Why do Pitbull’s eyes turn red?

Eyes are the most sensitive parts of the body, not only for humans but for dogs too.

Your Pitbull’s eyes are just as susceptible to irritation and damage as yours. Red eyes are one of the most common signs of irritation in your Pitbull’s eyes.

Let us find out what can cause your Pitbull’s eyes to turn red.


Allergies are one of the most common reasons for a Pitbull’s eyes turning red. Just like humans, dogs get allergies too. And just like us, their eyes can also get itchy and uncomfortable if they are allergic to something.

Your Pitbull could get seasonal allergies or food allergies. It could also be allergic to some irritants in the environment, such as dirt, dust, fiber, mold, or cigarette smoke.

It could get allergies from trees, grass, flowers, pollen, weed, or insects.

This irritation causes the mucous membrane around the eyes to become inflamed and watery. These allergies could make your Pitbull’s eyes appear red and bloodshot.


Other symptoms for allergies would include itchiness, inflammation, redness, rubbing of face, trying to scratch, watery eyes, and more.

If your Pitbull has a lot of inhalation allergies, they could lose all the hair around their eyes.

Environmental irritants

Your Pitbull could be allergic to some irritants in the environment.

And some of these environmental factors could play a role in turning your Pitbull’s eyes red.

Smoke, chemicals, artificial fragrances can irritate your dog’s eyes. Pesticides or herbicides used to spray on plants could also cause soreness.

If your Pitbull goes to the sea or a swimming pool that has chlorine water, it could cause its eyes to turn red.

Cigarette smoke, smog, and air pollution too can turn your Pitbull’s eyes red.

Usually, environmental irritants are mild and usually, the eyes of your Pitbull will go back to normal after a while or after you have moved away from the cause of irritation.

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Foreign object or injury

If your Pitbull gets poked or hurt in the eye with some object, it will cause an injury that would cause the eye to become red.

Similarly, if some foreign object enters its eye, such as a particle of sand or dust or an insect, it will cause inflammation and an influx of blood vessels to the irritated area.

It will irritate its eye and cause redness.


Your Pitbull’s eye will be red and swollen, causing discomfort.

If it has been knocked by something heavy, it could cause the eyelids to become red and cause swelling.

The tissues around the eyes and the white part of your Pitbull’s eyeball would also become red.

Your pet will also try to paw it constantly, trying to get rid of whatever is stuck in its eye.

You will notice excessive tears from the injured eye. Your Pitbull could also start squinting for a while after it has been injured.


If it is a serious injury, you could see swelling or bleeding in the area of the eyeball. In this case, do not waste any time in taking your Pitbull to the vet.

If there is something in its eye, try to see what it is. You can use a dog eyewash or a saline solution to rinse any particles from its eye.

However, it could be something serious, so make sure you take it to the vet as early as you can, no matter how minor you think the problem is.

Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

A moist, thin, transparent tissue called the conjunctiva lines the inner eyelids and the front of the eyes. When it gets inflamed, it results in conjunctivitis or pink eye.

Pink eyes can cause the eyes to become red. Most of the time, pink eye affects only one of the eyes.

Pink eyes can be caused by environmental irritants like dust or pollen. It can be caused by bacterial or viral, parasitic, or tick-borne infections as well.

It is as common in dogs as it is in humans.


Symptoms can range from mild reddening without any swelling to a very red eye with a lot of swelling.

There will almost always be a discharge from the eyes, which could be thin, clear and mild, or thick and profuse in extreme cases.

Conjunctivitis can be painful for your Pitbull. They could start squinting because of the pain. They might also blink a lot more than normal because of the pain.


Mild cases of conjunctivitis can improve by washing the eyes every two hours with saltwater or herbal tea.

A homemade saline solution or one bought from a pharmacy can be used to dab your Pitbull’s eye using a glass dropper or cotton ball.

Teas like chamomile and Euphrasia are good choices to improve the conjunctivitis of your Pitbull.

Letting the tea steep and cool down and then using a cotton ball to soak it up and dribble it into your pet’s eyes could help greatly.

There are also some homeopathic practices that could help with a lot of eye issues with your Pitbull.

However, make sure to consult your vet first before trying any remedies on your Pitbull. If the problem persists, then take treatments from the vet.

Dry eye

When a Pitbull suffers from a dry eye, the tear glands dry up.

This happens because the immune system of your dog attacks the tear glands. Other causes include nerve damage, side effects of drugs, or hormonal diseases, although these causes are very rare.

