Dog Eye Problems - The Symptoms and Causes

Dog eye problems can vary from simple to very serious.

Some need just a small amount of routine care but other problems are serious and you should get immediate veterinary attention.

Boston Terriers are prone to certain conditions but any dog can develop canine eye problems.

Do you know the difference between a simple problem and a serious one?

Treatment can range from simple steps to take at home, a visit to a holistic vet and/or a visit to a conventional vet and surgery.

Signs of Dog Eye Problems

See also Dog Illnesses

*** Eye Boogers in the corner of the eye

*** Dog Eye Discharge

*** Dog Tear Stains

*** Film over the Eye

*** Cloudiness in the Eye

*** Eye Pain, Scratching, Rubbing, Squinting, Sensitivity to Light

*** Bulging or Sunken Eye

*** Cherry Eye

Eye Boogers

Eye boogers are those little globs your dog sometimes gets in the corner of his eye, usually in the morning, but it can become noticeable any time of the day.

If it occurs once in a while and there is not very much goo then just clean it off with a wet, warm cloth.

If you notice that the amount of goo is increasing try to notice if it is worse during the outdoor allergy season. Some dogs suffer from hay fever like humans do.

Windy days make my dogs have more of a problem.

Also take into consideration how much time is spent outdoors.

If it is worse on the weekends when you and your pet are outside more, then outdoor allergies may be causing your dog eye problems.

Indoor allergies could also be the culprit. Be sure to check out possible dog food allergies.

Some dogs are allergic to new carpet, laundry detergent used to wash their beds, dog shampoo and a bunch of other things.

Consider if you have brought anything new into the house or changed anything recently.

It is important to get this checked out if the problem continues, especially if the goo increases. Increased goo could lead to a dog eye infection.

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Dog Eye Discharge

When that goo has become a definite discharge and becomes either a white or yellow color then it is serious business. You should let your vet know about your dog eye problems.

Lack of attention to a possible eye infection can affect your dog's sight permanently, plus be costly and painful to fix.

Canine eye problems are similar to problems in humans in that they need medical attention to prevent further complications.

When discovered and treated early enough then it helps to prevent further dog eye problems.

Dog Tear Stains

Some dog breeds, like this Maltese, are more prone to dog eye problems, especially tear stains.

If the dog has a very light color coat or white fur the tear stains become very noticeable as a dirty pink discoloring at the inner corner of the eye.

It may be apparent on both eyes or predominantly one eye.

Proper DAILY cleaning will alleviate the problem.

HOWEVER, if this is not cleaned EVERY day then it can easily lead to a dog eye infection.

Cloudiness in the Eye

These dog eye problems could indicate a number of possible conditions.


My vet told me that dogs in the United States are generally showing signs of cataracts around the age of 7 years old.

My Chihuahua, Peanut, didn't show signs until about 10 years old. He did not show any pain, just a decrease in his ability to see details.

Did you know dogs don't see all that well anyway?

Their sense of smell and hearing far out pace their ability to see.

Who would have thought dog cataracts and human cataracts would be similar?

Most common is the older dog who develops cataracts as a result of aging just as in the case with most humans.

Sometimes only one eye is affected but usually it affects both right and left eye.

There is an inherited type that even puppies can have and can cause blindness by 1 to 4 years of age.

Other small dog breeds that have a genetic disposition for this most common of dog eye problems....cataracts are:

Cocker Spaniel


Yorkshire Terrier

Boston Terrier



Canine cataracts are a white, cloudy looking material within the lens.

It becomes noticeable when the black pupil changes to a bluish or white color.

Old age and diabetes can cause late onset of this condition.


If you see your dog rubbing his eye or if he appears to have signs of pain then have a vet check him out.

He may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist as they specialize in dog eye problems.


As a symptom look for a buildup of fluid that gives the eye a uniform blue-gray appearance along with obvious signs that the dog is in pain.

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Bulging or Sunken Eye

Now some breeds like Boston Terriers and Chihuahuas have slightly bulging eyes as a part of their breed characteristics.

                     That is not what we are talking about.

A change in your dog's eyes where you think they are bulging when they didn't do that before is a new symptom.

A bulging eye can indicate glaucoma OR tumors OR an abscess behind the glove.

An eye out of it's socket could appear to be bulging. I had a rescued Chihuahua who had pulled on his leash so strongly that his eye popped out. His owners did not get it treated and it ended up having to remove his eye.

Consider whether your dog has fallen or been hit accidentally while playing.

Seek immediate medical help to determine the cause. Better safe than sorry!

Dog Eye Infection

A dog eye infection is a very common pet condition which can be caused by a number of different issues.. some very serious.

Boston Terriers have slightly protruding eyes and can be a little more prone to getting infections.

It is critical to identify the issue causing the problem and to  seek professional veterinarian assistance in order to ensure the dog's health and well being.

The most common causes of an eye infection are dirt in the eye, a bacterial infection or a virus that is affecting the eye and surrounding tissues.

Regardless of the cause, an eye infection typically presents with redness and swelling around the eye, red coloring in the white part of the eye, and with a milky or colored discharge.

Clear discharge is typically  not a concern, and can simply be a sign of allergies.

The discharge from an infected eye is typically opaque and most often white or green.

Discharge from the eye that appears to include pus indicates a serious medical issue and a vet should be contacted immediately to prevent permanent damage and loss of eye sight.

Breeds that are vulnerable to Eye Infections

Some breeds, such as Shih Tzu, Poodle and Llapsa Apso are prone to a specific eye infection caused by eye lashes turning in towards the eye.

When the lashes are turned inwards, tears tend to pool around the eye, which provides an ideal place for bacteria to grow, causing a dog eye infection.

This can be avoided by keeping the eye and the surrounding area as clean as possible.

Owners should routinely inspect the pet's eye area for dirt and debris that can become lodged in the eye and cause an infection.

Bacterial and viral infections are harder to prevent.

Keeping a pet in known and clean areas, even on walks and when playing, can help reduce the incidence of an eye infection.

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Dog Eye Injuries - Serious or Not?

Dog eye injuries can be minor, like irritation from dry air or dust, or they can be serious, like chemical burns or being poked by a sharp object.

When dog owners think about safety, they usually think about keeping their dog out of the road.

While cars are an obvious hazard for dogs, they are not the only one.

Vets tell me they see a lot of eye injuries that result from one or more dogs playing with sticks.

Many times the dogs are running and the stick gets dropped and one of the dogs bites for it, misses, and then it pokes their eye.

Hopefully this results in a minor scratch but more often it is a case of the stick puncturing the eye and the dog looses the sight in that eye.

Sometimes dog eye injuries result, especially for puppies, from chemical burns.

A curious puppy can get into something in the garage and then it gets in their eye.

Remember to keep household cleaners and lawn chemicals way up high.

Puppies are like toddlers, they get into everything!

The bottom line with Dog Eye Problems is.. like with humans... get it checked out to prevent undue complications.

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Please remember that this site and the information expressed in it are to be seen as suggestions only.

I am not a veterinarian, simply someone who loves animals who wants to help you and your dog.

Be sure to seek professional medical help from your local veterinarian and be sure to take your dog in for REGULAR checkups.