Why Do My Dogs Eyes Glow Red?

Your family photo pics are incomplete without your dog, but what’s with the devilish red glow in its eyes? Why do my dogs eyes glow red in the dark? Don’t worry, there is no demonic possession going on here. There is a scientific reason, and we will discuss it below.

Have you ever noticed your pet’s photos show “red eyes?” Well, there is science behind it.

This is due to the absence of tapetum lucidum in your dog. Tapetum Lucidum is a tissue layer that is found just in front of the choroid (blood-filled layer). This is a reflecting layer that reflects light onto the retina in order to magnify light in low-light situations. 

The tapetum’s color and its reflection can be orange, green, yellow, or blue. During the first three months of a dog’s life, its color changes frequently. 

Some dogs are born without a tapetum. This is especially common in blue-eyed dogs. As a result, when a picture is taken, the red vascular system becomes visible in the rear of the eye, which makes your dog’s eyes look red.

Why Do Animal Eyes Glow?

The glow is the result of a membrane called Tapetum Lucidum behind the retina.

If you’ve ever looked closely at your pet when it is dark, you might have noticed its eyes glowing. Why do animal eyes glow, while human eyes don’t? 

The reason that their eyes glow is that they have what is known as tapetum lucidum. This is a reflective layer to increase the light available to the photoreceptors in the eyes in the dark. 

What is Tapetum Lucidum?

All animals (including humans) “see” when light gets reflected by photoreceptors in their eyes. These photoreceptors then trigger signals to the brain, which forms an image of what the eyes have observed. 

Sometimes, the light may not get reflected properly, which makes it difficult to see especially in low light, or when it is dark. The Tapetum Lucidum is like a light reflector that gives a second chance to the photoreceptors to capture the image. It helps animals to see better when the light is low. 

Why Do Animals Have To See In The Dark?

Many animals need to see in the dark for a variety of reasons. Nocturnal animals like bats and owls hunt at night and need clear vision to find food. Many birds, such as crows and parrots, spend time outside during the day and hunt at night. 

Bird’s eyes are usually more darkly colored than other animals’ eyes, which can help them see better at night than they would with brighter eye color.

Unfortunately, humans do not have this tapetum lucidum layer (probably because our ancestors were never nocturnal)

Why Do Some Dogs’ Eyes Shine Red And Others Green?

As mentioned above, some dogs have a tapetum lucidum layer while some don’t. The dogs that have tapetum lucidum reflect green color. The dogs that don’t have this reflective layer, their eyes glow in red color.  

Other Reasons Why Your Dog May Have Red Eyes

Redness of the eyes can be because of allergies, glaucoma, KCS or conjunctivitis.

Swelling, redness, and discharge in dogs’ eyes can signal various problems, ranging from minor allergies to something much more severe.

The following are some of the most common reasons for red eyes and/or weeping eyes in dogs:

  • Allergic reactions from dust, smoke, dirt, etc.
  • Conjunctivitis, sometimes known as “pink eye” or “red eye,” is an infection that affects the eyes. Pinkeye is an irritation of the tissue covering the eye in dogs that is as prevalent as it is in humans.
  • Glaucoma is a liquid build-up in the eyeball that causes pressure, leading to blindness if not treated. Glaucoma-related redness will be followed by apparent edema.
  • Dry eye disease (called KCS or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Because various underlying conditions can cause dry eye, it’s critical to have your dog examined by a veterinarian.
  • Underlying medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and various malignancies can also result in red eyes. For instance, a transient reaction to a minor irritation can cause red-eye! 

If you observe something unusual about your dog’s eyes, be calm and seek professional help.

When Does A Vet Visit Become Imperative For Dog Eye Care?

If your dog is itching or scratching near the eyes too much, it’s time to visit the vet.

Although red eyes aren’t necessarily an indication of trouble, eye damage and disease can proceed quickly, so it’s best to be cautious than sorry. 

It’s essential to call the vet if you see something strange in your dog’s eyes, like if she’s rubbing or scratching her face, and if you notice squinting or discharge.

When you take your dog to the veterinarian for eye treatment, the veterinarian may perform one or more of the following procedures:

  • Perform a thorough ophthalmologic examination, looking at all of your pet’s eye structures. This is when they may use an ophthalmoscope to see into your dog’s eye.
  • Schirmer tear testing to see if your dog’s eyes are properly lubricated. Small strips of paper are kept inside the lower eyelid for this test; it’s a little irritating but not unpleasant.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe a blood test to rule out any underlying medical conditions or illnesses causing your pet’s vision problems.

How Can I Keep My Dog’s Eyes Healthy?

Don’t let them hang their heads out of the car windows!

You can’t protect your dog’s eyes from every possible irritation, damage, or infection; after all, dogs will be dogs! However, there are steps you can follow to keep your dog’s eyes as strong and protected as possible:

  • Keep the hair near their eyes snipped and clean. This is a must for long-haired breeds.
  • Keep a watch on your dog for frequent eye scratching or rubbing, indicating a problem.
  • As endearing as it may appear when a dog hangs his head out the car window, it can be a leading source of eye injury. Before your next road trip, keep the windows rolled up so they can’t pop out, or buy a pair of doggles.
  • Veterinary examinations regularly 

As with any other canine health concern, the essential thing is to pay more attention to your dog when it comes to eye care. Looking at them and detecting changes in their looks, body language, and behavior can reveal a lot. 

And, of course, remember to stare lovingly into your dog’s eyes; it may or may not help eye health, but it’s a terrific way to bond with your greatest buddy!

Why Do Dogs’ Eyes Turn Red When Tired?

Tired eyes usually mean a lack of sleep, due to sleep deprivation or less sleep, the oxygen level in the eyes decreases. Resultantly the blood vessels dilate and cause red eyes.

A Few Final Words

Red eyes in dogs can be something very severe and might need immediate intervention. Hence if your dog constantly has red eyes, you must take it to the vet. 

However, if the eyes turn red in the dark or while taking a picture with a flashlight on, then there is nothing to worry about. This is merely the reflection of the eye’s blood vessels.

If your dog’s eyes are red because he is tired, you need to help him sleep peacefully. You can take your vet’s advice for the same. Thank you for reading, we hope we have answered your query.

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