How to Recognize and Treat Cherry Eye

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How To Recognize And Treat Cherry EyeBelieve it or not, canines have a third eyelid! Fascinating, right? Known as the nictitating membrane, the third eyelid protects the eye; it contains glands that produce tears that lubricate and cleanse the eye. When the eye is healthy, you’ll never see the third eyelid; however, sometimes, it can bulge or pop out, and when it does, your pup’s eye will look red around the inner corner. This is a condition known as cherry eye.

As a pet parent, it’s your job to offer your pup the proper care that he needs when he needs it; that includes recognizing the signs of cherry eye an knowing how to treat it. Let’s take a look at what causes cherry eye, how to notice the signs and symptoms, and what you should do if you suspect your furry friend has developed this condition.

Causes of Cherry Eye

Since all canines have third eyelids, they can all develop cherry eye; however, some breeds are more prone to the condition, such as:

  • Bulldogs
  • Beagles
  • Basset hounds
  • Bloodhounds
  • Boston terriers
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Lahsa Apsos
  • Saint Bernards
  • Shar-Peis

The exact cause of cherry eye isn’t really known; however, it’s believed to be linked to a weakness in the connective tissues that are linked to the ligaments that keep the eyelid in its position.

How to Treat Cherry Eye

If you suspect that your pet has developed cherry eye, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. In some cases, the eyelid may pop back in on its own; however, medical intervention may be necessary, such as surgery. Depending on the severity, non-invasive treatments may be effective; for example, over the counter medications for dogs, such as eye drops may help soothe the inflammation so that the lid will pop back in. After performing a thorough examination, your veterinarian will let you know the best approach to take.

Whatever the treatment may be, use caution with your pup. For example, avoid getting any dog shampoo near his eyes while bathing him (especially if it’s medicated dog shampoo); or, better yet, avoid bathing until the condition has been corrected and instead, freshen your pup up with a dry shampoo for dogs or a dog deodorizer.


If you have a breed that is prone to cherry eye, or he has suffered from the condition before, there are things you can do to prevent it from occurring. Make sure that his dog collar fits properly; if it’s too tight, it could cause the lid to bulge out. If he has a tendency to pull while you’re walking him, invest in a leash for dogs that pull and walk him on a dog harness.  When you’re playing, try to avoid using too much force; for example, if your pup has a tight grip on his rope and tug toy, don’t overdue the pulling, as it can cause excess strain on the ligaments.

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