Our beloved furry friends, dogs, can sometimes encounter health issues that leave us concerned and worried. One such problem that may arise is swollen eyes. While it can be alarming to see your canine companion experiencing discomfort, there are often simple home remedies you can try before rushing to the vet. In this article, we'll explore the possible causes of dog swollen eyes, how to recognize the symptoms, and most importantly, various safe and effective home treatments.

Dog Swollen Eyes

Understanding Swollen Eyes in Dogs

A swollen eye in a dog can be described as the abnormal enlargement of the eye due to fluid accumulation or inflammation. It is essential to recognize that a swollen eye is a symptom rather than a specific condition, meaning that the cause behind the swelling needs to be identified to determine the appropriate treatment.

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Common Causes of Swollen Eyes

Swollen eyes in dogs can be caused by various factors. Understanding the common causes can help you identify the underlying issue and seek appropriate treatment. Here are some frequent reasons for dog swollen eyes:

  • Allergies: Allergies are a common cause of swollen eyes in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust mites, certain foods, or grooming products. When exposed to allergens, their immune system may react, leading to eye inflammation and swelling.
  • Infections: Bacterial or viral infections can affect the eyes and cause swelling. Conjunctivitis, for example, is an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eye and inner eyelids. Infections can be highly contagious and may require prompt veterinary attention.
  • Trauma or Injury: Accidents or injuries to the eye area can result in swollen eyes. This can occur from rough play, scratches, or foreign objects getting into the eye. Eye injuries should be taken seriously and evaluated by a veterinarian.
  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as "pink eye," conjunctivitis is often caused by infections or irritants. It leads to red, swollen, and irritated eyes with a discharge.
  • Blocked Tear Ducts: Blocked tear ducts can cause tears to accumulate in the eye, leading to swelling and discomfort. This condition may require medical intervention to clear the blockage.
  • Ingrown Eyelashes: Sometimes, eyelashes can grow inwards towards the eye, irritating the eye's surface and causing swelling.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a condition characterized by increased pressure within the eye, leading to eye damage and swelling. It is a severe condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Corneal Ulcers: Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye. These ulcers can be painful and cause swelling around the eye.
  • Abscesses: An abscess near the eye can cause localized swelling and pain. These abscesses may result from infections or injuries.
  • Systemic Diseases: Some systemic diseases, such as autoimmune disorders or certain viral infections, can manifest with eye symptoms, including swelling.

If your happy dog experiences swollen eyes, it's crucial to observe for other accompanying symptoms and consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Identifying the cause early on will allow for timely and appropriate treatment, ensuring your dog's eye health and overall well-being.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of swollen eyes in good family dogs is essential for early detection and prompt care. Here are the common signs to look out for:

adult yellow Labrador retriever swollen eyes
  • Redness and Irritation: One of the primary indicators of swollen eyes is redness and irritation around the eye area. The white part of the eye (sclera) may appear redder than usual, indicating inflammation.
  • Excessive Tearing: If you notice your dog's eye tearing up more than usual, it may be a sign of a problem. Excessive tearing can occur due to eye irritation or inflammation.
  • Discharge and Crustiness: Swollen eyes in dogs may be accompanied by discharge from the eye. The discharge can vary in color and consistency, such as clear, yellow, or green. It may cause crustiness around the eye, especially after sleeping.
  • Squinting or Blinking Frequently: Dogs with swollen eyes often squint or blink more frequently than usual. Squinting is a natural response to protect the eye from further irritation or pain.
  • Pawing at the Eye: If your dog is constantly pawing at or rubbing their eye, it could indicate discomfort or pain. Pawing is their way of trying to alleviate the irritation.
  • Swelling of the Eyelids: Observe the eyelids for any noticeable swelling. Swollen eyelids can be a clear sign of eye inflammation.
  • Changes in Eye Appearance: In some cases, you may notice changes in the appearance of the eye, such as a change in size or shape. The eye may appear bulging or unusually larger than the other eye.
  • Reluctance to Open Eye: Dogs with swollen eyes may be hesitant to fully open the affected eye. They may keep it partially closed to reduce discomfort.
  • Sensitivity to Light: If your dog shows signs of sensitivity to light, such as avoiding well-lit areas or squinting in bright light, it could indicate eye inflammation.
  • Behavioral Changes: Swollen eyes can cause discomfort and impact your dog's behavior. They may become more subdued, lethargic, or avoid engaging in usual activities.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it's essential to monitor them closely and seek veterinary care if the symptoms persist or worsen. Remember that early intervention can prevent further complications and lead to a faster recovery for your canine companion. Your veterinarian can perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of the swelling and recommend the appropriate treatment.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

While home treatments can be helpful, certain situations require professional veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian if:

dog's swollen eyes

Knowing when to seek veterinary care for your dog's swollen eyes is crucial for their well-being. While some cases of swollen eyes may resolve with home remedies, certain situations require immediate professional attention. Here are the signs to look out for:

