Dogs and Bloodshot Eyes - Causes and Treatment
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Dogs and Bloodshot Eyes - Causes and Treatment

Dogs do get bloodshot eyes on occasion and though it can be a temporary, sometimes the condition can be medical. If your dog gets bloodshot eyes, monitor your dog and the situation to find out the cause.

Dogs are prone to getting debris in their eyes even though they do have a third eyelid, designed to protect the eyes. That is because dogs are very inquisitive creatures and can get into trouble as they approach everything headfirst. Bloodshot eyes can be the result of an accident or injury to the eye as well as illness and foreign objects. I think we can rule out a long night at the corner bar.

Finding a cause for bloodshot eyes in dogs is to first determine if one or both eyes are affected. Eyes appear bloodshot because the vessels in the surface of the sclera (white portion of the eye) becomes enlarged and irritated. If you note one eye is bloodshot and possibly teary, chances are there is an injury to the eye such as a scratch, a foreign object in the eye, dust, extreme dry conditions, excess sun exposure or an eyelash irritating that eye. However, if both eyes are bloodshot, there is a definite medical cause such as allergies, trauma, infections, glaucoma or high blood pressure. There may be other causes such as when the pooch hangs the head out of a fast moving car, with high winds affecting the eyes. Chlorine in a pool or a dog being skunked may also show signs of bloodshot eyes as well. There are many conditions that are only temporary and it is your responsibility as the pet parent to determine the possible cause if it happens seldom. Monitor the situation to establish a possible cause. If your dog gets frequent or constant bloodshot eyes, get your dog to the vet to determine if it is a medical cause.

So, what can you do for your dog with minor bloodshot eye problems to help find relief for your pet? The first step is to try and rinse the affected eye/eyes with clear cool water. If you suspect a foreign object in the eye, use a soft cloth, moistened, to gently remove the object. Eyewash may work as well as also bring comfort to your dog’s eye. If you are having no luck helping your dog, do not persist but contact your veterinarian and discuss the situation. It may be necessary to bring your dog in for professional help. You don’t want to hurt your dog further by trying to remove something from the eye and in the end create more traumas.

We all get an occasional irritant in the eye or eyes, possibly resulting in bloodshot eyes. Because of their extreme curiosity, dogs (and cats) can often be affected with something in the eye. In order to help in a pinch for minor problems, keep some sterile saline solution (not contact solution) in your medicine cabinet for such an emergency. Just be sure you recognize if it is a minor problem or something medical and when in doubt, go to your vet to get appropriate care.


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