Why Are My Boxer’s Eyes Red?

Why Are My Boxer’s Eyes Red?

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You’re out in the park with your super excited Boxer, who knows they’re about to unleash all their notorious Boxer energy. 

After they’ve had their fun, you notice that their eyes look red.

So, now you have the question: why are my boxer’s eyes red?

Pulling hard on the leash is the most common cause for a boxer’s red eyes but redness could also be related to an injury or medical condition like cherry eye or entropion. Using a harness for walks can help but always consult your veterinarian if you think a medical problem is at play.

That’s the quick answer but let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your boxer’s red eyes.

Reason 1: Straining Too Hard On The Leash

One of the most common reasons for bloodshot and red boxer eyes is also one of the simplest. When boxers pull hard on the leash, their intraocular pressure (which is the blood pressure inside the eye) can significantly increase. This can then lead to broken vessels and eventually bloodshot eyes that look red and irritated.

When you consider that the average athletic dog can pull as much as 40 times their own body weight it shouldn’t be surprising your strong, athletic, and agile boxer can easily pull their way to bloodshot eyes.

So if you suddenly notice your boxer’s eyes are red after they’ve dragged you around the neighborhood trying to chase every squirrel in a 10-mile radius, pulling too hard is probably the problem.

The best solution is to work on basic work on basic discipline and practice walking with a loose leash. Of course, that takes time and your boxer still needs exercise in the meantime.

You could work in more off-leash play at the dog park where your boxer can play with their favorite canine companion. You can also change up your boxer’s collar or even better drop the collar in favor of a harness that attaches to your boxer’s chest.

A harness won’t stop your boxer from pulling but it will help reduce the chances of built-up blood pressure in the eye.

Reason 2: Because The Eye Is Injured

We’ve all heard the old, “curiosity killed the cat”, but it may be just as true that curiosity can injure the Boxer.

More specifically, the boxer’s eye!

While you may adore your Boxer’s friendly and fearless temperament, you may find that your other pets don’t appreciate it as much as you do. If you know that your cat is infamous for batting a paw—and claw—when your Boxer brings all their chaotic energy too close, it could be that your Boxer’s eye has been scratched.

If your Boxer has been dealing with eye irritation for any length of time and has been pawing at their face, it could be that your Boxer has accidentally scratched themselves and that’s why their eye is now red and hurting.

You may have even discovered that, in the course of playing with your precious Boxer, you accidentally poked them in the eye!

As horrifying as it feels in the moment, we’ve all been there. It could be that we stepped on our dog’s tail or foot by accident—or, in this case, an accidental poke to the eye. This by no means makes you a bad Boxer owner, as guilty as you may feel after the incident. 

If the eye seems sore or tender along with the redness, this could be a sign that there’s a scratch or cut somewhere around your Boxer’s eye. Further, if you had long nails at the time of the unfortunate incident, it was probably easier for your Boxer’s eye to get scratched. 

Whatever the cause is, the injury to your Boxer’s eye could go away on its own but be sure to look out for swelling or any discharge from the eye in case you need to contact the vet.

Reason 3: Because Something’s In The Eye

One of my closest friends in high school had her very own Boxer best friend who I got to meet on many occasions. Her parents chose their sweet Boxer girl because of the playful, family-friendly personality that often allows Boxers to get along so well with small children.

This playfulness, though hilarious to watch sometimes, can get the Boxer breed into a bit of trouble when they accidentally get something lodged in their eyes when having fun.

Your Boxer’s eye could be red because they’ve managed to get dust, grass seed, dirt, or sand into the eye. These types of tiny, foreign particles can all evade that loose skin around your Boxer’s eye, causing swelling and irritation as your Boxer’s eye tries to get rid of whatever’s causing the problem.

In the summertime, grass seed, in particular, can be problematic. To help protect your fun-loving Boxer’s eyes, try to keep them from rolling around—particularly their faces—in long grass and make sure to check their eyes after a good outdoor romp.

Boxers are relatively high-energy dogs who need a healthy amount of exercise to keep that lean muscle mass in tip-top shape

So, while we of course don’t want to limit our Boxers’ exercise, we may have to come up with a few indoor-friendly options that can be especially helpful in the summertime. Though they aren’t necessarily the best natural swimmers, Boxers can also learn to love fun in the pool if given enough time and, of course, treats

If your Boxer is having so much fun in your pool, you may even find that they don’t even miss rolling around in the grass!

