Pug in Blanket

Pug Eye Problems and How to Treat Them

Pug Eye Problems and How to Treat Them

Everyone loves a Pug face. 

They’re squishy, snorty, and have great big cartoon eyes. Totally attractive, but they are a sensitive breed. Pug parents need to take extra care of their Pugs and their squishy faces and eyes.

These are great selling points. But before rushing into getting a Pug, get all the information about having such a sensitive breed.

Their short nose and short skull with less snout is the most prominent feature of this breed. These are great benefits of attraction. However, Pug parents aren’t taking extra good care of them. Those big Pug eyes can also be affected by infections, viruses, accidents, and injuries. Their prominent Pug eyes make them more susceptible to injury. 

Keep an eye on your Pug. Especially take care of his vision. Let’s look at Pug eye problems. 

Identification of Pug Eye Problems

There are the following signs that are related to Pug eye problems. If your Pug is showing any of these symptoms, be sure to monitor what is going on. It is always a good idea to get your Pug to a vet as soon as possible. Eye problems can get worse very quickly. Don’t wait until there is permanent damage. Remember, when you buy a Pug, always factor in the cost of potential vet visits.

  • Rubbing eyes with paws
  • Less lubrication
  • Blinking excessively
  • Redness (abnormal)
  • Debris in the eye
  • Infections in urine
  • Slight temperature
  • Irritation
  • Laziness (More than Usual)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • No motivation to play
  • Fatigue
  • Hypertension
  • Pain
  • Discomfort in sleeping and eating
  • No shine within the eyeball
  • Large size of eyelids
  • Small red clamps around the eyes
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Vision problems
  • Irregular eyelid edges
  • Shedding of eyelashes
  • Poor growth
  • A large amount of cornea in contact with air
  • Dryness
  • Puffiness
  • Warm breath
  • Scratches
  • Blindness
  • Tear glands problems
  • Excessive, thick drainage around the eye
  • Brown pigments within and around the eye
  • Dull eyes
  • Heavy eyes
  • No physical activity

Common Pug Eye Issues

Pug Eyes Upclose

Pugs have more eye problems than other dogs. Because their eyes are prominent on their face, they are more likely to receive a scratch or a bite. It’s vital as a Pug parent that you are extra cautious.

Corneal Ulcers 

Many factors can cause corneal ulcers. 

Firstly, what is the cornea? The cornea is the outermost membrane that is playing a role in protecting the eyeball. It has five layers and covers the front of the eyeball. Think of it like a windowpane. The cornea aims to allow light to come through to the eye and help the eye focus. Protection of the cornea is critical.

Suppose your Pug is facing any dust or dirt while outside, especially in the wind, a scratch can occur. Sometimes your Pug may rub his eyes with his paws or on the carpet. Rough play can also lead to a corneal ulcer. There may be an unintended scratch or bite.

Pugs have a greater chance of encountering a problem. Look at the faces of most dogs. The eyes are not so prominent. However, with a Pug, the cornea is more likely to be exposed. Again, this can irritate the cornea.

This can lead to a Corneal Ulcer. Simply stated, a corneal ulcer is a sore on the Pug eye. 

The healing process takes time if the infection is minor. If your Pug is suffering from vision loss or blurriness, they need to be under a vet’s care. 

Ulcers need proper care and attention.

Treatment for ulcers:

  • Using eye drops
  • Proper oral medication
  • Hygienic food and living conditions

Causes of ulcers:

  • Improper membrane coverage
  • Trauma
  • Infections

Symptoms of ulcers:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Watery

Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a deficiency of tear film over the eye. Severe drying can result in inflammation of the cornea. As in humans, all these conditions are tragic and very alarming. 

This is also the case for our Pugs.

This can become an acute problem if the Pug parent does not notice it. Be sure if you suspect Dry Eye Syndrome to get your Pug to the vet right away. 

Treatments for dry eyes:

  • A large number of lubricants
  • Eye drops
  • Oral medicines


  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Excessive blinking


  • Infection(viral)
  • Fewer lubricant production

Accidental Injuries

Pug Eye Vet cropped scaled

Accidents happen. 

If you have a dog that likes to explore, accidents will probably happen more often. Pugs seem like they always have their noses into everything. And they want to eat just about anything, including sticks. Pug parents need to be more aware of what their angels are doing than other dog parents.

