Dog Eye Styes (Causes, Signs, and Treatment Options)

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The Definition of a Dog Eye Stye 

A dog eye stye is a painful red bump that develops along the edge of a dog’s eyelid. It is also known as a hordeolum. Similar to a pimple, it happens when oil glands in the eyelid get an infection. 

Styes can affect people, dogs, and other species. Styes on a dog’s eye are similar to how they appear on humans. 

Chihuahua Pet Dog

The Causes of Canine Ocular Styes

You get worried whenever your dog’s eye becomes red. The red eye doesn’t result from any specific medical condition. However, any one of the following conditions or a combination can result in red eyes in dogs:

  • Allergy
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Ocular ulcers
  • Glaucoma
  • Eye injury 
  • persistent rubbing

In addition, long-term medical issues like diabetes may be to blame for your dog’s red eyes. It’s safer to get in touch with your dog’s veterinarian for more clarity.

The Signs of Dog Eye Styes

The following symptoms may be present with a stye (hordeolum):

  • Inflammation of the eyelid’s interior or
  • Red swollen eye on the dog
  • Broken pus-filled abscess
  • Suppose your dog develops swelling around the eye, discoid lupus erythematosus, squamous cell carcinoma, or other more serious eye conditions. In that case, your vet can identify whether it is a stye or one of these other conditions. 

Have a vet examine any redness or swelling of your pet’s eye or lid that lasts longer than a day or two because these invasive skin and eyelid disorders can have long-lasting effects, including blindness or loss of an eye.

How are Canine Eye Styes Diagnosed?

Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you think your dog might develop a stye. Your veterinarian will need a physical examination to ascertain whether your dog has a stye or another condition affecting the eyelid. 

For instance, older dogs are frequently more susceptible as they age to benign tumors of the eyelid, which need particular care. In rare cases, even autoimmune disorders can initially resemble a stye.

Before you can get your dog to the vet, there are some basic home care measures you may take. Keep the eyes of your dog tidy. Wipe away any debris from the eyelids with a warm, wet washcloth. Be careful not to scratch your dog’s eye’s surface.

Use a hot compress. You can encourage the stye to rupture if your dog stays calm and allow you to apply a warm compress to the eye. You might notice a small amount of pus rising to the eyelid’s surface when the stye ruptures.

Eliminate pus. Remove this pus with caution to stop the illness from spreading. Frequently, pain and discomfort are immediately relieved when a stye ruptures.

When you visit your vet, they will conduct a comprehensive physical examination, paying close attention to your dog’s eye. The vet will closely examine the suspected stye and the other eye structures. To distinguish a stye from other common eyelid diseases, they will determine whether the swelling on your dog’s eyelid is painful.

Your veterinarian could suggest additional testing if your dog’s eye is swollen and red to rule out illnesses like glaucoma, dry eye, and corneal ulcers. Your veterinarian will probably advise medical care if the eye is healthy and the swelling seems consistent with a stye.

Dog Eye Stye Treatment Options

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for stye on dog eyes, though you may also use painkillers that reduce inflammation.

Your veterinarian may recommend a topical eye ointment that includes both an antibiotic and a steroid. To treat infection and inflammation, this medication will absorb from the eye’s surface into the eyelid. 

Your veterinarian may occasionally recommend oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Oral medications might be your best option if your dog dislikes having their face or eyes touched.

No matter the recommended treatment course, ensure to administer all medications exactly as instructed. To guarantee the optimum outcome, you must complete the entire duration of treatment. 

Attend any follow-up appointments that your veterinarian suggests to ensure the stye heals completely, and you don’t require additional treatment.

Your veterinarian may advise surgery if your dog has a severe stye that does not improve with medical care. Your veterinarian will sedate your dog before surgically draining the infected gland. 

In some circumstances, your veterinarian might advise more drastic surgery, which would involve removing a wedge-shaped portion of the compromised eyelid margin. This increases the likelihood that a stye will heal and enables your veterinarian to send the tissue they’ve removed for microscopic analysis to a pathologist. 

The pathologist will categorically identify the lesion as a stye or another type of eyelid lesion. Following surgery, the vet might give your dog prescription drugs and an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar or cone) to prevent self-trauma to the eye and eyelids.

You can treat dog styes effectively and easily at home by cleaning the affected region and using warm compresses.

Depending on the underlying source of the issue, medication may be helpful. It comes from drops, ointments, oral chews, and pills. A veterinarian may need to remove the stye in some circumstances physically, or he may offer a differential diagnosis. Owners and veterinarians should take safety precautions like donning gloves when administering care.


