Skip to Content

13 Reasons Why Your Pug Has Red / Bloodshot Eyes + 3 Tips

Why Does My Pug Have Red Eyes

Pugs have adorable puppy dog eyes that make them lovable.

They look like animated teddy bears that never grow!

But sadly, what makes your Pug cute also makes it vulnerable. You may be worried sick about why on earth your furbaby has bloodshot eyes.

Keep reading to find out:

  • When red eyes are harmless.
  • What to do when this happens.
  • 13 causes for your Pug’s bloodshot eyes.
  • How to know if a bee stung their eyeball.
  • And so much more…

Why does my Pug have red eyes?

Your Pug has red eyes due to the following reasons: allergy, irritation, injury, dryness, tear gland inflammation, eyelash abnormalities, eyelid issues, eye ulcer, Pigmentary Keratitis, Glaucoma, bulged eyes, and bee sting.

13 reasons why your Pug has red/bloodshot eyes

#1: Allergy

Pugs have flat faces and eyes that stick out a bit. These make them prone to eye problems.

One common issue is allergy – from food, air, and skin.

Poor babies!

When it comes to food, common triggers are additives, grain fillers, and dairy products. Here are some ingredients that may be causing allergies:

  • Soy.
  • Milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Corn.
  • Wheat.
  • Food coloring.
  • Artificial flavoring.
  • Synthetic preservatives.

Your Pug may have also inhaled an allergen. Watch out for the following: pollen, weed, grasses, and dust mites. You should also avoid using air fresheners and sprays when your Pug is around.

Warning: You might think that because it’s winter, allergies should be scratched off of your list. But there are trees such as the Mountain Cedar that pollinate during this time.

There’s also stuff that your Pug’s eyes may have come in contact with that’s causing the redness. These include plastic bowls, fabrics, and even some toys.

So, how do you know for sure if your Pug is allergic to something? Well, both eyes should be red plus other symptoms should be present too:

  • Colds.
  • Rashes.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy paw.
  • Coughing.
  • Thinning fur.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Goo on their eyes.
  • Fluids on their nose.

Weird behaviors like chewing at paws or other body parts, rubbing on surfaces, and scratching their ears may also appear.

#2: Irritated eyes

As you already know, Pugs are tiny dogs. They are closer to the ground than other breeds. This makes their eyes even more vulnerable.

Sometimes, the problem is as harmless as irritation. Your Pug may have dust or small debris in their eyes that need to be flushed out.

Ask yourself:

Are you keeping your Pug in a clean and dust-free area? Did you recently take it somewhere that may have caused this?

In this case, a handy canine eye rinse is the solution. Here are other tell-tale signs of irritation:

  • Squinting.
  • Eye fluids.
  • Dull iris color.
  • Blinking too often.
  • Bright light sensitivity.
  • Swelling of the lower or upper eyelid.

#3: Eye injury or trauma

Is your Pug overly active when it comes to playtime? Do they bolt around carelessly hitting furniture along the way?


Do they constantly fight with other pets? Did they get struck by someone or something on the face?

If so, their red eyes may be from an injury. It’s possible that their eyes got scratched or experienced blunt trauma.

Observe your Pug if they are rubbing or pawing their eyes. Also, ask around. Something may have happened to the poor thing without your knowing.

#4: Dry eyes

Dry eyes, or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, are not an ordinary problem. It’s very painful for dogs.

Pugs, especially middle-aged and senior ones, usually have this. But, dehydration and a bad diet could also cause it.

You can spot it through the following symptoms:

  • Swollen eyelids.
  • Weakened vision.
  • Blinking too often.
  • Third eyelid showing.
  • Thick yellow eye goo/pus.

Warning: If you do not deal with this early, your Pug may lose their vision.

You can only confirm this if you go to the vet and your Pug takes a Schirmer tear test. You’ll be given medication for the pain and swelling, eye drops, and/or antibiotics.

#5: Cherry eyes

Did you know that dogs have three eyelids? The third one closes across the eyes.

The next possible cause I’ll discuss is grossly named Cherry eyes. This happens when the third eyelid becomes swollen, thus looking like a cherry.

Too graphic?

Sorry about that. This one really needed your attention. Your Pug will need corrective surgery to treat this.

Other symptoms include eye goo, swollen eye, impaired vision, bad vision, excessive blinking, and squinting.

#6: Eyelash Issues

Pug's Eyelashes Can Cause Red Eyes

Two types of lash issues cause bloodshot eyes. The first one is called Distichiasis or extra eyelashes. The second is Ectopic Cilia, where lashes grow inward and touch the eyeball.


Both aren’t normal. They really hurt and are dangerous.

Because the eyeballs are constantly getting poked at, your Pug’s eyes are at risk of getting corneal ulcers.

