Pug Eye Problems: Common Issues And Treatments

Every breed is prone to certain health problems. Pugs have a predisposition for eye problems. Read this article and find out more.

The first thing many people think of when pugs come up are their big, cute eyes.

Unfortunately, these same eyes can cause health problems at times.

So, what are the most common issues and can they be treated?

Every dog breed is different when it comes to personality, character, activity level, friendliness etc. And this is a great thing – imagine if every dog were the same! However, every breed has certain genetic predispositions that make them prone to some health issues.

When it comes to pugs, one of their “soft spots” are the eyes. Every future pug owner should be aware of these problems in order to know what to expect. Read on and find out what they are.

Common Eye Problems In Pugs

We’ll take a look at the most common eye problems that affect pugs and tell a bit more about every problem in particular. Before you continue reading, check out the video below.

Cherry Eye

The condition got its name because it can turn the eye really red or pink – like a cherry. What leads up to it is an infected and inflamed tear duct gland. The third eyelid then slips out of position and starts sticking out of the eye corner. Apart from being pink or red, a cherry eye leads to tearing and pain.

This is a common problem that can affect both eyes, but it’s very rare that it affects both eyes at the same time. However, when one eye gets affected, it’s common for the other eye to become affected after a couple of months. In order to treat the cherry eye, surgery may be required to remove the tear duct or put it back in place.

Corneal Ulcers

Cornea is the membrane that covers the surface of the eye. When its layers wear down, the dog is dealing with corneal ulcers. The causes behind this are usually eye trauma, chemical burn or some kind of infection.

This is often a very painful condition for your dog. A pug with corneal ulcers will often keep the eye closed and rub it frequently. In order to treat this condition, the vet can prescribe antibiotic drops, pain-relieving medication and even surgery in some cases.


This is a problem that occurs when one or more eyelashes grow out of parts of the eyelid where they shouldn’t. If this happens, these eyelashes start irritating the eye and cause discomfort in your dog.

Signs indicating distichiasis are redness, discharge and itchy eye. If you don’t treat this in time, it can lead to corneal ulcers. The treatment usually consists of removing the extra eye lashes and using topical ointments in order to lubricate the eye. In some cases, surgery can be performed.


This is a condition that occurs due to the fact that pugs have larger eyelids, that can fold at the eyelash. When this happens, the eyelash is pushed into the eye and it leads to irritation and infections sometimes.

Entropion usually affects pugs that are about 6 months old. You will probably be able to tell that your pug has this problems if it’s constantly scratching the eye that’s usually red and irritated. This condition can be treated by removing the offending eyelash or by reducing the size of the eye lid so it doesn’t happen again.

Dry Eye

Dry eye in pugs is one of the most common eye problems this breed deals with. It occurs when the tear duct isn’t producing enough liquid and the eye, as the name says, becomes very dry. When the eye isn’t lubricated enough, debris builds up and irritates the eye.

If you notice that your pug is blinking more often and that the eye is red, it could be dry eye your pug is dealing with. This condition is treated by oral medication that makes the tear glands produce more moisture.


Dogs, just like people, can have cataracts. They can be inherited, as well as caused by trauma, inflammation and diabetes. A cataract forms in the lens of the eye and it can lead to complete loss of vision in the worst-case scenario. It’s even possible for the cataract to fall out of place in some cases, which is very painful. If this were to happen, surgical correction is necessary.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy will gradually make your pug blind. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for it. On the bright side, it’s not a painful condition and it usually affects senior dogs that usually don’t live long enough for the condition to progress to complete blindness.

Eye Trauma

As you know, pugs are brachycephalic breeds – with flat faces and big eyes that are sticking out. As such, it’s much easier for them to get things stuck in the eyes when they’re exploring their surrounding. And dogs tend to do that.

Unfortunately, pugs and other similar breeds, are more likely to get injured when they’re looking around. It doesn’t have to be anything serious, like a scratch, but it could also be something that requires treatment depending on how much damage has been done.

