Why Does My French Bulldog Have Red Eyes?

man carrying french bulldog

French bulldogs are wonderful family pets widely accepted for their playful, patient, and loyal attributes, especially towards children. They are known to love human company, which makes them rely on men for their well-being.

Despite their wonderful attributes, these little animals have certain health conditions that happen to them more frequently, unlike other dog breeds, and one of the health problems is their eyes. This has been a major issue for Frenchies owners, and this article will provide solutions to one of the eye challenges.

Why Does My French Bulldog Have Red Eyes?

Red eyes in French bulldogs could arise because of a few eye conditions in a dog, ranging from corneal ulcers to dry eyes and cherry eyes, which is the most common condition.

1. Dry Eyes

Vets call this condition KCS(Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) due to low tear production in bulldogs, especially middle-aged ones. A bulldog tear film has three sections, Mucin, Aqueous, and Lipid.

The mucin is the inner section that assists the tears in sticking to the cornea. In contrast, the aqueous section is the middle watery part responsible for the tears’ flow, and the outer section is the one called Lipid, which restricts the tears from evaporating.

Once the aqueous part is unable to produce adequate tears, dry eyes set in, and this could be a result of 

  • Viral infection
  • Eye trauma
  • Nerve damage, 
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Bacteria infection
  • Impaired immune system
  • Drug influence,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Tear gland injury
  • Neurogenic
  • Inflammatory issues
  • Cherry eye correction surgery
  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Breed-related issues 
  • Glaucoma

This condition will not only bring about eye redness but also bring about. 

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Dull eyelids 
  • Twitching eyelids
  • Excessive blinking
  • Blindness or impaired vision 
  • Mucous production
  • Dryness on the cornea surface
  • Constant rubbing of the eyes

Before treating this condition, you must diagnose your dog to be sure of the cause of the dry eyes to prevent mistreatment, which could lead to another serious condition. You or your vet can use STT(Schirmer Tear Test) to diagnose dry eyes by placing a  special paper strip at the lower eyelid for 60 seconds to collect the tear and then measure the tear on the paper.

Your dog has dry eyes once the tear is below the normal tear production of 15 millimetres. A further test can be done to know the cause and the proper treatment to administer.

After diagnosis, The first thing to do is to remove the mucus with sterile water and follow the vet’s description, which is not always out of the following options.

  • Antibiotics: Dogs whose diagnosis is related to the nervous system, bacteria, and viral infection should be treated with antibiotics such as pilocarpine.
  • Lacrimomimetics: They are artificial tear film replacements that serve as lubricants that help moisten the surface of the eyes and help flush specks of dirt away from them. However, the type to use for your dog should be prescribed by your vet.
  • Lacrimostimulants: this medication helps the tear gland to stimulate tear production in dogs such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus, and sirolimus.
  • Surgery: Few complicated issues require surgery after you might have administered antibiotics,lacrimomimetics, and Lacrimostimulants, and they still fail to respond.

When administering all these treatments, take your dog for STT to know the recovery rate and when to stop administering, as excessive use of antibiotics could cause another issue. However, if dry eye is not treated immediately, it could result in another condition called ulceration of the cornea.

2. Cornea Ulcer

The cornea is the transparent outermost layer of the eyes that protects the inner structure of the eyes and helps to focus light. Cornea ulcer occurs when the sensitive part of the cornea, which is the epithelium layer, is damaged. However, the damage can extend into the deeper layer causing the ulcer to become complicated. 

  • Bacteria infection
  • Trauma
  • Use of shampoo
  • Failure to treat dry eyes immediately
  • Glaucoma
  • Viral infection
  • Eyelid tumours
  • Entropion (when the eyelid is folded inward, causing the hairs to rub over the cornea)
  • Chemical burn dies to soap or alcohol-based washers. 
  • Ectopic cilia (eyelashes that grow in an abnormal direction) irritate the cornea.

Apart from the pronounced symptoms, which is the redness of the eyes, there are other symptoms.

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Serious Pain
  • Scrubbing of the eyes
  • Mucous discharge ranges from clear white to yellow and finally green, depending on the severity of the case.
  • Swollen eyes
  • Squinting of the eyes
  • Closing of the eyes( not in all cases)
  • Cloudy eyes

As earlier said, a test or diagnosis should be performed on the dog before any treatment. This test includes cytology, bacteria culture, Fluorescein stain, Schirmer tear testing, and tonometry. The vet should perform all of these tests to avoid complications.

