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What is Keeping One Eye Closed?

There are times where a dog may keep one eye closed for an extended period of time. He may also try to blink the eye that is affected. When your dog keeps one eye closed, something is amiss. You may want to try looking at the eye yourself to check for other symptoms, but it is a good idea to contact your veterinarian. 

If your dog is keeping one eye closed for more than a few hours, you will need a professional to examine his eye. It is important to address the situation so his eye does not become infected. Your dog may also be in pain, and if he paws at it to rub it, it could make the situation worse. Reasons your dog may be keeping one eye closed are because of:

  • Eye trauma
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • Conjunctivitis

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Why Keeping One Eye Closed Occurs in Dogs

There are several different reasons why your dog may be keeping one eye closed. These conditions are treatable if not left without medical attention for too long. Reasons may include:

Eye Trauma

If the thin tissue on the eye surface is damaged by punctures or any lacerations, the cornea can become very sore and irritated. This will most likely be noticeable to you, as your dog may keep one eye closed or try to blink it repeatedly. He may also paw at his eye as if to relieve the pain. The eye may also be red and have a watery discharge.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or Dry Eye

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or dry eye, is when the tear glands do not make enough moisturizing tears. These tears are very much needed, as they keep foreign substances out of the eye and the tissues within the cornea. With no tears, your dog can get ulcers or irritations, and even eye infections.

Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye

The mucous membranes that are in the eyelids are the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, and is caused by irritation to the eye and infections. Allergies can also cause conjunctivitis. In addition to keeping his eye closed, your dog may also have discharge and crust that develops within and around the eye. The eye will also be red in color.

What to do if your Dog is Keeping One Eye Closed

If you notice your dog keeping one eye closed, it is time to make an appointment with your veterinarian. He will quickly assess your dog’s condition and take a close look at his eye. He may use an ocular instrument so he can see tiny particles that you may not see. If he notices an infection, he may go ahead and prescribe a medication for him. 

He may do a complete physical examination on your companion, as well, just to be sure he doesn’t have any other health issues. He may choose to do blood work, a urinalysis, and biochemistry profile just to get baseline data on your dog’s system and organ functionality.

If your dog has a foreign object in his eye, your veterinarian may also choose to remove it. He may need to numb your dog’s eye in order to do so, and this depends on his condition and the severity of the object and how much it is lodged in his eye area.

Prevention of Keeping One Eye Closed

There are things you can do to prevent your dog from suffering from eye trauma, which is one reason why he may be holding one eye closed. When playing with your dog, avoid having any sharp objects around, especially at eye level. It is a good idea to avoid having any sharp objects that are eye level to the dog altogether in order to prevent any eye trauma. 

If you see your dog’s eye is beginning to look red, and if it has a discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian to get it checked out. This may help ward off infection, as the medical professional may prescribe medication or drops to keep it from becoming worse. 

If your dog lives in a sandy area, or an area with a lot of dust, monitor his eyes frequently so they are kept debris-free. If he goes outside and gets sand or dirt on his paws, he may rub his paws on his face and this may cause the sand or dirt to get in his eye. It may be helpful to wipe off his paws as he comes inside.

Cost of Keeping One Eye Closed

The cost for treatment or removal of a foreign object from the eye can be $600. The cost of any eye infection (conjunctivitis) may approximately be $500.

Keeping One Eye Closed Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Shela
Pug
9 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

dry eye
Closing Eye
Droopy Eye

Since this noon (27.12.17) my dog started closing her right eye and not really opening it all the way. At around 3AM, when she was sleeping, my sister noticed that her eye was looking kind of droopy in the lower eyelid. I'm afraid that this could be something serious and that it could be causing her pain. What does that mean? Could it be something serious and should I take her to the veterinarian or could it be something normal that comes at a certain age, since she's already turning 10 years in 4 months?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
241 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It does not sound like a normal occurrence in a dog, and I do think that you should have her seen by your veterinarian to have her eye examined. Dogs can get bacterial infections, irritations, foreign bodies in their eyes, or corneal ulcers, and pugs are much more prone than other breeds to having trouble with their eyes, since they are so big. If it is an ulcer, they are quite painful and can get worse quickly, so it would be a good idea to have her seen today. I hope that she is okay.

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Oreo
Maltipoo
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Closed eye
Red Eye

The past few days my dog has been rubbing his eye and I saw his eye in it was red and he won’t open it and and it blinking a little what can I do to stop this other than taking him to vet because I don’t got enough money ?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
241 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Oreo should see your veterinarian. He may have a corneal ulcer, or glaucoma, or a bacterial infection. Without seeing him, I cannot comment on a treatment for him. There are many clinics that offer a 'free first exam' so that you could have him seen.

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Frank
Mix
9 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Redness

My dog won't open his eye all the way. Can that be serious? He doesn't cry when you touch it, but we can't get a good look at his eye. He had more sleep in his eye than the other this morning, but not overly goopy.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1807 Recommendations
It may be that Frank has an infection or something else happening with his eye; I would suggest flushing the eye with sterile saline solution and applying an antibiotic ophthalmic ointment in case of infection. Monitor the situation over the next few days but if there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Nyang
Coton de Tulear
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Watery

My dog is blinking her one eye and whenever I touch her head, she's closing that one eye. What do you think the reason? Is there any solution that is available at home? Thanks

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1807 Recommendations
There are various causes for a dog wanting to keep their eye closed which may include infection, inflammation, foreign bodies, nerve damage among other causes; you should flush the eye out with sterile saline and apply an antibiotic ointment twice per day. If you don’t see any improvement over the weekend you should visit your Veterinarian on Monday or Tuesday for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Rosie
Dachshund/Terrier mix
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My dog has had crusty discharge around one eye. That eye also went clear to cloudy to red in the span of a couple of weeks. This morning her eye is closed shut and the crust is thicker. What can I do for her ? Is it too late to save her eye? Thank you.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1807 Recommendations
These types of problems shouldn’t be ignored since they may result in blindness or the loss of an eye; clean the eye with a warm moist towel to remove the crust or discharge then flush the eye with some sterile saline solution and apply antibiotic ophthalmic drops (like Vetericyn). Given the slow and long duration of onset I would highly recommend visiting your Veterinarian for an examination to check the in general. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Annabella
Shih Tzu
3 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My dog has had an irritated eye for almost a week I took her to the vet and the Dr said it was irritated and suggested I use some eye drops some days she is fine then the next she won't open it

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1807 Recommendations
There are various causes for eye irritation, infection being the most common; antibiotic eye drops or an ophthalmic ointment are usually the treatment of choice in these situations but if the problem doesn’t seem to be improving there may be something else going on there which would need to be checked by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Charlie
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Infection
Eye Inflamation

Hi,

My dog is keeping one eye closed. It is also very watery. However, my dog is still running about and is acting normal. But I'm extremely worried.

Is there any way I can help?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1807 Recommendations
There could be something irritating Charlie’s eye, try to flush the eye gently with sterile saline solution (contact lens solution) and after apply an ophthalmic ointment (a specific canine one) to see if there is any improvement. Foreign bodies, infections, trauma, corneal ulcers and other issues may cause a dog to keep his eyes closed; if you see no improvement or are generally concerned visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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