Reasons for Swollen Facial Tissue Around the Eye in a Dog

Updated November 21, 2016

You wake first thing in the morning, look at your dog and think to yourself that something is amiss. The eye that you thought looked a bit swollen or inflamed yesterday is definitely swollen today. Swollen eye tissues are caused by a myriad of infections and conditions with some being more serious than others. Your veterinarian should be consulted if the swelling includes the eyeball, is dramatic or lasts more than a day.


Dogs that suffer from allergies often experience swelling around the eyes. Tissues swell and appear red and irritated. When allergies are the cause, the swollen tissues are typically accompanied by a clear or slightly cloudy discharge from one or both eyes. If your dog's eyes itch, you'll notice the dog rubbing along grass or carpet or scratching at the eyes in attempts to alleviate discomfort and itching. Consult your veterinarian to determine the cause of the allergy and find a treatment plan effective for your dog.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a swelling on the eye lid caused by a prolapse of the tear duct found in a dog's third eye lid. The tear duct is thought to prolapse due to weakened connective tissue in the eyelid and occurs in one or both eyes. Cherry eye is so-called due to the pronounced swollen and red appearance in the tissue in the affected eye. Cherry eye can occur in any breed of dog, but some are more prone to the condition than others. Bloodhounds, Shar-Peis and bulldogs are prone to the condition as are Lhasa apsos, Boston terriers and beagles. The only reliable treatment for cherry eye is surgical repositioning of the prolapsed gland.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the eye that causes a mucous discharge and swelling in the tissues that surround the eye. The cause is infection due to a virus or bacteria being present in the eye. In rare cases tick bites or other parasitic invasion is the root cause of conjunctivitis. Treatment options vary based on the cause of the condition, but include eye drops, antibacterial medications and a regimen of keeping the eyes clean and free of discharge.

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