As a french bulldog owner, you know how vulnerable this adorable dog breed can be. French bulldogs are extremely prone to eye problems. If your pup's eyes are red, something is definitely wrong – you just need to figure out the problem.
If you can see a red membrane in the corner of your dog's eye, they are experiencing a cherry eye. You can help them by softly massaging the gland back into place.
If the whites of your dog's eyes are red, or if the irritation persists, your dog may have an eye condition. Untreated eye problems can cause serious issues for french bulldogs. Schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
French Bulldogs Have Eye Problems
According to Animal Care of Glouchester, french bulldogs have a high chance of inheriting or developing eye problems over the course of their lives. Potential conditions can range anywhere from cataracts to eyelashes that point in the wrong direction.
Frenchie's eyes naturally protrude; they're not protected as well as the eyes of other dogs. This leaves them more prone to injuries and infections.
Those cute protruding eyes can also develop muscular issues. The result is a sweet and lovable pup who occasionally gets a case of red and extremely irritated eyes.
Cherry Eye Is Common in French Bulldogs
If your french bulldog's eyes are extremely red, the most likely reason is the cherry eye. Cherry eye looks like a large pink or red spot sticking out of the inner corner of your dog's eyelid. Cherry eye occurs when the third eyelid gland in your Frenchie's eye starts to protrude from underneath their eyelid.
According to Jordan from All About Frenchies, the reasons for this condition are not well understood, but the problem is easily treated by any veterinarian.
The size of the pink spot will vary depending on the severity of the condition. You might see a tiny bit of pink, or the problem might look like a large red blob. If too much of the membrane is exposed, your dog might have difficulty seeing out of that eye.
Your dog's eyes are likely to be red or swollen from the irritation. This is especially true if they have been scratching at their eye. However, cherry eye can occur even if the rest of the eye looks normal.
Getting a cherry eye can be painful and irritating for your dog. The protruding membrane is very sensitive and will become more swollen if it's exposed to dust and air.
Cherry eye is common in french bulldogs, but it can happen to any kind of dog. Treat it quickly to prevent the problem from becoming more serious.
You Can Treat Cherry Eye at Home
You can usually take care of cherry eye at home, but your efforts will be more effective if you treat it right away. Always ask your vet to confirm that the problem is a cherry eye and not a different medical condition.
Hold your dog's head still, and gently massage their lower eyelid with your thumb; the gland should shift back into its proper place. This video by Jordan Johnson displays the right way to massage the eye without hurting your bulldog.
Even if you fix the cherry eye yourself, you should always schedule an appointment with your vet.
The membrane has become disconnected, and it will eventually pop back out again. Your vet can offer surgical treatments to prevent the cherry eye from occurring in the future.
There are two surgeries used to treat the cherry eye. Your vet might simply suture the gland into place, or they might replace it entirely.
Dr. Ernest Ward emphasizes that the gland must be replaced and not removed; the third eyelid gland is responsible for most of your dog's tear production.
Your French Bulldog May Have Dry Eye
French bulldogs also commonly experience a problem called the dry eye. Dry eye occurs when your dog's tear ducts are not producing enough liquid.
Bulldog Guide notes that dry eyes are often caused by genetic issues or adverse reactions to medications. Dry eye can also be caused by the surgery that's used to correct cherry eye.
Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of dry eye are usually the same. Your dog's eyes will be dry, swollen, and itchy. You will probably notice that your dog is blinking, squinting, or pawing at their eyes on a consistent basis.
One of the main identifiers of dry eye is an unusual green discharge coming out of your dog's eyes. This is mucus, and your dog's eyes are producing it to replace the missing tears.
Dry eye is a serious problem for bulldogs. If their eyes don't receive enough moisture, they can get scratches, infections, and even corneal ulcers.
Luckily, dry eye can be treated with special eye drops prescribed by your vet. Your vet may also recommend supplements that will help increase your dog's natural tear production.
Treat Quickly to Prevent Corneal Ulcers
Whether your dog has a cherry eye or dry eye, it's important that you get the issue taken care of as soon as possible. French bulldogs with eye problems can end up developing a much more serious condition: corneal ulcers.
According to Nancy Thompson from IVG Hospitals, a corneal ulcer is a term used to describe any wound or abrasion on the corneal surface of your dog's eye.
Superficial corneal ulcers are easy to treat and usually do not pose a serious risk to your dog. However, deep corneal ulcers can cause serious damage to your dog's eye and almost always require surgery.
Corneal ulcers can permanently impair your dog's vision. Small problems like dry eye or cherry eye can leave your dog's eyes exposed and vulnerable. If they get even a small scratch, it could turn into a serious corneal ulcer.
Vets can diagnose and treat corneal ulcers. They can also clear up your dog's dry eye before their eyes get damaged. If you suspect that your dog's eyes are at risk, see a vet as soon as you can.
How Do You Check Your Frenchie's Eyes?
You should perform a simple checkup on your dog before you call the vet. If your Frenchie has already been diagnosed with an eye condition, you might be able to treat it yourself by following the vet's instructions.
When you first notice that your Frenchie's eyes are red, pick your dog up and take a closer look. See if there's any membrane poking out of their eyelid; this is a cherry eye, and it can be massaged back into place.
Next, check for any unusual discharge in the corners of their eyes. Any animal with irritated eyes will probably have dried tears, but if you notice yellow or green mucus, it could be a symptom of dry eye.
Finally, if you notice a scratch or a wound on your dog's eye, get them to the vet quickly. If an eye wound develops a bacterial infection, your dog could end up losing their vision or even their entire eye.
Luckily, your vet can easily disinfect and treat most scratches.
How Do You Take Care of Your French Bulldog's Eyes?
You can't always prevent your dog from developing a cherry eye or dry eye. However, you can help keep them from getting an eye infection, and you can treat the symptoms if they develop a long-lasting eye issue.
When you give your french bulldog a bath, make sure not to get any soap in their eyes. You may want to talk to your vet about finding a pet-friendly soap that doesn't risk giving your dog eye infection.
All dogs develop mucus in the corners of their eyes; this is very similar to the crust that humans get after they wake up in the morning. Dogs can't clean this out for themselves.
Take a moment every day to check your dog's eyes and wipe away the discharge. This is also a good time to look for a cherry eye and dry eye.
French bulldogs may produce more discharge than other dogs. This can take the form of brown stains beneath their eyes.
Will Blunt from Ask Frankie recommends using a sterile eyewash to clean your french bulldog's tear stains around once a week.
If your dog is diagnosed with dry eye, the vet will recommend an ophthalmic ointment that can help remoisturize their eyes.
Jordan from All About Frenchies says that these ointments are a medicine cabinet essential for any french bulldog owner.
You should also consider keeping a Frenchie-sized dog cone in your supply cabinet. One of the most common causes of corneal ulcers is a dog scratching at their own eyes. Use the cone while you wait for the eye drops or ointment to reduce the swelling and irritation.
Taking care of your french bulldog's eyes isn't as difficult as it seems. Keep your Frenchie's eyes clean, and perform a maintenance check on a regular basis.
Follow your vet's instructions to the letter; they'll tell you how to treat your pup's specific condition. As long as you react to red-eye situations promptly, your dog will live a long and happy life with excellent vision.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.