condition.

Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Canine corneal ulcers usually occur when a dogs eye is injured in some way, which includes infection.

There are quite a few conditions (like the other dog eye problems listed on this page), that if left untreated can cause ulcers.

It's not always obvious that your dog has corneal ulcer, so it's important to watch for signs of irritation such as squinting, watery discharge, or rubbing their eye or eyes against things like furniture or carpet.

Most corneal ulcers can be treated with either medication or surgery, without causing any permanent damage to your dogs eyes. But, just like most dog health problems, early detection and treatment give your dog the best chances.

Preventing Dog Eye Problems:
PetAlive by Native Remedies makes a product specifically designed to help keep your dog's eyes healthy, and free from infection: Eye Heal Helps keep your dog's eyes well lubricated, soothes them when allergies irritate them, and helps your dog fight off eye infections naturally.

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