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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

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

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 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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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 ?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 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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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?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 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

My dog who has recently started closing his right eye more than his other one. It isn’t red nor is it crusty, but I did notice he is sensitive to light. Every time I try to take a look he shuts it all the way. He’s only four years old and I fear this could be really bad. What should I do?

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Juno
Chow mix with Great Pyrenees
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Watery eye
eye boogers
Itching

Hi recently I’ve been noticing my dogs eye watering so much as in like noticble tears and some eye boogers, and they’ve got brownish around his eye area, i would usually just wipe it away with a warm wet towel but until recently I’ve noticed his eye gets a little irritated with some like reddish/pinkish spots around, they tear up a lot and I’m getting a bit concerned, today he started to paw at it and to me it seems like he really doesn’t want to or can’t open one of his eyes properly as of tonight I’m a bit worried since I noticed he bumped into some pieces of furniture and he couldn’t really see where his food bowl was at cause it took him a couple second to go towards it. I just wanted to get some possible feedback in what it could be I plan on taking him to the vet as well but I just wanted to get some different opinions

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
There are many different possible causes for eye irritation which may include infections, trauma, small foreign objects, eyelid disorders (entropion, ectropion etc…) among other causes. Your Veterinarian will be able to see specifically what it causing irritation to the eyes and advise you on treatment or surgery (if entropion or ectropion). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kodi
Cavapoo
2 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Itching

Hiya, since this morning my dog has been keeping his right eye minimaly open. He tries to keep it open but cant and ends up rubbing his paw on it.Most of the time he keeps it shut or a tiny bit open.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There can be many causes for the behavior that you are describing - infection, allergy, a foreign body, or an ulcer. Eye conditions can become serious quite quickly, and since he isn't wanting to open the eye and is rubbing it, it is bothering him, and Kodi should be seen by a veterinarian today to have his eye examined and get therapy for it. I hope that all goes well for him.

I tried wiping it but he won’t let me but is it okay if we keep it for 2 days since I’m making the appointment in 2 days because that is the time where we bring him to shower and we are also bringing him to the vet to get his shot in two days so I decided to do it at the same day as his shot.

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Bear
Shih-Tzu
2 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itchy eye
one closed eye
dry eye
Red Eye

Hi, my dogs eye have been red since yesterday and today one of his eye is closed and he can’t open it, I tried wiping it with a clean towel but it didn’t work. Is it okay if we keep it for 2 days since I’m going to the vet in 2 days for his shot and I could just get his shot and check his eye at the same time in 2 days. Is there anything I could do at home to help him or should I just leave him for 2 days and check it at the vet?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
It would actually be best to have Bear seen as soon as possible to have his eye looked at - common causes for this problem can be bacterial infections, allergies, irritants, or corneal ulcers. Eye problems can deteriorate quickly, and should be looked at. If he is otherwise healthy, your veterinarian may be able to give his vaccines 2 days early, but I wouldn't wait to have his eye looked at.

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Izzy
Flat-Coated Retriever
6 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen eye

My dog was playing ball and I kicked it too hard and my dog got in the way. It hit her face and she yelped for a long 5 seconds. She has her eye closed but when it's open it's mostly white. I don't know if this is something I should worry about.

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Lady
Siberian Husky
4 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Red ry
dry eye
Red Eye

Lady has a closed eye and it is getting out eye boogers and her eye is black. What can I do? She always tries to rub it to take out the pain but it keeps hurting.it is a really dry eye so when I get a warm water towel and try to clean it it helps a little

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Without seeing Lady and her eye, I can't comment on what might be going on, but if she is pawing at her eye and won't open it, she needs to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible to have her eye looked at and get any treatment that she needs.