Some owners go to such heights as plucking the eyelash responsible. But, this is only a temporary solution. Eyelash hair regrows within 4 to 5 weeks.

That’s why if you see redness combined with your Pug pawing at their eyes, excessive tears, change in iris pigmentation, and unusual eyelid twitching, go to the vet.

The follicle and eyelash are both removed during a minor procedure so that your Pug won’t suffer in the future.

#7: Eyelid problems

The next item is similar to the previous one. It’s also caused by eyelashes touching the eyes. But, the culprit for this one are the eyelids.

This condition, also called Entropion, is common to Pugs. What happens is that the upper or lower eyelid goes inward.

Oh, dear!

Imagine having an entire set of lashes hurting your eyeballs! This leads to scarring on the eyes, vision problems, and if left untreated, loss of sight.

Signs that your Pug might be suffering from this are swelling around the eyes, pain, and irritation.

For extremely minor cases, your Pug will be given meds and their eyelids are temporarily stitched into their proper place. It is more common though that corrective surgery is needed so that the eyelids are permanently positioned where they need to be.

#8: Eye ulcers

Eye ulcers happen when the cornea, which is a transparent and shiny film of the eye, is scraped. This is another common eye problem with Pugs. 

The redness happens when something gets caught in your Pug’s eyes. If your dog likes to rub their head on the ground, it can also cause this damage.

So, watch out furparents!

You’ll know if your Pug has a corneal ulcer if they show the following:

  • Eye goo is present.
  • They keep pawing at it.
  • They’re sensitive to light.
  • They keep their eyes closed.
  • They rub their eyes on a surface.

The treatment for this depends on how deep the scrape is. It can range from topical antibiotics, surgeries, and even transplants.

#9: Eye discoloration

If you’re seeing a brown color spreading from your Pug’s iris paired with bloodshot eyes, this might be Pigmentary keratitis. About 50% of Pugs will experience this.

Sometimes it pops up for absolutely no reason. But, it may also tell you that your Pug has some underlying health issues.

Warning: You need to take them to the vet at once. If you ignore this, it may lead to sight issues and even blindness.

#10: Cloudy eyes

Do your Pug’s eyes seem cloudy and swollen with redness? There’s a high chance that Glaucoma is the cause.

Oh, no!

There might be fluid buildup in their eyes, creating pressure there. If you suspect your Pug has Glaucoma, please schedule an appointment with the vet.

Pugs are more likely to have this than other breeds. And if left untreated, this leads to blindness.

It’s caused by tumors, bleeding, lens damages, and uveitis or inflammation in the inner eye.

#11: Pop out eyes

There’s a myth that Pug’s eyes pop out for no reason. Actually, this only happens very rarely.

And when it does, it’s probably caused by what’s called Proptosis. This happens with redness accompanied by bulged eyes.

And, it’s a scene straight out of a horror movie!

This happens when your Pug’s head gets hit or when the face’s skin is pulled way too hard. They won’t be able to close their eyelids and their eyes become dry.

Go straight to the vet.

And, take extra care when this happens. Your Pug’s eye is so exposed that their cornea can easily get damaged.

#12: Bee sting

Pug Stung By A Bee

On rare occasions, your Pug’s eye might be red because a bee stung it. Imagine how painful that is…

A bee sting on any part of the body is painful on its own. It surely hurts, even more, when it’s on the eye.

Without a doubt, this is an emergency!

Your Pug might be allergic to this.

Plus, the stinger may also be stuck in the dog’s eye causing corneal damage. Even if the sting didn’t reach the eyeball, there’s severe swelling that needs treatment.

So, if you see this with hives and troubled breathing, go to the vet straight away.

#13: Bad breeding

There’s no easy way to break it to you.

One cause for a Pug’s health issues, thus its red eyes, is bad breeding. You might’ve bought a Pug from an irresponsible breeder.

I don’t blame you.

Most furparents aren’t aware that this part is very important. If the puppy is cute and if it likes you, that’s usually it.

However, this part matters. Breeding practices heavily affect the health of dogs. 

But, what exactly is bad breeding?

It’s when breeders provide limited to no vet care. They keep them in small, crowded, and dirty kennels.

Also, the food for the puppies and their moms aren’t nutritious enough. In the worst scenarios, the female dog’s teeth are removed so they can’t fight back against breeding every single heat cycle.

This weakens them and they become sick. It’s horrifying.

But that’s not all…

There’s also the case of inbreeding. In an effort to create purebreds, some breeders just let the dogs mate with their relatives.

Yep, you read that right. Why on earth would they do that?

Well, it all boils down to money.

Purebreds are more expensive compared with mixed breeds. Furparents love them because desired traits such as intelligence, temperament, coat colors, etc. are surely passed down.

Let me explain this to you.

We all know that every dog has a distinct personality. But, if it’s purebred, you can expect similar characteristics.

