Why Are Boston Terrier Eyes Red?

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Boston Terriers are a dog breed that has protruding eyes, making them susceptible to infections. Why are Boston Terrier eyes red? And are the red eyes a danger to this breed? How are the dogs supposed to cope with the thing, even?

Why Are Boston Terrier Eyes Red?

If Boston Terriers have red eyes, it could be a sign of eye conditions in dogs. The main ones include cherry eye, conjunctivitis, and dry eye. It could also be due to allergies, including pollen, grass, and some foods. Still, eye reddening in Terriers could be a symptom of some injury.

Graphic image of a Boston Terrier that explains the reasons why Boston Terriers can have red eyes

Can red eyes endanger the Terrier? Can the condition be treated? Is it prevalent in the younger or older terriers?

What Is Red Eye?

While it’s not a medical condition in itself, red eye is often a symptom of other eye conditions. I’ll discuss the main ones afterward, yet some of the minor ones include the following.

  • Uveitis: This inflammation affects the Terrier’s middle eye tissue, also known as the uvea. Symptoms range from redness to swelling and blurry vision. One or both eyes can be inflamed simultaneously.
  • Eye injury: While this condition might cause your pooch to bleed and experience eye pain, eye injury could also redden the eyes.
  • Allergies: Sometimes, your pet could have red eyes because it’s allergic to pollen, grass, foods they eat or the toys they play with, etc. Other allergy symptoms include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, skin itchiness, and even discharge from the nose and eyes.

How Does a Vet Treat Red Eye?

They can employ several ways to diagnose your dog’s red eyes. This includes tonometry, an ophthalmologic test, fluorescein stain tests, blood tests, and the Schirmer test. Treatment will vary depending on what condition the vet finds to be the culprit.

Boston Terrier with red eyes

What Are the Main Conditions That Cause Red Eye in Boston Terriers?

Several conditions cause eye redness in Terriers, but here are the main ones.


If your Terrier’s eyes are red but you don’t see the telltale third eyelid, it’s likely the pet has conjunctivitis. The condition affects the conjunctiva — a mucus membrane with epithelial cells, making it swell and discolor.

A terrier’s conjunctiva is an eye part that encompasses the eyeball and all three eyelids. The cells in the conjunctiva help keep the dog’s eyes moist by releasing mucus.


Eye redness is no exception. Your pooch’s eyes could also swell considerably, making the pet blink often. You might notice a greenish or yellowish discharge from the dog’s eyes, too, which may appear squinty.

In most cases, both eyes would be symptomatic. In some instances, though, only one eye will show the symptoms.

Dog on a beach


A vet can prescribe a variety of medications, including, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, and tobramycin. Triple-antibiotic ophthalmic ointments are an option as well, as are gentamicin and oxytetracycline.

Dry Eye

Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (or KCS), dry eye targets the cornea, decreasing tear production in the eye. Tears comprise fatty acid, water, and mucus, and they help lubricate a dog’s cornea as well as keep debris (and infections) at bay.

The Boston Terrier, among other dog breeds, is susceptible to dry eye. The condition is made worse if your pooch is on sulphonamides (sulfa drugs). The same holds if the pet has immune complications as well as other conditions, like hypothyroidism and neurogenic KCS.


Your Terrier could develop red eyes, which might look squinty. The pet could also blink often, and she may experience a heavy-mucus yellowish discharge.

Corneal ulcerations aren’t uncommon, too, and your four-legged animal could go long periods with eyes closed.


Your vet will prescribe medications that’ll renew your pup’s tear film and help her be able to reproduce tears. That should include cyclosporine or tacrolimus — and tear-secretion stimulants.

3 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues

Cherry Eye

Your Boston Terrier has three eyelids. The third one, known as the nictitating membrane, is responsible for tear production, helping nourish the eye with oxygen and nutrients.

Until your pooch has this condition (cherry eye), you’re unlikely to see the nictitating membrane. Which becomes visible when the Terrier’s fascia band, which helps keep the tendons intact, becomes defective.

This is usually what characterizes the Cherry eye condition, which affects younger terriers — two years and below — mostly. It can affect older dogs, though.


There are less obvious symptoms of this condition, including eye discharge and tearing, due to the unregulated nictitating membrane. But here’s the most obvious symptom: when the nictitating membrane pops out, resembling a cherry.

If left untreated, it can lead to further issues: the third eyelid could swell, dry up, and get inflamed.

Close up of a Boston Terrier


If you find that your Boston Terrier has developed the cherry eye case, bring her to a vet immediately. The longer you wait, the more you’ll expose the dog to infections, and external trauma.

Your vet might recommend a steroid medication, which could help recede the third eyelid.

Mostly, though, it’s recommended the pooch undergoes surgery to help reset the nictitating membrane. The procedure should be conducted carefully to prevent dry eye — another likely post-surgery condition — from occurring.

Related Questions

How Can I Treat My Dog’s Red Eye at Home?

Wet a washcloth with a warm saline solution — a quarter teaspoonful of salt and a quarter cup of warm water — and wipe the affected area with it. Ensure you’re starting from the corner of the eye toward the ear. 

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Cherry Eye?

It costs between $300 and $800. This depends on the procedure that’s going to be performed, and the severity of the affected eye. And because your pooch will need monthly medication afterward, you should spare about $25 to $75 for the same.

How Long Does It Take to Heal from Cherry Eye Surgery?

It takes two weeks, mostly. Also, make sure to have your pup wear an e-collar (Elizabeth collar) during this period. It helps prevent your dog from rubbing out the sutures that keep the third eyelid gland in place.

What are the 10 Most Common Boston Terrier Health Problems


If you notice any red-eye symptoms in your Boston Terrier, take the dog to a vet immediately. The above eye conditions could worsen if treated late or left untreated.

If you ever asked yourself why are Boston Terrier eyes red, I hope this article helps give a better idea of what’s going on with your pup, and how to address the red-eye situation.

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