  • Severe Swelling: If your dog's eye is severely swollen, bulging, or looks notably larger than the other eye, it could be a sign of a serious underlying issue. Seek veterinary care promptly to identify and address the cause.
  • Visible Injury: If your dog has sustained an injury to the eye, such as a scratch or a puncture wound, it is essential to have it examined by a veterinarian. Eye injuries can be painful and prone to infection.
  • Cloudy Eye: If your dog's eye appears cloudy or hazy, it may indicate a more severe problem, such as cataracts or corneal ulcers. These conditions require professional assessment and treatment.
  • Persistent Discharge: Excessive or persistent discharge from the eye, especially if it is thick, yellow, or green, can be a sign of infection. A veterinarian can determine the type of infection and prescribe appropriate medication.
  • Excessive Tearing: While some tearing is normal, excessive tearing in one or both eyes could indicate an issue that needs attention. It may be a sign of an eye infection, allergies, or a blocked tear duct.
  • Redness and Irritation: If your dog's eye is red, bloodshot, or visibly irritated, it suggests inflammation or irritation that requires veterinary assessment.
  • Squinting or Blinking Frequently: If your dog is squinting, blinking excessively, or pawing at their eye, it could be a sign of pain or discomfort. Seeking veterinary care can help identify and address the cause.
  • Changes in Behavior: If you notice any changes in your dog's behavior, such as increased sensitivity to light or reluctance to go outside, it may be related to their swollen eye and warrants a vet visit.
  • Lethargy or Loss of Appetite: Swollen eyes, especially when accompanied by other concerning symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite, may indicate a more severe underlying health issue.

It's essential not to delay seeking veterinary care if you observe any of these signs. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and promote a quicker recovery for your furry companion. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of the swollen eye and provide appropriate treatment to ensure your dog's comfort and well-being.

Home Remedies for Treating Dog-Swollen Eyes

Before heading to the vet, you can try some safe and natural home remedies to alleviate your dog's swollen eyes:

  • Warm Compress: Gently apply a warm compress to the affected eye. The warmth can help reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort. Make sure the compress is not too hot to avoid burning your dog's sensitive skin.
  • Chamomile Tea Soak: Brew a cup of chamomile tea and let it cool down. Use a clean cloth or cotton ball soaked in the cooled tea to gently wipe your dog's swollen eye. Chamomile has calming properties that can ease irritation and reduce swelling.
  • Saline Solution Rinse: Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water to create a mild saline solution. Use an eyedropper or a syringe (without the needle) to carefully rinse the eye. The saline solution helps flush out irritants and promotes healing.
  • Aloe Vera Gel Application: Aloe vera gel can offer soothing relief to your dog's swollen eye. Take a small amount of pure aloe vera gel and carefully apply it around the eye area. Be cautious not to get any gel into the eye itself.
  • Cucumber Slices: Place thin slices of cool cucumber on your dog's swollen eye. The cooling effect of cucumber can help reduce puffiness and inflammation. Make sure the slices are not too thick or heavy for your pet's comfort.

Remember that while these home remedies can be effective for minor cases of swollen eyes, it's essential to monitor your dog's condition closely. If the swelling persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's crucial to seek professional veterinary care promptly. Your veterinarian can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment for your furry friend's specific condition.

Prevention Tips to Avoid Swollen Eyes

Prevention is always better than cure. To reduce the risk of swollen eyes in your dog, consider the following tips:

  • Regular Grooming: Keep up with regular grooming for your dog. This includes brushing their fur to remove dirt and debris that could irritate their eyes. Trim any long hairs around the eyes to prevent them from poking and causing irritation.
  • Clean Living Environment: Maintain a clean living environment for your dog. Regularly clean their bedding, puzzle toys, and living area to reduce the presence of allergens, dust, and other potential irritants.
  • Pet-Friendly Products: When using grooming products for your dog, make sure they are specifically formulated for pets. Avoid using harsh chemicals or products not intended for canine use, as they may cause eye irritation.
  • Supervise Playtime: During playtime or outdoor activities, closely supervise your dog to prevent any accidents or injuries that could lead to swollen eyes. Avoid areas with hazardous plants or sharp objects.
  • Keep Allergens in Check: If your dog has known allergies, take measures to reduce their exposure to allergens. This may involve avoiding specific foods, keeping them away from pollen-heavy areas during allergy season, and using air purifiers in your home.
  • Eye Hygiene: Regularly clean your dog's eyes with a damp cloth to remove any debris or discharge. This simple routine can help maintain eye health and prevent swelling.
  • Health Checkups: Schedule regular visits to the veterinarian for checkups and vaccinations. Regular health assessments can help identify any potential eye issues early on.
  • Proper Nutrition: Ensure your dog is on a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Good dog nutrition contributes to overall health and can support the immune system.
  • Avoid Smoke Exposure: Keep your dog away from smoke and other pollutants, as they can irritate their eyes and lead to swelling.

By following these prevention tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of your dog developing swollen eyes. However, if your dog does experience swelling despite these precautions, it's essential to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember that early intervention can lead to better outcomes and faster relief for your furry companion.

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While swollen eyes in dogs can be distressing, prompt action and proper care can often lead to quick relief. By recognizing the symptoms, identifying potential causes, and utilizing safe home remedies, you can help your furry companion recover comfortably. However, always remember that seeking professional veterinary care when necessary is crucial for your pet's well-being.


Q1. Can I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dog's swollen eyes?

  • It's best to avoid using human eye drops for dogs, as they may contain ingredients that could be harmful to pets. Consult your vet for appropriate eye drops.

Q2. Is conjunctivitis contagious between dogs and humans?

  • Yes, conjunctivitis can be transmitted between dogs and humans. Take precautions and maintain good hygiene if your dog has conjunctivitis.

Q3. Can allergies cause chronic swollen eyes in dogs?

  • Yes, if your dog has chronic allergies, it could lead to recurrent swollen eyes. Identifying and managing the allergens can help reduce the occurrences.

Q4. Can I use cold compresses for swollen eyes instead of warm ones?

  • Cold compresses can be used for some types of eye issues, but warm compresses are generally more soothing for swollen eyes.

Q5. How often should I clean my dog's eyes to prevent swelling?

  • Cleaning your dog's eyes with a damp cloth once a day can help maintain eye health and prevent swelling.