The treatment is dependent on the severity of the ulcer condition. A mild cornea ulcer can be treated simply with contact lenses, the complicated ones with antibiotics and lacrimostimulants, but if your dog fails to respond to treatment, consider surgery. While administering the treatment, make sure you visit your vet regularly.

3. Cherry Eye

This condition is the major cause of eye redness or eye problem in French bulldogs. Cherry eye is a medical condition due to a dog’s prolapsed third eyelids. I know you have a question: do dogs have 3 eyelids?

Yes, they do; instead of the 2 eyelids we have as humans, dogs and other mammals possess 3, and the third one serves as a form of protection and cleaner to wipe out every dirt and excess in the eye. Cherry eyes affect all ages of dogs but mostly younger dogs, and this is when the third eye pops out of position.

According to research, no one has been able to locate the cause of cherry eyes, but it could be traced to hereditary reasons. Puppies of a dog that has cherry eyes are more vulnerable to cherry eyes in the future.

The most obvious and irritating scary symptom is the red and swollen cherry-like ball in the corner of your Frenchie’s eye, followed by others.

  • Epiphora: Excessive tear production
  • Scratching of the eyes
  • Excessive squinting of the eyes
  • The dog will be in pains
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired Vision

Cherry eye in bulldogs does not necessarily need treatment, but your vet will determine that. At times, it leaves on its own without any treatment or by massaging with a warm, clean cloth with eye drops and antibiotics to reduce the pain and swelling of the eyes. The severe condition can be treated surgically by removing the cherry eyes though it is not advisable as your Frenchie might develop another condition called dry eye.

Other Conditions Responsible for Red Eye In French Bulldog

 Apart from the earlier stated three conditions, other conditions might be responsible for red eyes.

  • Eye Injury
  • Allergies
  • Glaucoma 
  • Uveitis
  • Cataract.

What Are The Ways to Prevent Frenchies Red Eye?

French Bulldogs are a popular breed of dog known for their affectionate personalities and adorable squishy faces. However, one issue that can plague this breed is red eye, a condition where the whites of their eyes become inflamed and appear pink or red. Not only can this be uncomfortable for the dog, but it can also be concerning for their owners.

1. Keep their face clean

One of the main causes of red eye in Frenchies is the buildup of dirt, dust, and other debris around their eyes. This can irritate the eyes and cause them to become inflamed. It’s important to keep your Frenchie’s face clean to prevent this from happening. You can do this by wiping their face with a damp cloth or using a special Frenchie-specific face wipe.

2. Regular grooming

Another way to prevent red eye in Frenchies is to keep up with their regular grooming. This includes brushing their coat, trimming their nails, and cleaning their ears. Keeping your Frenchie clean and well-groomed can reduce the risk of eye irritation and inflammation.

3. Use a tear stain remover

Tear stains are common for Frenchies and can often lead to red eye. To prevent tear stains from building up, you can use a tear stain remover specifically designed for Frenchies. This will help to keep your pup’s face clean and reduce the risk of eye irritation.

4. Avoid allergens

Allergens can also cause red eye in Frenchies. Common allergens include pollen, dust, and certain foods. If your Frenchie is prone to allergies, it’s important to avoid these triggers as much as possible. You can also talk to your vet about medications or other treatments to help manage your Frenchie’s allergies.

5. Visit the vet regularly

Regular vet visits can help identify any underlying issues causing your Frenchie’s red eye. Your vet can advise preventing and treating red eyes and recommend any necessary medications or treatments.


There can be various reasons why a French Bulldog might have red eyes, ranging from minor irritations to serious health issues. As a responsible pet owner, observing your pet’s behaviour and health closely and taking necessary action is important. This may include taking your pet to a veterinarian for a thorough examination and treatment, changing your pet’s diet or environment, or simply providing more care and attention.

Being vigilant and proactive can help ensure your furry friend stays healthy and happy for years. Remember, your French Bulldog relies on you for their well-being, so it’s important to be aware of any changes in their behaviour and health and seek veterinary attention when needed.

Written by Justin Michaels