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Dog Eye Infections: What You Should Know

Eye infections in dogs have similar symptoms and underlying causes as human eye infections. While eye infections can exist as a problem of their own, they can also be a sign of underlying eye or health conditions. As a pet owner, it’s crucial to understand the causes and signs of an eye infection in dogs to prevent lasting damage.

Types of Eye Infections

Most eye infections are either viral or bacterial and can show up in a variety of ways. Pink eye, dry eye, and corneal infections or ulcers are some of the most common types of eye infections. Depending on the breed, abnormalities in your dog’s eyelids and tear glands can make them more susceptible to eye infections or other eye conditions.

What Causes Eye Infections in Dogs?

Eye infections aren’t just limited to viruses and bacteria. Some common causes of eye infections in dogs include:

  • Viruses – distemper, herpes, etc.
  • Bacteria – canine brucellosis, leptospirosis, etc.
  • Fungal spores
  • Irritants or allergens
  • Foreign objects
  • Scratched or ulcerated cornea
  • Underlying health conditions – abnormal eyelid conformation, lack of tear production, etc.

Signs Your Dog Has an Eye Infection

Treating your dog’s eye infection quickly is critical to preventing further damage to their vision, so it’s important to recognize the signs. As a dog owner, you know your dog best. When looking for signs of an eye infection, look for anything out of the ordinary.


Redness and swelling of the eye are easy to spot, especially when accompanied by your dog scratching its face. You may even notice your dog dragging their face across furniture or flooring in an attempt to relieve the itchy sensation.

Goop or Crust Around the Eyes

Some level of eye discharge or “boogers” is normal, especially right after your dog wakes up. If you’re noticing an increased amount of goop or crust forming around your dog’s eyes, it may be a sign they’re dealing with an eye infection. Eye discharge can be an indicator of other health issues too, so contact your veterinarian to get the right treatment.

Watery Eyes

Just like our eyes, a dog’s eyes may water more than usual from irritants or a foreign body. Watery discharge is fine to monitor over the next day or two if no other signs of infection are present. However, if your dog has other symptoms of an eye infection, it’s important to call your veterinarian.

Yellow or Green Eye Mucus

Yellow or green discharge is likely an eye infection, particularly if inflammation and itchiness seem to be bothering your dog too. Because colored mucus can be seen in a variety of eye conditions, seeing a veterinarian is the best way to treat any eye concerns.

When Should You Call Your Veterinarian?

If you suspect your dog is suffering from an eye infection, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Left untreated, eye infections can spread and even lead to vision loss or blindness. Depending on your dog’s needs, your veterinarian will form a treatment plan that works to get rid of your dog’s eye infection.

Find Pet Care You Can Count On

At Care First Animal Hospital, our team provides exceptional veterinary care to pets throughout the Triangle. Whether you’re in need of an emergency clinic or a same-day visit, we strive to keep your pets happy and healthy. Schedule an appointment with Care First today.

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