How To Treat Eye Problems In Pugs

The eye problems mentioned above are among the most common ones when it comes to pugs. It can sometimes be a bit difficult to determine which eye problem your dog is dealing with, as many have similar symptoms. In order to treat a condition, you first have to be able to recognize it.

This is why it’s always recommended to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice anything suspicious, as your dog will run tests and tell you exactly what you’re dealing with. However, it never hurts recognizing the condition yourself. So, in this segment we’re focusing on how to recognize and treat cataracts, entropion, cherry eye, dry eye and progressive retinal atrophy.

Cataracts: Symptoms And Treatment

When a dog has cataracts, the symptoms are the following:

  • Milky eyes. The eye lens can seem cloudy and blue-gray.
  • Change in behavior due to bad vision. As a result, your dog can start bumping into things, misjudging distances and not recognize people – in general be clumsier.

If that’s the case, take your dog to the vet for examination. If it turns out your dog has cataracts, surgery can be performed to help your dog see normally again. If that’s what you choose, a surgeon will remove the lens and replace it with an artificial one or break it down by laser.

Entropion: Symptoms And Treatment

You will be able to recognize this condition by looking for the following symptoms:

  • Eyelid rolled up and inward.
  • Milky eyes.
  • Swollen eye.
  • Eye rubbing and irritation.

If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet and get a diagnose. If it’s entropion you’re dealing with, surgery is usually the recommended treatment. The surgeon will remove a bit of the tissue under the eye, so that the eyelid sits correctly.

Cherry Eye: Symptoms And Treatment

As mentioned, this is another common eye problem pugs are dealing with. Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Redness.
  • Swelling.
  • Third eye lid popping out in the corner.

If you notice a “cherry” popping out of your dog’s eye, you can be pretty sure it’s cherry eye your dog has. However, take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Cherry eye doesn’t have to be painful in some cases, but if your pug shows discomfort it’s time to do something about it. If you want to remove it, your dog will have to undergo surgery where the surgeon will place the gland back into place and stitch it so it doesn’t pop out.

Dry Eye: Symptoms And Treatment

As the name says, a dog suffering from this condition has dry eyes. But, how can you tell if a dog’s eyes are dry?

  • Dull, irritated and red eyes.
  • Thick discharge.
  • Frequent blinking.
  • Keeping the eyes shut.

After you’ve gotten your pug examined and it’s clear it’s dry eye he/she is dealing with, your vet will determine a treatment plan. It usually consists of using eye drops or prescription medication. These are used in order to lubricate the eyes. Dry eye is unfortunately a chronic condition, so your dog will probably need lubricants at some point.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Symptoms and Management

Unfortunately, this is a condition without treatment and it can progress all the way to complete blindness. Symptoms indicating your pug is suffering from this condition are the following:

  • Night blindness. Observe how your dog behaves in the dark – if he/she bumps into things or people. This is a sign of PRA.
  • Shiny eyes.
  • Abnormal pupil reactions and dilation.

These are the most common signs, but you definitely have to see the vet for a proper examination. This is an inherited disease, so it’s also important to know if your dog’s parents suffered from it.

As mentioned, there is no treatment for this condition as of yet. What you should do is to make sure your dog continues to lead as a good life as possible. In some cases, changing the diet can slow down the progression. If your pug has PRA, don’t breed her the disease can be transmitted to the next generation.

Always observe your dog and if something seems wrong, don’t ignore it!

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  • Hiren

    My pug has eye issue my veterinary doctor told me it’s miloses her eye have brown layer and her vision is block she can see from side what is the remedy please help

  • Denise

    Hi my 5year old pug has had to have her eye removed.she has got stiches in at the moment and a dog shield on to stop her from scraching it.the problem ive got is she carn’t eat her food from her bowl with it on and she refuses to eat from my hand .how can i solve this?..i carn’t take the coller off because she trie’s to scratch her eye .

  • sofia vasallo

    Hi. My pug (6 months years old) has something near to her right eye. It´s a purple thing which is growing day by day. Do you know what could it be? Thanks.