Treatments for accidental injuries:

  • Proper treatment and regular sessions with a vet


  • Scratches
  • Redness on skin
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Wounds


  • Free exploration and playing
  • Small snout
  • Protruding Pug eyes

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye looks traumatic. Cherry eye is a prolapsed tear gland. There is a gland that sits on the other side of the third eyelid. It produces tear fluid to keep the eye moist. 

If the gland pops out from the other side of the third eyelid, we see “cherry eye.”

Cherry eye is generally not painful; however, it’s still essential to get it treated by the vet right away. 

It may become painful if Cherry eye continues for an extended period. 

Treatments for cherry eye:

  • Talk to your vet to see if surgery is necessary. Removing the gland is generally not a good idea. With no gland, the eye makes no moisture, and your Pug will end up with Dry Eye. The alternative is for your vet to back into the correct place. This alternative does not mean that your Pug will never experience this again. Talk to your vet about your Pug’s best options.


  • Watery eyes
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Blinking


  • Protrudes could be a common cause
  • Less lubrication
  • Tear gland infections


We all know that Pugs have prominent eyes than typical long-nosed dogs. Pugs, more than other dogs, may have an eyelid that folds in toward their eyeball. 

This is more likely to happen with their lower lids.

This is irritating for a Pug and can lead to the eyelashes scratching the cornea. It’s always best to consult with your vet even if your Pug does not seem to be in pain or irritated by it.

Treatments for entropies:

  • Your vet may suggest surgery to remove excessive parts of the eyelid.

Symptoms of entropies:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Large eyelid
  • Vision problems
  • Irritation
  • Blinking


  • Large eyelids

Pigmentary Keratitis

Eyes 6 scaled

Pigmentary Keratitis is brownish-black discoloration of the eye or eyes. This discoloration is pigmented melanin granules. It is a result of irritation or inflammation in the eye. 

Pigmentary Keratitis often occurs in brachycephalic dogs. These dogs include Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, and French Bulldogs. 


  • Oral medication
  • Eye drops

Symptoms of Pigmentary Keratitis:

  • Redness
  • Pigments and clamping around the cornea
  • Pain in the eyelid


  • Chronic irritation or inflammation of the eye



Strabismus is also known as crossed eyes or lazy eye. Pugs sometimes inherit weak muscles that cause Strabismus. 

The vision is normal and not painful for Pugs. 

If it is an inherited trait, you may want to exercise to strengthen the muscles around his Pug eyes. This involves moving your finger in front of your Pug’s face and moving it slowly toward his nose. This is only for cosmetic reasons, as your Pug is not suffering.  Your Pug’s quality of life will not be affected.

If your Pug acquires this after a head injury, eye trauma, or accident, he has probably injured the nerves in his eye. Immediate medical care from your vet is necessary. 

If there is no known injury, but your Pug acquires this later in life, likewise, your Pug needs to see the vet. This could occur from an accident that you are not aware of or an infection.

Treatment of Strabismus:

  • If inherited, your vet will give you Pug eye exercises to strengthen the muscles. 
  • If due to injury, trauma, or disease, medication and possibly surgery is necessary.

Symptoms of Strabismus:

  • Lazy or cross-eyed
  • Can not maintain balance

Causes of Strabismus:

  • Inherited 
  • Abnormal muscle growth
  • Injury
  • Diseases related to the immune system that can provoke Strabismus

Ocular Proptosis

Do Pug eyes pop out? 

I’ve seen this question so many times on the internet. Many new Pug owners may be worried about this. The short answer is, yes, they can pop out. But it is not shared and indeed not random. Don’t worry. Your Pug’s eye is not going to pop out when you’re sitting watching TV one night.

Pugs have very shallow eye sockets. An eye could pop out if your Pug’s skin around his Pug eye is being pulled too hard. 

There could be an accident due to roughhousing. If your Pug pulls when on a leash, always use a harness, not a collar. The pressure around the neck can be hazardous to their Pug eyes and their necks.

Whatever you do, take your Pug to the vet immediately. Show up at your vet or the emergency vet right away.

Treatment of Ocular Proptosis:

  • Replacement surgery
  • Large intake of lubrications
  • Regular vet checkups

Symptoms of Ocular Proptosis:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Large size of the eyelid
  • Pigmentation
  • Dryness

Causes of Ocular Proptosis:

  • Trauma


Distichiasis is an extra set of eyelashes. It is a problem from heredity and relatively uncommon. Some breeds are more likely to inherit this condition. Pugs are on that list. 