The eye of your Pitbull will be red and dry, with a sticky discharge coming out of it. This redness occurs because the tear glands do not produce enough tears.

The dry eye could require life-long treatment, so consult a vet and do not try to do anything on your own.

Cherry eye

Dogs have a third eyelid that is usually hidden. A genetic disorder present in some dogs weakens the ligaments that hold this eyelid in place.

This causes the third eyelid to inflame and poke out from behind the eyelid in the inner corner of the eye as a small red bump looking like a cherry.

Cherry eye is also known as ‘everted nictitans’. It is more common in young dogs. It is not necessarily painful, but exposure to air can make it irritable.

If untreated, it can lead to dry eye, corneal ulcers, or conjunctivitis which could cause pain or even loss of vision.

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Glaucoma is a very serious issue. It is the build-up of fluids and pressure to your dog’s eye. If your dog has glaucoma, it will turn its eyes red.

If not treated quickly and properly, glaucoma could also lead to blindness.


Symptoms for glaucoma include your Pitbull rubbing its eyes constantly, pupils of different sizes, tearing, squinting, redness, swelling, cloudy vision, loss of vision, and sensitivity to light.


Your vet will prescribe the necessary medications needed to treat your Pitbull’s glaucoma. In some cases, your Pitbull might need surgery.

It might even involve removing the eye out.

Corneal ulcer

The clear membrane over the front of the eye is called the cornea. It is important to allow light to enter the eye.

If the cornea gets scratched by your Pitbull or by any external object, it will make way for a bacterial infection. It can also happen due to eyelash or eyelid disorders.

Corneal ulceration causes severe inflammation in the eye.

Your Pitbull’s body will send blood vessels from the outer margin of the eye to the site of infection to try and heal the ulcer.

Blood vessels have the important nutrients necessary for healing. This is a good sign.

As the bacteria grows, it causes the cornea to dissolve, which can be very painful.

If the ulcer gets deep and is left untreated, it could result in the eye rupturing and loss of vision.


Symptoms of corneal ulceration include squinting, keeping the eyes closed, excessive tearing, discharge from the eye, redness of the eye, lethargy, decreased appetite, and even decreased playfulness.

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Inflammation of the middle layers of the eye could be a sign of uveitis.

Uveitis can be caused by a variety of reasons –viral diseases like

  1. Rabies,
  2. Bacterial diseases like Lyme disease or leptospirosis,
  3. Parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis,
  4. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure,
  5. In rare cases fungal diseases,
  6. Foreign object or injury, inflammatory conditions,
  7. Cataracts,
  8. Eye cancers,
  9. Tick-borne diseases,
  10. Immune-mediated diseases.

Skin disease

There are some skin diseases such as mange, pyoderma, allergies, or some types of cancer that can cause reddening around the eye area.

You need to consult a vet to find the actual cause of the redness.


When you take your dog to the vet for any issues related to its eyes, the vet will usually do some or all of the following:

Ophthalmologic exam: The first step will always be conducting a detailed eye exam, in which they will examine all the parts of the eyes and check the source of the redness.

Schirmer tear test: To see if the eye is able to lubricate properly or if your Pitbull has a dry eye, they will conduct the Schirmer tear test.

It involves placing small strips of paper in the lower eyelid. It could be uncomfortable for your Pitbull, but it is not painful.

They may also take a sample of watery fluid from your dog’s eyes to test whether there is any other issue.

Fluorescein stain test: This test involves a colored dye that is harmless to the dogs. It is applied to the eye, which helps the vets see any scratches or corneal injuries that are not otherwise visible to the eye.

Blood test: If there are any other medical problems or illnesses that could cause eye issues, your vet could take blood tests of your Pitbull to determine what is wrong with the eye.

Internal pressure: A tool called a tonometer is used to check the internal pressure of your dog’s eye.

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How to keep your Pitbull’s eyes healthy?

Clean the gunk from your Pitbull’s eyes as needed. Gently wipe it with a damp tissue or cotton ball from the inside to the outside. Make sure that you don’t touch the eyeball.

Your Pitbull hanging its head out of the car window to look outside might look cute, but there is a good possibility of eye injury. Keep the windows rolled up enough that your dog can’t put its head out, or invest in dog goggles.

Take your Pitbull to the vet regularly for a full checkup, usually once a year for young adults and twice a year for older dogs.

Pay attention to your dog. If it is scratching or rubbing its eyes often, it means that there is a problem with its eyes.