You should visit the vet if your German Shepherd’s eyes are red.

Dog’s eyes are similar to people’s, except for their third eyelid.

Therefore, many benign or concerning factors could cause eye redness.

Most of them, such as allergies or conjunctivitis are easily treatable.

Let’s dig deeper into the causes and treatment of red eyes in GSD (German Shepherd Dogs).

Why Do German Shepherds’ Eyes Get Red?

German Shepherds’ eyes get red due to allergies and foreign bodies.

These are two of the many factors that lead to eye redness.

Others include cherry eye, entropion, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcers.


Environmental irritants like pollen and mold cause eye inflammation.

This is referred to in medicine as “allergic conjunctivitis”.

Dogs with allergic dermatitis are more prone to develop allergic conjunctivitis.

The condition of dogs with red eyes might be brought on by a wide range of underlying illnesses. [1]

Typically, both eyes will exhibit erythema in allergic conjunctivitis.

You might also experience signs like:

  • Squinting with the affected eye
  • Scratching their face
  • Colorless eye discharge


Conjunctivitis is an infection of the mucous membrane that lines the dog’s eyes.

This mucous membrane resembles the nose or mouth lining very well.

The conjunctiva’s role is the eye’s defense against pathogens and foreign objects.

Conjunctivitis is the term for an infection or inflammation of this membrane.

A condition called conjunctivitis might make your dog paw at its eye, blink, or squint.

You can notice an eye discharge that is clear or green.

Your dog can have red, swollen eyes, or eyelids. [2]

Cherry Eye

A frequent name for the protrusion of the third eyelid gland is “cherry eye”.

The “nictitating membrane”, is found inside the lower eyelid of several mammals.

While hunting or fighting is taking place, the third eyelid acts as an extra layer of protection for the eye.

A unique gland that creates the tear film that protects the eye is also found in the third eyelid.

Cherry eye is a term used to describe when this gland prolapses or “pops out”. [3]


Entropion is when the eyelid slides inward.

It is a condition when the eyelashes and surrounding area rub the dog’s delicate cornea.

Entropion impacts one or both of the upper and lower lids.

If this condition is left untreated, it can cause eye irritation and corneal ulcers.

The condition can result from a serious eye disorder or can be inherited.

The main symptoms are eye pain, light sensitivity, and face rubbing. [4]

German Shepherds have these symptoms.

Opposite, brachycephalic breeds have excessive tear production and blinking, and bloodshot eyes.

Foreign Body

Foreign objects in the cornea are seen in domestic animals.

Foreign bodies are made of organic material, although they can also be made of sand, metal, and glass.

Tearing, blepharospasm, and variable reflex uveitis are the symptoms that might be seen.

Foreign substances occur on the conjunctival surface, in the fornix of the eyelid. [5]

Those that stick to the ocular surfaces are often removed with forceful irrigation.

This is achieved using tiny, serrated ophthalmic forceps while being anesthetized topically.

General anesthesia is necessary if the foreign body enters the deeper corneal layers.

Corneal Ulcers

In dogs, a damaged corneal epithelium can result in a corneal ulcer.

A corneal ulcer is essentially a tear or flaw in the cornea.

There are two types of corneal ulcers: basic and complicated.

While difficult ulcers take longer to heal, simple ulcers are acute and uninfected.

1 in every 100 dogs is affected by corneal ulcers.

In German Shepherds, the prevalence is 2,6%. [6]

The following are the most typical causes of a corneal ulcer in dogs:

  • Trauma
  • Cornea irritants – soaps and alcohol
  • Anomalies of the eyelids, including entropion or ectopic cilia
  • Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Glaucoma

Diagnosis of Red Eye Causes

Your pet will have a thorough medical examination by your veterinarian.

It includes a blood profile, a full blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel.

You must provide a full background on your dog’s health and the development of any symptoms.

Also, note any possible events that may have contributed to the disease.

X-ray imaging can be utilized for visual evaluation of the chest and abdomen.

It will help rule out cancer and pathogenic causes of the red eye.

Tonometry measures the tension inside the eyes using a tonometer.

An ultrasound of the eye may also contribute to the diagnosis. [7]

They can be taken if the eye is opaque, and are both equally helpful for diagnosing conditions.

Treatment of Red Eye in GSD

Up to three times a day for a week or two may be necessary to apply topical drugs.

They come in ointments or drops until symptoms go away.

Antibiotics, steroids, painkillers, dilators, and fake tears are some medications for eye disorders.

Oral antibiotics may be recommended in the event of an infection or eye injury.

Anti-inflammatory medications may help the reduction of inflammation.

Oral medication will be performed if the underlying condition causes the redness.

Several causes of red eyes can be treated surgically.

The veterinarian may use drugs to reset the gland if the cherry eye is identified. [8]

After treatment, surgery is performed to remove the gland permanently if it returns.

Surgery to reconstruct the eyelid may also be necessary for entropion issues.

Why Are the Whites of My Dog’s Eyes Red?

The whites of your dog’s eyes are red due to an allergy or conjunctivitis.

Other causes include cherry eye, foreign bodies, and entropion. [9]

To determine the exact cause and treatment, you should visit the vet.

Should I Worry if My Dog’s Eyes Are Red?

Yes, you should worry if your dog’s eyes are red.

The causes are usually benign, like allergies, but cause discomfort and pain in dogs.

By learning the cause, you will be able to provide the right treatment and prevent discomfort.

Are German Shepherd’s Eyes Supposed to Be Red?

No, German Shepherd’s eyes are not supposed to be red.

Their eye anatomy is similar to those of humans, so the color should also be similar.

Eye redness usually indicates eye irritation and inflammation, which requires treatment.

A thorough physical exam by your vet will help you determine the exact cause.