A dog swollen eye can be a sign of a serious health problem. Learn what causes eye swelling in dogs, how to treat it, and when to see a vet.

If you have a dog, you know how much they love to explore the world with their eyes. They sniff, lick, and chase anything that catches their attention. 

But sometimes, this curiosity can get them into trouble. 

A dog’s swollen eye can be a result of an injury, infection, allergy, or disease. It can be painful and uncomfortable for your furry friend, and it can also lead to complications if left untreated.

In this article, we will explain what causes eye swelling in dogs, how to treat it at home and when to seek professional help or when to go to pets supermarket, and how to prevent it from happening again. 

We will also share some tips on how to keep your dog’s eyes healthy and happy.

What Causes Eye Swelling in Dogs?

There are many possible causes of eye swelling in dogs. Some of the most common ones are:

Allergic reaction

Just like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to certain substances, such as pollen, dust, insect bites or stings, food, or medication. 

This can cause their eyes to become red, itchy, watery, and swollen. Sometimes, the swelling can also affect other parts of the face or body.

Corneal abrasion

The cornea is the clear layer that covers the front of the eye. It can get scratched or injured by foreign objects, such as dirt, sand, grass, thorns, or sticks. 

This can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling of the eye. It can also increase the risk of infection if bacteria enter the wound.

Dry eye

Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), this condition occurs when the dog does not produce enough tears to lubricate the eye. 

This can cause dryness, irritation, inflammation, and swelling of the eye. It can also lead to corneal ulcers or infections if not treated properly.


This is a disease that causes increased pressure inside the eye. It can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss if left untreated. 

It can also cause the eye to bulge and appear larger or swollen than normal.


An abscess is a collection of pus that forms due to an infection. It can occur in different parts of the body, including the mouth, skin, or eye. 

A tooth root abscess can cause swelling under the eye if it affects the upper fourth premolar. A skin abscess can cause swelling near the eye if it is located on the face.


A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that can be benign or malignant (cancerous). It can occur in different parts of the body, including the mouth, face, or skull. 

A tumor can put pressure on the eye and cause it to swell or protrude. 

It can also affect other structures around the eye, such as the eyelids or tear ducts.

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How to Treat a Dog Swollen Eye at Home

If you notice that your dog has a swollen eye, you may wonder if you can treat it at home or if you need to see a vet. The answer depends on several factors, such as:

  • The severity of the swelling
  • The presence of other symptoms
  • The possible cause of the swelling
  • The duration of the swelling
  • The response to home remedies

In general, mild cases of eye swelling that are caused by allergies or minor injuries may be treated at home with some simple steps:

  • Remove the irritant
  • Apply a cold compress
  • Give antihistamines 
  • Monitor the swelling
  • Keep an eye on your dog’s swollen eye and see if it improves or worsens over time. 

However, if the swelling persists or gets worse, or if your dog shows any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible:

  • Severe pain or distress
  • Difficulty opening or closing the eye
  • Discharge from the eye (yellow, green, or bloody)
  • Cloudiness or change in color of the eye
  • Loss of vision or pupil dilation
  • Fever or lethargy
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Swelling of other parts of the face or body

How to Prevent Eye Swelling in Dogs?

While some causes of eye swelling in dogs are unavoidable, such as genetic defects or diseases, there are some steps you can take to prevent or reduce the risk of eye swelling in dogs:

Keep your dog’s eyes clean

Regularly check your dog’s eyes for any signs of dirt, debris, discharge, or irritation. Gently wipe them with a damp cloth or cotton ball soaked in saline solution or water. 

Avoid using soap, alcohol, or human eye drops on your dog’s eyes, as they can cause more harm than good.

Trim your dog’s hair around their eyes

If your dog has long hair that covers their eyes or gets into their eyes, trim it regularly with scissors or clippers. 

This will prevent hair from scratching their eyes or trapping dirt and bacteria that can cause infections.

Protect your dog’s eyes from injury

Avoid letting your dog stick their head out of the car window or run through bushes or tall grass that can injure their eyes. 

Use a leash when walking your dog in unfamiliar areas or near traffic. Provide them with toys that are safe and appropriate for their size and breed. 

Avoid playing with objects that can poke their eyes, such as sticks or balls with spikes.

Protect your dog’s eyes from sun damage

Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned on their eyes if they are exposed to too much UV radiation. 

This can cause inflammation and increase the risk of cataracts or cancer. Provide your dog with shade when they are outside on sunny days. 

You can also use sunglasses or goggles designed for dogs that can protect their eyes from UV rays.


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