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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Keeping One Eye Closed Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Cane Corso

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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My dogs left eye has some discharge, it's red, and he keeps it closed

Dec. 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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9 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. From the photo, both eyes appear affected. Given his age and breed we would consider issues such as entopion or dystichiasis. He may well have a secondary infection. He needs to see a vet who can examine the eyes. They will ensure that production his adequate and check for ulcers by running a few simple tests. Treatment will depend on what we find but may include pain relief and drops. Use a buster collar to stop him rubbing if needed and clean the discharge with wet cotton wool as needed.

Dec. 11, 2020

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Chihuahua

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Eleven Years

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10 found helpful

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Eye

Hello. My 11 year dog started squinting one eye tonight. Not sure what it could be. My vet doesn’t open til morning. Is there something I can do for her tonight?

Nov. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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10 Recommendations

Squinting is typically due to pain and can be caused by e.g. conjunctivitis or a corneal ulcer. You can gently bathe the eye with saline and cotton wool. Protect it from rubbing with a buster collar. The sooner a vet sees your dog the better as it is likely some medicine is needed.

Nov. 23, 2020

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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Eight Months

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6 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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Eye Closed

My dogs eye is squinted and he doesn’t want to open it

Oct. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Hello Your pet may have scratched his eye and that is why he is squinting and holding it open. Sometimes dogs develop an ulcer on their cornea and need eye drops. I recommend that you take your pet to a veterinarian for an exam. They may want to put a small amount of green stain on the cornea to visualize an injury to the cornea and send home medication. Good luck.

Oct. 26, 2020

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Pit Bull

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3 months

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4 found helpful

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Closed Eye

my puppy has been keeping one eye shut for the whole day for a couple of weeks now and i’m not sure why

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There may be something wrong with the eye, or it may be painful or irritated. It would be a good idea to have your veterinarian look at the eye, since it does not seem to be improving. They will be able to see if there is a problem, and let you know how to treat it if needed. I hope that all goes well!

Oct. 4, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Two Years

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2 found helpful

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Keeps Left Eye Slightly Closed

Notice she's keeping her left eye slightly closed but when I tell her you want to go outside to go potty she opens it up does not seem to be in pain not rubbing it

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I hope that she is back to her normal self. If the eye is still causing her problems, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her and see what might be causing this problem.

Oct. 9, 2020

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Asia

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Pitbull Terrier

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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Swollen Eye
Eye Closing

I noticed this afternoon that my pup’s left eye was swelling up and it’s slowly closing every few moments. A friend of mine noticed the same thing was happening last night and thinks she could’ve poked it with her bone on accident. We aren’t sure what to do about her. We’re thinking of taking her to a vet on Saturday (2 days from now) but we just wanted to see what could be said here as well.

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Rosie

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Pomeranian and Yorkie mix

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Redness
Itchy Eye
Swollen Eye

I have noticed that my puppy wouldn’t open her left eye. She kept rubbing her eye with her paw and would only sleep on the couch. I called her over and looked at her eye closer to notice that her eye discharge(?) was yellow and left a stain on her fur. I looked at her eye and notice that it was red and looked like it had weird texture. What can she possibly have?

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Mya

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Jack Chow

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Eye Shut

My Dog Mya has had her eye shut for quite a while now and we don’t know what would have caused it. We do have another younger dog that usually plays with Mya and sometimes catches her claw on Myas eye.

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Coco

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Shih Tzu

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Eye Itching
Something In Eye

I have a shiz-tzu and her fur was matted around her eyes. We finally cut the hair off around it to notice that there is an object in her eye. Now she keeps it closed and when we get her to open her eye all we see is that furry looking object in her eye.

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Leo

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English Cocker Spaniel

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Red Eye
Constantly Opened Eyes
Half Side Of Eyeball Can'T Be Seen

Hello. My dog Leo has been rubbing his eyes his eyes are open and its red i cant see the half part of his eyeball. it's on the upper side i saw this after i gave him a shower. just right after. please consult him..

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