If left untreated, it can be irritating and scratch your Pug’s eyes. This can cause inflammation, discharge, and pain. 

Treatment for Distichiasis:

  • Lash removal with the help of surgery
  • Proper Pug eye examination
  • Lubricants usage

Symptoms of Distichiasis:

  • Itching
  • Rubbing
  • Swelling
  • Infections
  • Blinking
  • Redness

Causes of Distichiasis:

  • Excessive and unmannered eyelash growth

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the Pug eye that is sensitive to light. When the light hits this area, cells are activated, and a signal is sent to the brain for interpretation. This is where the rods and cones are. 

We’ve probably all heard that dogs have more rods than cones. This is why they can see better in low light conditions and detecting movement. 

Eye Anatomy

Cones are responsible for seeing colors. 

This is where we get the idea that dogs are color blind. They aren’t, but their spectrum of color is muted. 

Retinal atrophy affects dogs, both young and old. This is an inherited condition. It is typically diagnosed in puppies around two to three months old. It can be detected in dogs at any time. Late-onset is seen when dogs are between three and nine years old.

Dogs start to have vision loss, and it eventually leads to blindness. 

Pugs are not likely to have the gene that leads to this condition, but if your Pug does, let your breeder know! She needs to stop breeding the parents of your Pug.

Treatment of Progressive Retinal Atrophy:

  • Diet changes with proper nutrition and supplements
  • Most say there is no treatment for this disease. Your Pug will adjust well as it is a gradual condition. Blindness does not mean the end of a happy life, but he will need more care. (Link to blind Pug)

Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy:

  • Vision problems
  • Slight blindness ultimately turns into permanent
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Less lubrication
  • Immense debris
  • Abnormal dilation of the pupil

Causes of Progressive Retinal Atrophy:

  • Heredity


Cataracts generally impact a dog in old age. A cataract may stay as an opacity problem the size of a pinpoint. It then grows to cover the entire Pug eye. It results in poor vision or complete blindness. 

Your Pug will not be in pain, but there may be discomfort due to inflammation. Of course, you want your Pug to be under the care of your vet. 

He can prescribe eye drops to help with this discomfort.

Treatment of Cataracts:

  • Surgery
  • Antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medication following surgery

Symptoms of Cataracts:

  • Cloudy Pug eyes
  • Impaired vision

Causes of Cataracts:

  • Heredity
  • Diabetes
  • Old age

Role of a Vet in Pug Eye Problems

Pug Eye Check

Pugs should get vet checks every 6 to 12 months, depending on their age. This includes an eye examination. A vet can diagnose some problems before we Pug parents can even see them.

Your vet goes to college for 8 to 10 years. They have much more knowledge than someone responding to a picture you put on Facebook. 

If you are inclined to put a picture of your Pug on Facebook with a medical problem, please don’t. Call your vet. Advice from well-meaning Facebook friends is not the answer. Most of the time, when I see these posts, I see many of the answers are “Take your Pug to your vet.” Please don’t waste time on Facebook.

A vet should carry out a full examination of the Pug eyes.  Observe the amount of pain and disturbance in your Pug.  Be certain to administer prescribed medication.

Precautionary Measures in Emergencies

If your Pug has an emergency, it is essential to get medical care immediately. The more time you waste, the more you have to suffer along with your Pug.

Cleaning of the Pug eye with saline solution. A saline solution should be without any preservatives.

Wash off the debris with saline solution carefully.

Get rid of Pug eye discharges by using a damp cotton pad.

Keep an eye on your Pug, and don’t let him come in contact with his eyes. This will help him in feeling less irritated.

Keep the eye out of reach of any direct heat in summers.

Compress the Pug eye with some small damp cloth; this will help in speedy recovery.

Alternately apply the compression on both Pug eyes. This will release any discomfort if your Pug is suffering from it.

Repeat the following steps regularly.

Taking your Pug to the vet for Pug eye problems is still the best option, whatever the situation is. Don’t use any medication without your vet’s permission. This could cause your Pug condition even worse. 


Some Pug eye problems are inherited, but most are not. That’s good news!

This means that most Pug eye problems can be prevented. It’s essential that our Pugs eat a nutritious diet, not play too rough or stick their noses into places that could scratch their eyes. 

Being a Pug parent of such cute and friendly creatures, it’s our responsibility to be punctual in care. Your attention can change your Pug’s life.

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