Why Are My Dogs Eyes Red Like A Tomato?

Dogs are prone to getting reddish eyes. Your dog having red eyes may be nothing serious or something to worry about. There are a couple of reasons why dogs get red eyes. Why are my dog’s eyes red?

There are several reasons why a dog would have red eyes. Irritation, allergies, and pink eye are the most common causes of red eyes in dogs. Some less likely scenarios are glaucoma or tear glands that don’t wet the eye. 

I know that some of these sound really scary but don’t worry yet. There is a way to find out what’s wrong with your dog. Red eyes should not be ignored even if it’s nothing serious. Red eyes always call for some kind of treatment.

Well, that’s what we are here for. Here, you will find a thorough explanation of the causes of red eyes in dogs. We’ll be answering: What to do if your dog has red eyes? And, how to treat red eyes?

What Causes Red Eyes In Dogs

What Causes Red Eyes In Dogs

Let me start off by saying that if you are worried, and the eye doesn’t look good at all, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. There are different types of “red eyes” in dogs.

If your dog has a reddish eye but it doesn’t look too bad, maybe you can do something on your own. If the eye looks really red, swollen up, and it’s blocking the eye vision, go to the vet.

Either way, it’s good to find out the cause of the red eyes. If possible, you can apply a home remedy. Or, you can know what to avoid the next time. Basically, you are estimating whether the red eyes warrant a visit to the vet.

Irritation From The Environment

Dogs have eyes that are easily irritated by something in the environment. Similar to us, but dogs’ eyes are more frequently irritated than ours. The reason being, dogs have their heads close to their heads, so the eyes are more likely to get irritated.

Their eyes have something to protect against these irritants. The tear glands help with keeping the eye wet and protecting the eye. However, this doesn’t work always. Sometimes, the eye is exposed to too many irritants, or the tear production is not producing enough at that time.

So, a dog’s eyes can get irritated when it comes in contact with dust, dirt, hair, and other common environmental irritants. Basically, there are a lot of things that can irritate the eye.

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Try to think if your dog has been around a particularly dusty or dirty area. Or, if it has been exposed to something dangerous for the eyes.

When that happens, the white portion of the eye will start getting red. The dog will most likely be itching the eye, or the eye will be all wet from the excess tear production.

How To Treat Irritated Dog Eyes

Whether this is serious depends on what caused the irritation. For instance, your dog getting red eyes from dust, grass, or hair is nothing serious. However, if your dog’s eye came into contact with something really dangerous like deodorant spray or cleaning solutions, you will need to visit a vet.

Usually, irritated dog eyes are treated by cleaning the dog’s eyes with lukewarm water. If that solution is not working, you may need to visit a vet, so they can prescribe the needed medication. Vets either prescribe teardrops or oral medication.

Eye Injury

Eye Injury


The obvious thing to think of is the dog injuring its eye. Trauma near the eye may cause some blood vessels in the eye to pop. When that happens, the eye turns red because of the blood.

So, did your dog got hit with something in the eye? Did it run into something that scratched the eye? If you weren’t around to notice, check the eye and the area around it for trauma.

[Related Article: 10 Signs That Your Dog Is Crying For Help Or Under Distress]

My Dog Scratched His Eye

If your dog scratched its eye, chances are it’s going to try to touch it with its paw. Even if the scratch is not serious, the dog touching it will make things worse.

So, you need to cover the eye with something. My advice is to cover the eye with a clean damp cloth until you take it to the vet. If you have one of those shame cones around, also known as Elizabethan collar, put that on the dog.


Allergies are also a common cause of red eyes in dogs. Just like humans, dogs are prone to getting an allergic reaction. Usually, these are only mild allergies but they still make the eyes reddish and teary.

It would be worth it to find out what your dog is allergic to. Unfortunately, the most common allergies are seasonal allergies which are really hard to treat.

One way to find out whether the dog’s red eyes are caused by allergies is to follow the other symptoms. Allergies will also make the dog itch and sneeze a lot. The eyes will be watery as well but this is the case with the other causes as well. Fur shedding is also a symptom of allergies.

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[Related Article: 5 Best Dog Food Good For Allergies(Buying Guide) 2021]

How To Treat Allergies In Dogs

It’s best to treat dog allergies with prescription drugs prescribed by vets. Veterinarians will usually prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids. [Source]

You can try some natural home remedies as well. But these are not really effective with severe allergies, especially if you don’t know what is causing them. Basically, you are trying to avoid food sources that carry common dog allergens. Switching to a salmon-based diet with rice is one way to avoid common food allergies.

When it comes to skin allergies, these are mostly caused by something in the environment. It’s hard to pinpoint what is causing the allergies, so maybe think about visiting a vet if it’s severe.

[Related Article: 5 Best Dog Food Good For Allergies(Buying Guide) 2021]

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial Infection

Some things in the environment may cause more than just irritation in the dog’s eyes. I’m talking about bacterial and viral infections in the dog’s eye. These infections usually result in pink eye, the inflammation of the membrane.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is not that serious but it warrants a visit to the vet. The eye can get infected from almost anything, so there’s no way you can help here.

To find out whether we are talking about infection here, look for the common signs. The eyes will be red but puffed up as well. The area around the eyelids will be red or swollen too.

How To Treat Dog Conjunctivitis

Applying something cold to the eye may ease the pain from the dog but it won’t fix conjunctivitis. Dog conjunctivitis is treated with prescription eye drops, steroids, and other anti-inflammatory medication. [Source]


Although glaucoma in dogs is really rare it’s been known to happen. You should check for this only if you are sure that none of the other causes are plausible.

Glaucoma is the damage of the optic nerves in the eyes. It’s caused by too much pressure in the eye. This condition shows symptoms different from the other causes of red eyes. So, it’s fairly easy to spot.

Dogs with glaucoma will have a bad vision in general. The eyes will look unresponsive and cloudy. The dog will be in pain and its eyes will be red. Contact a vet as soon as possible if your dog is showing signs of glaucoma. [Source]

Dry Eye

Lastly, your dog could be having problems with its tear glands. The tear glands are useful but sometimes they don’t produce enough moisture. Especially with some breeds like the Pug.

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When the tear glands can’t produce enough moisture, the eye becomes dry and turns red. Dogs with dry eyes should be taken to the vet so proper medication is prescribed.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is It Normal For Dogs To Have Red Eyes

No, dogs should not have red eyes. Although red eyes in dogs are not always alarming, you should have your dog’s eyes checked out by a vet. It could be allergies or an infection, or something even more serious.

What Do I Do If My Dog Has Red Eyes

If your dog has red eyes, you should try to find out what caused the red eyes. If the red eyes are persistent and caused by something serious, you should contact a vet.

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