My Dog's Eyes Are Squinting

It may be cute when your dog appears to be letting you in on a secret by winking in your direction, but winking is not a normal part of dogs' social repertoire. What you're seeing is known medically as blepharospasm. This squinting behavior is usually due to either irritation or photosensitivity - sensitivity to light. While squinting may be corrected using at-home means, it is never something that should be ignored or overlooked.

What to Look For

Follow the directions for examining your dog's eyes in “My Dog's Eyes Are Red”.

What to Do

Answering the questions in “My Dogs Eyes Are Red” and the ones that follow here should help you figure out why your dog is squinting and what you can and should do about it:

  • Does your dog stop squinting in the darkness or shade? If so, then your dog is photosensitive. This could be due to any irritation that might cause abnormally dilated pupils, such as a retrobulbar abscess or a corneal ulcer. Regardless of the source of the photosensitivity, it is always a symptom that requires veterinary intervention.
  • Is your dog trying to scratch or rub the affected eyes? Start by applying an Elizabethan collar to prevent any further trauma to the eye. Next, employ the techniques for flushing your dog's eyes in “How to Flush and Treat Your Dog's Itchy, Irritated Eyes” [not available online]. Don't assume that this is the end of the story. If your dog has an injury or damage to any of the tissues associated with the eye, the flushing will only serve as a temporary, pain-reducing measure. A variety of eye problems - including corneal ulcers, bacterial conjunctivitis, and periorbital masses - may cause enough discomfort to prompt scratching and/or rubbing.

Plan on seeing your vet if the simple flush and soothe technique doesn't solve the problem within a few days.