The Symptoms of Redness and Irritation in a Dog’s Eye

If you’ve noticed that your dog’s eye is red, swollen, and irritated, it could be suffering from a condition known as epiphora. While this may sound like an intimidating medical term, understanding what it is and how to recognize and treat it can help you keep your canine companion healthy and happy. Read on to learn more about this eye condition so you can better care for your pup. 

What is Epiphora?

Epiphora is an eye condition characterized by excessive tearing and redness of the eye. It is a common issue among dogs, although any species may be affected. The most common cause of epiphora in dogs is blockage or narrowing of the tear ducts, which prevents tears from draining properly from the eyes. This can result in excess moisture on the eye’s surface, causing irritation and redness. Other causes include allergies, infections, foreign objects in the eye, and underlying diseases such as glaucoma or dry eye syndrome. 

Signs & Symptoms

Several signs may indicate your dog has epiphora: 

• Excessive tearing or discharge from one or both eyes 

• Redness around the eyes or eyelids 

• Swelling around the eyes 

• Squinting or rubbing at their eyes 

• Cloudiness in the cornea (the clear part of their eyeball) 

• Wiping away any excess discharge with a clean cloth 

• Limiting their exposure to windy or cold environments 

• Avoiding smoking and other pollutants in the home 

• Regularly checking for foreign objects in their eyes, such as grass seeds or dirt 

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

If you suspect your dog may have epiphora, taking them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential. First, your vet will thoroughly examine your pup’s eyes and ask about any recent behavior or health status changes. They may also run tests such as blood work for underlying conditions, an ultrasound for blockages in their tear ducts, or cultures to look for infections. Once diagnosed, they can prescribe appropriate treatments such as antibiotics if a condition is present, medications to reduce inflammation, or surgical procedures if necessary.  

Management & Prevention Strategies

In addition to medical treatments prescribed by your vet, there are also some management strategies you can use at home to help keep your pup comfortable:  

• Cleaning away any debris from around their eyes regularly with warm water and cotton balls  

• Applying artificial tears regularly as directed by your vet  

• Setting up humidifiers to help keep their eyes moist  

• Feeding them a balanced diet with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation  

In addition to these strategies, taking preventative measures to reduce your pup’s chances of developing epiphora is essential. This includes regularly checking their eyes for any changes and taking them for regular check-ups with your vet. It’s also important to be aware of any underlying conditions that may increase their risks, such as allergies or autoimmune diseases, and seek treatment if necessary.


Epiphora can be uncomfortable for dogs, but it can usually be managed effectively with prompt diagnosis and treatment. By understanding what epiphora is and recognizing its signs early on, you will be better equipped to provide appropriate care for your puppy’s peepers!

Ethan More

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