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The common bond of empathy with our pets gives us the ability to notice when they are uncomfortable or asking for help, even when they may not be showing obvious signs of injury.

When it comes to eye infections and diseases, it pays to be observant of your pet’s behavior. Eye problems in animals don’t always make themselves obvious, but pets can respond accordingly to the discomfort they feel by trying to signal to us that something is wrong. Animal Eye Associates would like to introduce some signs to look for if you think your pet may be suffering from discomfort in their eyes.

Discharge or Tears

Leaky discharge or excessive tearing is a prime indicator that your pet is having some kind of problem with their eyes. It can indicate an allergy, an infection, or something caught in their eyelids. In such cases where tearing or discharge is clearly visible, you will want to call your local animal vision specialist immediately to get their opinion. 

Bloodshot Eyes

Strange redness or discoloration in your pet’s eyes may be a sign of infection or discomfort. If you notice this, notably in the area surrounding their corneas, check for dirt or foreign objects in their eyes and contact an animal ophthalmologist when in doubt.

Excessive Face Rubbing

Dogs love to rub their heads on objects like floors, furniture, and people. It feels good to them, just like it feels good for us humans to occasionally rub our backs against a door frame to get rid of that pesky itch. Cats do it too (it’s called “bunting”) but for a different reason — they have multiple scent glands in their faces and are naturally trying to leave a track record of their scent on everything within sight.

When you notice your pet rubbing their face more than normal, especially near their eyes, it can be an indication of an eye infection or an allergy. Pay especially close attention when they start using their paws to rub their faces; this is not normal behavior for an animal, and it can mean something is not right.


Sometimes animals react to an eye illness by shutting down everyday, normal behavior and becoming lethargic. Signs of lethargy include:

  • Disorientation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Breathing issues
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Too much sleep

If you notice these symptoms in your pet and suspect an eye issue, do a quick visual check to make sure. Lethargy can also point to other physical problems with your pet, so take it seriously when it happens and consult a veterinarian.

Unusual Behavior

When a domesticated pet is hurt or suffering in some way, they will often exhibit conduct that seems outside the norm of how they usually act. It can range from unusual activity like excessive energy during odd hours to exaggerated demands for attention. If you think your pet may be in pain or suffering from discomfort, look for these signs:

  • Unusual bursts of activity during hours when they are normally sedate
  • Demands for more attention than normal
  • Sleeping at odd hours of the day or night
  • Ignoring regular playtime activities
  • Idling in areas of the household that they usually avoid

Of course, with some types of pets these signs can simply be natural behavior. For example, cats will occasionally change their cherished resting place in favor of a new, previously unused spot. It’s up to you to know your pet’s routine and root out any unusual behavior.

Squinting, Blinking, Or Holding Their Eyes Closed

If you notice that your pet is squinting, blinking more often than usual, or forcefully holding their eyes shut, you’ll want to check to make sure there is nothing lodged inside the eyelids such as dirt or debris. If nothing can be found that would cause obvious eye discomfort, you will want to consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist for further advice. Keep in mind that this kind of behavior in animals almost always indicates that they are experiencing pain or discomfort in their eyes.


If your furry friend is suffering from eye discomfort and you’re not sure what to do, look no further than Animal Eye Associates. We specialize in the diagnosistreatment, and care of eye problems in animals, and we would be happy to help. Schedule an appointment online today.