And though your Boxer may not be a racing champion, you may discover that they actually love to join you for regular runs

If you still want to let your athletic Boxer burn off some of that energy outside without letting them roll around in the grass, you might consider taking them for a run. Of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on their breathing and make sure they don’t get overheated.

Check out this Boxer having a blast running around—until his legs get a little tripped up, that is!

Though you can try to flush your Boxer’s eye out with clean water, ultimately, we suggest consulting your veterinarian if there’s something stuck in there or if you’re not sure. 

Reason 4: Because Of Irritation

Redness in your Boxer’s eye can be a quick heads up that the eye is irritated, whatever the reason.

Your special pooch could be struggling with an allergy, inflammation in different parts of the eye, or even being bloodshot from swimming.

Look for any random house cleaners and other chemicals that might’ve accidentally been left out. These can include your typical cleaning sprays, carpet cleaner, air fresheners, and other such household items. Even some unexpected items like incense could cause eye irritation in some dogs. Your boxer doesn’t have to consume these items to suffer from eye irritation and just being around them could be enough to cause a reaction for some sensitive pups. 

Naturally, we recommend keeping these items out of your dog’s reach, especially if you know that your Boxer is allergic to one or more of those items and their ingredients. 

A red eye could also be an indication of one of these two different types of inflammation: uveitis and conjunctivitis. Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, or the middle layer of the eye wall tissue. Conjunctivitis, though, is what we would otherwise call pinkeye: an itchy inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue coating the eye. 

In addition to the redness, your Boxer may be showing symptoms of either cause of inflammation like teary eyes, squinting, discharge, and pawing/rubbing at their eyes. These symptoms are shared between many different doggy eye concerns, so it’s best to let your vet know as soon as you detect them.

The more you regularly care for and clean your Boxer’s face and eyes, the easier it will be to know if something’s wrong and the quicker you can spot any redness. Try incorporating gently washing around the face and eyes with a wet washcloth as part of you and your Boxer’s daily bonding time. 

Your Boxer likely has their own special love language—or several! See if your Boxer adapts to this important health ritual as they possibly seek to fulfill longings for quality time or physical touch.

Like with most doggy health concerns, we suggest talking to your veterinarian if you think your Boxer is having a reaction to a particular allergen or is simply dealing with minor irritation and that’s why their eyes are red.

Reason 5: Because Of Cherry Eye

All boxers, and all dogs for that matter, have a third eyelid which is also called a nictating membrane. In some cases, this extra eyelid can prolapse and lead to a condition called cherry eye.

Cherry eye can cause irritation of the eye, including a bloodshot look. But if your boxer has cherry eye, you’ll be more concerned about the big, red and irritated third eyelid that’s present in the bottom half of the eye.

This condition is very distinct and hard to miss. Luckily, this condition isn’t especially painful and can easily be surgically repaired.

Reason 6: Because Of Entropion

If your pup’s eyelid is rolling in and rubbing their eye, that inflammation can easily cause the eye to be red. This rolling inward of the eyelid is called entropion.

Boxers are well-loved for their cute, quirky faces and their adorable wrinkly folds, but these extra folds can contribute to your Boxer suffering from entropion if excess skin is pushing the eyelids and causing them to roll inward.

In addition to the red eyes, your Boxer may show other signs of entropion like discharge from the eye, excessive tearing or “crying”, pawing at the eye, or even constant squinting as your Boxer tries to keep the eyelid from rolling. 

Because entropion can have a lot to do with genetics and the shape of your Boxer’s face, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to prevent entropion ahead of time but it can be surgically repaired.

Don’t Hesitate To Consult Your Veterinarian

Eyes are extremely sensitive and delicate! They’re not something that you want to take a “wait and see” approach and if you’re concerned about your boxer’s red eyes it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian!

Final Thoughts

It can be scary when we think something is wrong with our dogs. Thankfully, though, your veterinarian is just a call away if you become concerned with your Boxer’s red eyes!

A smart tip is to be aware of the context around the redness in your Boxer’s eye when trying to determine what could be wrong. 

If you know your Boxer has a particular fascination with rolling around in long grass or messing with the neighbor’s outdoor cat, you can likely find your answer pretty quickly!

After the redness has cleared itself up or after a vet visit, you can go back to enjoying all the attention-seeking playfulness of your Boxer!