Pugs, for example, are companion dogs. Even if you have a shy or playful one, you know that they’ll always be gentle.

Mixed breed dogs, on the other hand, are like mystery boxes. Each one has trait combinations that are impossible to guess.

Despite it’s perceived advantages, inbreeding is still huge no-no.

It makes the puppies prone to birth defects, weak immune systems, short lifespans and inherited genetic diseases. Plus, for every litter of inbred pups, there will always be a stillborn.

Why are they even allowed to make these dogs suffer? The thing is, they’re not.

Breeding in itself isn’t an illegal business. However, animal cruelty is against the law.

So, if you or someone you know comes across a bad breeder, report them. You can do so in the following ways:

  • Call the local police.
  • Contact the Humane Society.
  • Get in touch with animal control.
  • Reach out to the American Kennel Club or ASPCA.

Make sure you give them the breeder’s name, the location of the puppy mill, and a thorough description of their bad breeding practices.

But, how do you spot a bad breeder before buying a puppy? Here are some red flags:

Some breeders don’t show you the Pug’s parents. They only schedule meetups in public places. Even pet stores aren’t excluded from this.

Do this next time:

Go where the parents and litters live so you can get more info. Ask the breeder for certification, where they go for vet care, etc.

If you sense they are dodging questions, that’s a bad sign. A good breeder won’t be scared to answer anything you ask.

3 tips on what to do if your Pug has red / bloodshot eyes

#1: Vet visit

The first thing you should do is take your Pug to the vet. Do this even if symptoms may seem mild.

The thing is eye injuries heal fast. But, they can also get worse when ignored.

Warning: What might have been a simple trip to the vet may cost you surgery from a specialist. Don’t risk it.

As mentioned before, eye problems are pretty common for this breed. You should take extra care and do your best to prevent serious eye issues in the future.

#2: Home care

Here’s an at-home first aid tip.

Buy an eye rinse for dogs. Gently open your Pug’s eyes and put 4 to 5 drops in the lower eyelid.

Let your Pug blink. The mix of their tears and the eyedrop will spill. So, use a clean soft cloth to wipe this off.

Do this as often as needed.

Also, don’t let your Pug touch their eyes. If you have a cone or thick collar, this can prevent it.

#3: Herbs

You can also use herbs to relieve bloodshot eyes. Eyebright is a good option.

You’ll need about 30 ml (1 ounce) of it. Put it in boiling water and keep it there for at least 60 minutes. It’s even better if it stays there the entire night.

Once cooled, you can apply it as much as four times a day. Marigold can also be used because of its zeaxanthin content.

Also, Astaxanthin, which is an algae, is good for the eyes. It has antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help soothe your Pug’s eyes.

3 Pug eye care prevention tips

#1: Routine eye care

Let’s face it.

Your Pug’s eyes are going to need lots of love and care. So, here are some routine eye care tips to keep in mind.

Keep loose hairs, even shampoos, far from your Pug’s eyes when grooming. Once a day, wipe away any eye goo, debris, bits of food, etc. from their eyes.

Make sure your wipe has no additives. These may hurt your Pug’s eyes. Cotton pads and a soft clean cloth are safe options.

#2: Improved diet

The quality of your Pug’s food can affect the health of their eyes. So, take a look at the ingredients of your dog’s current kibble.

Is it nutritious enough?

Does it have allergens? It’s always good to do your personal research. This way you’ll ensure the dog food you’re giving is the best one for your individual Pug and their overall health.

Cheap and packaged dog food can be harmful to your Pug. So, why not add natural food to their diet?

Here are some options.

Sardines have omega oils that do wonders for the eyes. Carrots and pumpkin contain carotenoids that also help. 

Also, broccoli and kale contain important phytonutrients. Blueberries, on the other hand, are good for the eyes because of its antioxidant content.

#3: Dust-free floors

If your floors are unfinished or dusty, your Pug’s eyes are in danger. Always make sure that their environment is clean.

This can prevent debris and dust from getting in their eyes.

As they say, prevention is better than cure.

#4: Pug-proof home

Another precaution you can take is to make your home Pug-proof. Keep sharp objects hidden.

You can put paddings on edged furniture. Don’t use sprays and air fresheners when your dog is around. Toxic substances should also be kept out of reach.

Be sensible.

Provide a safe space for your Pug. You can also buy a portable and detachable dog fence and keep the little one there.

#5: Yearly checkups

Your Pug’s eyes are very delicate. That’s why they have to be routinely taken to the vet.

For starters, remember this:

For puppies, they need monthly vaccinations until they’re 4 months old. In the fourth month, they require flea and heartworm shots.

In the sixth month, dogs need to be spayed/neutered.

For older dogs, keep this in mind:

When your Pug is 1 year old, take it once a year for a checkup. For ones eight years and older, vet visits should be twice per year.