Eye Condition: Allergies

Your dog’s eye health is essential to everyday comfort and well-being. Understanding the potential risks and conditions can empower you to ensure your dog’s long-term eye health.


Dogs can have allergic reactions that affect their eyes with similar symptoms and causes to us humans. Imagine the itching and irritation you feel and you’ll know exactly how your dog feels.


The most common causes of allergic reactions that affect the eyes are inhaled substances such as dust, pollen, mold spores and mildew. These allergies may occur seasonally, as in most cases of grass pollen, or year-round, as with molds, mildew and house dust. Providing this information to your veterinarian can help narrow the diagnosis.

Clinical Signs

You’ve likely experienced or seen these same symptoms in people you know who have eye allergies.

Scratching eyes

Rubbing the eyes or surrounding skin
by rubbing on furniture or with
their paws

Watery discharge

Clear, tear-like discharge that
may be excessive


Trying to keep eyes closed; may
be prolonged and excessive


Eyes appear dry without
usual brightness


Eyes appear bloodshot and dull

Colored discharge

Indicative of an eye infection, which
may develop secondary to an
eye allergy


The best way to identify and effectively treat an eye problem is to see a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist who can confirm or rule out eye allergies. If an allergy is diagnosed, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like a steroid, antihistamines or allergy shots. If the source of the allergy can be determined, avoiding or reducing exposure may be the most effective way to prevent the reaction.

With any eye condition, consulting your veterinarian is best.

Because many eye conditions have similar symptoms, it’s wise to seek advice from your veterinarian. Some symptoms may fool you into thinking it’s only minor, which can result in an unexpected ocular emergency. Things can go downhill quickly with certain eye conditions so a “better safe than sorry” approach is recommended.