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Frankie
Chihuahua
6 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pus discharge

How should I treat my dog who has a possible eye infection, there was pus coming out of it, and after wiping it away he started opening it from time to time. Is there a way to treat it preferably with out going to the vet?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
A visit to your Veterinarian is ideal, but you can try to treat it by wiping away any discharge, flushing the eye with sterile saline and applying an ophthalmic antibiotic ointment (available from pet shop); you should do this two to three times per day and monitor for improvement. If there is no improvement you should visit a Veterinarian regardless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Tony
Schnoodle
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Redness

My dog have been closing his right eye since yesterday and after taking him to a grooming salon and he been trying to rub it with his paws or his blanket and i noticed that his eyelashes are shorter than usual and his eye is red and he isnt energetic as he use to when we brought him back home he been just sleeping and laying down

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Tony, I am not sure what might be going on with his eye, but possible causes include an irritant, an infection, or a corneal ulcer. Eye problems an become serious quite quickly, so it would be best to have him seen today to have his eye examined by your veterinarian. They can look at the eye, determine what might be going on, and give him treatment so that he is more comfortable. I hope that he is okay.

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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.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 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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Max
Chihuahua
10 Years
Moderate condition
2 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dog had an ulcer in his eye a few weeks ago. The Vet gave us the medicine and he was opening his eye and and not scratching at it. After the week and few days we were to administer the medicine. Now a few weeks later he is scratching his eye again and he won't open it. His Vet isn't open until Tuesday,and it is Saturday . So I don't know if I should put his medicine from last time in his eye till Tuesday. Or if I should try to take him to a different Vet. I don't see redness or swelling. And he isn't crying, but he doesn't like when we touch his face to look at it.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Ideally you should take Max to visit a Veterinarian to confirm it is the same issue before giving any medication, also I don’t know what specifically was prescribed last time so I cannot comment on its use. If you are unable to see the eye, you probably wouldn’t be able to flush it would with sterile saline or anything else, so a visit to a Veterinarian would be best especially if he is scratching at it. 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

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 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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Olaf
Pug Pit
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Closed eye
Red Eye

My pug keeps halfway closing his right eye. It isn’t red nor are there any noticeable boogers but he is sensitive to light. Every time I try too look with a flashlight he shuts it all the way. His other eye seems by the way. He isn’t trying to touch it nor does he seem to be staticky. He’s only four years old and eats healthy, what could this be?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
There are a few possible issues which may include trauma, foreign objects, infections among other causes; you should try to flush the eye out with sterile saline and apply an ophthalmic antibiotic ointment to see if there is any improvement. However the light sensitivity has me concerned as this may be an indication of glaucoma or other similar issues with the eye which would require a thorough examination by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Shela
Pug
9 Years
Serious condition
2 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?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 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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Gabby
Pit Bull Jack Russel Mix
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Discharge
Eye Discharge and rapid blinking

My pit bull-jack russel mix is having eye issues. She is rapidly blinking them and can barley keep them open. There is also eye discharge that crusts. Her eyes were red but now they aren’t.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without examining Gabby it is difficult to say what the specific cause of the specific cause of the eye issues are; you should try to flush the eyes out with sterile saline and apply an ophthalmic antibiotic ointment, any crusts can be removed with a warm damp cloth. If there is no improvement after a day or so you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Hutch
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog has had his eye closed for about 3 hours and he has tried rubbing it but I stopped him I looked at him but he is keeping his eye kinda closed but not fully, what could this possibly be?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Hutch should have his eye examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Possible causes for that behavior might be a bacterial infection, a foreign body in his eye, or a corneal ulcer. Eye conditions can worsen quickly, and since they only have two eyes, it is always best to have them checked out as soon as possible. A veterinarian will be able to look at his eye, determine what might be going on, and give him appropriate treatment. I hope that all goes well for him!

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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.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 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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Gizmo
Shih-Tzu
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

wont open left eye, no discharge

I have a shih-tzu, he will be 12 at the end of this month. The vet recently said that he may have cushings because of an elevated liver level and he has the symptoms of high cortisol levels, licking constantly, panting. Today he wont open his left eye, there is no discharge, he's not rowdy and we didn't see him do anything to hurt it, but he wont open it. Could this be a cushings issue, or something else, what should I do?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
For the time being, keep an eye on Gizmo and see if there is any improvement with the eye; he may have knocked it, scratched it among other issues. If your Veterinarian suspects that he may have Cushing’s, you should have him tested to be on the safe side. Without examining his eye, I cannot say whether or not if it is serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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