My Dog's Eyes Are Red

Many pet owners feel queasy just talking about their dogs' eyes. As a result, reports on eye problems may be questionably accurate! When describing redness, therefore, it is important to distinguish where the red is. Is it in the anterior chamber, (the portion between the cornea and the iris), the iris (the colored part of the eye), the sclera (the white part of the eye), or the conjunctiva (the tissue surrounding the globe and lining the eyelids)?

What to Look For

Place your dog in an area that affords enough light and space for his comfort and your ability to examine him. Get a flashlight with a bright beam. Cradle your dog's head in both your hands and look straight into his eyes. Observe the upper and lower lids, the tissues surrounding the eyes, and the part of his head that spans the area between his eyes.

Lift each upper lid and tug down on each lower lid to observe the tissues beneath them. Using the flashlight, shine it directly into each eye to check the way your dog's pupils respond. Also shine the flashlight from the side of your dog's eyes to see how it illuminates the clear portion at the front of each globe.

Place your thumb on the upper lid of each eye and press gently down on your dog's eyes in order to assess how hard the eyes feel underneath. By forcing the globes back slightly in their sockets, you will also allow your dog's third eyelids to rise passively, giving you a look at them as well.

Check your dog's ability to see by testing his menace reflex. With the palm of your hand facing your dog, move your hand swiftly from a position about eighteen inches from your dog's eye to within about three inches of your dog's eye. If your dog can see, he'll blink. The absence of that response is a strong indication of reduced or absent vision. Repeat the maneuver a few times to check your result, since some blind dogs may actually blink in response to the movement of air created by your hand.