Why Are My Dogs Eyes Red Around The Outside?

Have you ever noticed your dog’s eyes looking red around the outside? Here’s a quick explanation of what may be causing it and what you can do about it.

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The causes of your dog’s red, itchy eyes may be due to allergies. Allergies can be caused by many different things such as pollen, dust, dander, and even the food they eat. If you think your dog may have allergies, it is important to take them to the vet to get proper testing and diagnosis.

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections are a common cause of red, irritated eyes in dogs. If you notice your dog’s eyes are red, crusty, or have discharge, take them to the vet. The vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, clear tissue that lines the inner surface of your eyelid and covers the white part of your eye. Conjunctivitis is commonly called “pink eye” because one of the hallmark signs is red eyes.

When your dog has conjunctivitis, both eyes may not be affected at first, but if left untreated, conjunctivitis usually spreads to both eyes within a few days. In addition to redness, other symptoms may include excessive tearing, pawing at the eyes, squinting, thick discharge, and swollen eyelids. Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, bacteria, viral infections, foreign bodies in the eye, or autoimmune diseases.

Corneal Abrasion

If your dog has a red eye with a discharge, it’s likely caused by a corneal abrasion. A corneal abrasion is a superficial scratch on the surface of the eye. It’s also referred to as a “scratched eye” or “ulcerated cornea.”

Corneal abrasions are one of the most common reasons dogs are brought to the vet. They can happen when your dog rubs his eye or bumps into something. But they can also be caused by foreign objects like dirt, dust, grass, or even sand getting into the eye.

Corneal abrasions are painful, so your dog may keep his eye closed or squint. He may paw at his eye or rub his face on the ground. You may also notice that his third eyelid is partially covering the eyedrops to help protect it from further irritation.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common condition in dogs that can cause a variety of symptoms, including redness around the eyes. It occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears, or when the tears evaporate too quickly. Dogs of all ages and breeds can be affected by dry eye, but it is most common in older dogs and certain breeds such as poodles, shih tzus, bichons frises, and bulldogs.

There are several possible causes of dry eye in dogs, including allergies, infections, injuries, and problems with the tear ducts. Allergies are the most common cause of dry eye in dogs, and they can be seasonal (such as pollen allergies) or year-round (such as dust or mold allergies). Infections and injuries can also lead to dry eye by causing inflammation or damage to the tear glands. Tear duct problems are a less common cause of dry eye, but they can occur if the ducts become blocked or narrowed.

Dry eye can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs, including redness around the eyes, discharge from the eyes, squinting or rubbing of the eyes, and tear staining. In severe cases, it can also lead to ulcers on the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eyeball). If left untreated, dry eye can eventually lead to blindness.

If you think your dog may have dry eye, it is important to take him to the veterinarian for an evaluation. This condition is generally diagnosed based on a combination of physical examination findings and laboratory tests such as a Schirmer tear test (which measures tear production) and a fluorescent dye test (which looks for damage to the cornea). Treatment for dry eye typically involves topical lubricating drugs such as artificial tears or ointments. In some cases, systemic drugs may also be necessary to control the underlying allergy or infection.

Foreign Object

If your dog has a foreign object in his eye, it will likely be quite uncomfortable. Your dog may paw at his eye or hold it closed. There may also be discharge and redness around the eye. If you suspect your dog has a foreign object in his eye, take him to the vet right away.


Glaucoma is an eye condition that results in damage to the optic nerve. It is usually caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated.

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It occurs when the drainage angle of the eye becomes blocked, preventing fluid from draining properly. This can cause increased pressure within the eye, which can damage the optic nerve. Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but more severe. It occurs when the iris (the colored part of the eye) bulges forward and blocks the drainage angle of the eye. This can cause a sudden increase in pressure within the eye, which can damage the optic nerve.

Glaucoma is often diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam that includes measuring intraocular pressure (the pressure within the eye) and testing for visual field loss (loss of peripheral vision). Treatment for glaucoma typically includes medications to lower intraocular pressure, surgery to improve fluid drainage from the eye, and/or laser surgery to destroy tissue that is blocking fluid drainage from the eye.


Possible injuries include foreign objects in the eye, scratches on the cornea, and ulcers on the cornea. If you notice that your dog’s eyes are red around the outside, take a look at the eyes to see if there is anything causing irritation. If you cannot see anything, take your dog to the veterinarian for an examination.


A single, hard, red lump that seems to be attached to the eyeball itself could be a tumor. If your dog has a tumor in or around her eye, it will likely need to be removed.

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