Allergy In Dogs Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, and What To Do!

allergy in dogs eyes

Similar to people, dogs can also suffer from allergies that impact their eyes. In fact, allergies affecting the eyes are frequently ranked as one of the most common eye conditions seen in dogs.

An allergic reaction in a dog’s eyes is called conjunctivitis, or allergic conjunctivitis.

What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis means inflammation of the conjunctiva – the transparent membrane covering your eyes – caused by an allergic trigger. Allergic conjunctivitis is the most common form of dog eye allergy.

Allergic conjunctivitis may appear in a dog at any age but it most often appears in dogs under 3 years old.

All dog breeds may develop eye allergies but Boxers, German Shepherds, Retrievers, and West Highland White Terriers commonly experience allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergy in dogs eyes are caused by a billion (maybe) different things but there is a common theme. Like all other allergic reactions, canine eye allergies are also associated with an elevated immune response.

Sometimes, your dog’s immune system may mistakenly spot the allergen as a pathogen – a disease-causing organism, and start an immune reaction against it.

This immune response then causes inflammation at the site where the allergen was detected, causing redness, soreness, itchiness, and a warm feeling.

Common Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis

Dirt, pollen, and dust mites are some of the most common environmental allergens. Allergy in dogs eyes can also be caused by insect bites.

Food allergy may lead to eye symptoms as well. Some home cleaning supplies and even perfumes can also trigger dog eye allergies. Symptoms include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sore skin around the eyes

Dog eye allergies can also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as swollen eyes, recurring itchy skin, frequent ear infections causing itchy ears, and sometimes bowel disturbances as well.

Your dog may also sneeze a lot and have a runny nose. In addition, allergic conjunctivitis may also cause a clear eye discharge, but it’s not that common.

Sometimes, however, allergy symptoms become a little too aggressive.

If your dog experiences a severe allergic reaction to an allergen, it can lead to something called an Anaphylactic shock. This condition results in narrowed airways which leads to breathing difficulty.

Anaphylactic shocks are more severe than seasonal allergies and can endanger the life of your dog.

While you may be able to treat dog eye allergies at home, severe allergies like an anaphylactic shock will require proper treatment from a general practice veterinarian.

Dog Eye Allergies vs infection

While most allergy symptoms also commonly occur with eye infections, it is important to be able to tell the two apart.

Dog eye infections frequently cause eye discharge – thick, greenish, or yellowish secretions that drain from your dog’s eyes. These secretions are called mucoid discharge.

Mucoid discharge is not a feature of allergic conjunctivitis and exclusively indicates an eye infection.

A secondary infection may occur if your dog’s eyes remain dry for extended periods of time. Dogs with eye allergies frequently develop secondary infections.

How Are Dog Eye Allergies Diagnosed?

It is important to diagnose dog allergies because a lot of the symptoms of allergy can also be caused by other more serious diseases, like eye infections.

If your dog has any of the symptoms discussed above, make sure to take the to a veterinarian clinic. Your vet may conduct a physical examination of the eye to definitively diagnose allergic conjunctivitis.

Aside from the ocular symptoms of dog eye allergies, the vet may also look for allergic dermatitis or a skin rash, which is a common feature of dog allergies.

There are three main ways to detect the allergens that cause eye allergies in dogs.

1. Diet-trial test

A diet trial is when you feed your dog a special diet for 6-12 weeks and wait for the symptoms to disappear. This diet can involve a new protein source, or even hydrolyzed proteins – broken-down protein products that won’t cause an allergic reaction in your dog.

If the allergic symptoms disappear with the onset of this new diet, the dog is then challenged with its old diet once again to see if the symptoms reappear.

2. Blood test

A blood test simply looks for antibodies in your dog’s blood against common environmental allergens affecting the general dog population.

3. Skin test

This involves injecting a small amount of allergen under your dog’s skin to simulate an allergic response. The affected skin area is then observed for signs of inflammation.

An emerging test called conjunctival cytology involves taking a tiny sample with a swab stick from your dog’s conjunctiva and examining it under a microscope.

The cytology study is a quick and easy test and may reveal inflammatory cells to help diagnose eye allergies in dogs.

It is important to note, however, a simple skin test may not suffice for dogs having skin-based allergy symptoms and they may require a veterinary dermatologist consult.

Dog Eye Allergy Treatment

If your dog has symptoms of an eye allergy, you can use several home remedies to take care of the problem.

Effective home remedies for dog eye allergies include washing the eyes with normal saline and keeping your dog away from potential allergens.

Unfortunately, home remedies are not very effective at treating allergic conjunctivitis. Taking your dog to the vet is, therefore, the best idea.

The vet will usually prescribe either eye drops or oral medications to help control your dog’s allergic conjunctivitis.

1. Eye drops

Allergic conjunctivitis responds well to ocular drops. Allergy eye drops for dogs include steroidal eye drops, anti-inflammatory drops, and antihistamine drops.

All of these are aimed at decreasing inflammation and halting the allergic response to relieve discomfort.

Be careful about using steroid eye drops though because they can cause cataracts and potential blindness.

2. Oral medications

The doctor may prescribe oral medications if the allergies are severe, unresponsive to drops, or caused by an underlying disease.


Allergic conjunctivitis in dogs is one of the most common eye conditions in canines.

Allergies in dogs may manifest as eye symptoms, including excessive blinking, tearing, and itching. Other symptoms include itchy skin and gut problems.

Allergies are caused by allergens. These can be airborne allergens as well as direct-contact allergens. Young dogs are most often affected by allergies.

Symptoms of dog eye allergies differ in relation to the severity of the allergic response.

More severe reactions can lead to life-threatening situations such as anaphylactic shocks, which will require care from a professional vet. Dog eye allergies are easily treated with both ocular and oral medicines.


How can I treat my dog’s eye allergies?

Washing your dog’s eyes with saline water is the best dog red eyes home remedy, Using saline water to clean your dog’s eyes may be an effective dog itchy eyes home remedy as well.

What do eye allergies look like in a dog?

If you see your dog scratching eyes and developing watery eyes frequently, they may have allergies. Affected dogs may also have itchy skin and other allergic manifestations as well.

What eye drops can I give my dog for allergies?

Using eye drops to treat dog eye allergies on your own is not recommended. You can clean out your dog’s eyes with saline water to relieve discomfort.

But if your dog has had allergies for the first time, taking him to the vet is the best idea.

How do you tell if your dog has an eye infection or allergies?

Dogs with eye allergies will have dry, red eyes with frequent blinking and tearing. Dogs with eye infections may have an eye discharge associated with these symptoms as well.

This eye discharge can be green, yellowish, or any other color depending on the type of infection.

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