Here's What You Need To Know About Dry Eyes In Dogs

Here's What You Need To Know About Dry Eyes In Dogs

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, known simply as dry eyes, affects up to 1.52% of dogs in North America. It is a painful condition, more common in females aged 4 to 6 years. Here’s what you need to know.


  1. Immune system problems. For around 80% of dogs, this is the cause of dry eyes.
  2. Chronic disease. A viral infection or other disease can lead to dry eyes.
  3. Metabolic problems. Dogs with diabetes and hypothyroidism may develop dry eyes as a complication.
  4. Drug-related. Certain drugs can lead to toxicity issues that manifest, in part, in this eye problem.
  5. Idiopathic. Some dogs can simply develop dry eye without a clear cause.
  6. A genetic ocular defect. This rare cause occurs when dogs are born with dry eyes.
  7. Infections. A central nervous system infection can affect the tear glands.
  8. Iatrogenic. For some dogs who require the removal of their third eyelid due to cherry eye, dry eyes are a common result.
  9. Radiation. Dogs who have direct and frequent contact with sources of radiation, such as X-rays, can develop dry eyes in rare occasions.
  10. Breed. Certain pedigree breeds are at a higher risk of developing dry eyes. Talk to your vet about your dog’s risk.


  • Swollen eye and blood vessel surfaces
  • Rubbing the eyes or face
  • Stick eyes
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Dull eyes
  • Dried mucus or pus around the eye
  • Vision loss
  • Prominent third eyelid
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Eye ulcers


  1. Antibiotic Drops. These are typically used in order to solve secondary infections before the use of immunosuppressants.
  2. Artificial Tears. Tear substitutes may be used in order to help stimulate the tissue in a dog’s eyes. There are three kinds; the best one for your dog will be decided by a vet.
  3. Cyclosporine. This immunosuppressant must usually be used for 2-3 months.
  4. Surgery. This is a last-resort option if no less invasive treatments work.

Feature Image Source: Pixabay

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