Sometimes, dead skin, dirt, and debris obstruct hair follicles very close to the eyelid, resulting in swelling and irritation. Bacterial infections are the culprit in other situations, and on occasion, the meibomian glands surrounding the eye rim cause redness and swelling. 

Since it removes whatever is clogging the drain or gets rid of the bacteria, gently cleaning the eyelid and surrounding region is usually the first step in treating a dog’s stye. For this job, a clean washcloth or gauze pad would do just fine.‍

Corgi dog washing


When dogs are suffering from styes, anxiety and some pain may be present. As we previously mentioned, debris that has gotten very close to the eyelid and caused irritation can also irritate the area around the eye. As a result, until you properly treat the stye, give your pet something to calm them down if you notice they are in more pain or discomfort.


In general, mild heat induces relaxation and opens pores, making it simpler to clean them. Additionally, it may promote gland drainage. Applying a warm compress to the dog stye several times daily after cleaning the eye can hasten healing. 

Warm clothes are a good option, but owners have also found success with other things, like teabags, for a brief time.


Medicated eye washes or ointments help treat the infection when bacteria is the cause of the issue. These are typically quite simple to administer: tilting the animal’s head forward, gently pressing down on the eyelid, and letting the medication drip from the bottle or tube down onto the animal’s eye.

Instead of or in addition to these remedies, a vet may prescribe an oral antibiotic, which is reasonably simple to conceal in food. Depending on the severity of the problem, he might also suggest cortisone, a drug that lessens swelling and the inflammatory reaction. 

Owners mostly provide these more sophisticated drugs to senior animals that suffer from styes regularly.

Professional Removal

A dog’s eye irritation generally resolves on its own, so veterinarians start with washing, applying compresses, and taking medication. However, a veterinarian may manually remove dog eye stye if it gets worse or is significantly obstructing the animal’s vision. 

They do this by opening the stye with a sterilized needle or scalpel to drain or remove the infection. You must sedate the dog before the treatment, both for the dog’s safety and to prevent the animal from becoming too anxious. After that, you can clean the region using a basic pet saline eye wash or a regular contact lens solution.

Labrador lying at vet clinic

Owner Security

Like humans, most dogs automatically react when you place something too close to their eyes, and not all dogs are comfortable having something held on their faces for a long time. 

It could be necessary to have someone else hold the animal steady to access the eye more easily, prevent nips or bites, or wait until the dog is quite relaxed before attempting to administer therapy. An additional way to protect yourself is by wearing a muzzle.

When treating a dog’s eye pimple, it’s a good idea to wear some latex or similar gloves because they shield you from direct contact with microorganisms. On the other hand, it prevents anything that might still be on a person’s skin from getting in their eyes and spreading illness.

Even when using gloves, most veterinarians and other medical professionals wash their hands before and after this work as an extra precaution.

Factors to Think About and Additional Tips

Suppose you notice a dog’s eye swollen and does not improve after trying first home remedies; you require a trip to the vet because occasionally, what appears to be a stye can be another issue, such as a benign or dangerous tumor. 

A qualified practitioner can only make a definitive diagnosis in these situations. Analysis of when the issue first occurred or when it seemed to flare up can offer valuable hints about what is causing the symptoms. Additionally, this ailment occasionally manifests or recurs due to something in the animal’s environment, such as a specific chemical in a pet shampoo. 

A cone, sometimes known as an Elizabethan collar, can make it difficult to massage and scratch the area around an eye if a pet doesn’t leave it alone.

Preventing Eye Styes on Dogs

You cannot always avoid a dog eye infection stye. Your veterinarian recommends routinely cleaning your dog’s face and eyes if they are prone to styes to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.

Seek veterinary care as soon as possible if you see signs of a stye or any other condition affecting your dog’s eyelids. In addition to being painful, an untreated stye can cause corneal damage, which may impair your dog’s vision due to its swelling of the eye’s surface. The best way to lessen the effects of styes is through early diagnosis and treatment.

That’s All, Folks

Why is my dog’s eye swollen? Styes in dogs are common and generally not a cause for concern. Persistent infections can occasionally be from the environment or inadequate care. However, in some instances, an allergy to certain products, such as shampoo or soap, can result in an eye infection. 

No matter how much knowledge you gather online, only a professional can differentiate between a minor eye infection and a serious issue. If you still see the red swollen eyelid on the dog after trying our simple home cures, take your dog to the vet.