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Common Eye Problems in Pugs

The Pug breed is known for its lively personality and for its wrinkled skin – these dogs are also known for their bulging eyes. The Pug’s eyes are part of what makes this breed unique and easy to identify, but it also puts them at risk for a number of eye problems. Keep reading to learn more about common Pug eye problems and what to do about them.

Cherry Eye

This condition develops when the Pug’s third eyelid slips out of position and starts to bulge out of the corner of the eye. A large pink or red bump will form in the corner of the eye and it may be accompanied by excessive tearing as well as pain or discomfort for the dog. In some cases, eye drops may help to reduce inflammation but surgery may be required to remove the duct or to suture it back in place. Cherry eye can happen in either of your Pug’s eyes but it rarely occurs in both eyes at once.


Entropion occurs when the eyelid rolls inward – this can lead to irritation of the eye as well as excessive tearing and blinking. This condition is thought to be genetic in Pugs and surgery is the only permanent cure. Ectropion occurs when the eyelid rolls outward, causing the lower lid to protrude and resulting in excessive tearing. This condition can generally be managed with topical lubricants and antibiotic ointments, though surgery may be necessary in some cases.

Corneal Ulcers

Your Pug’s cornea is the clear membrane that covers the surface of his eye. When the layers or the cornea wear down it is usually called a corneal ulcer or a corneal abrasion. The most common cause for corneal ulcers in pugs is eye trauma, though it could also be the result of a chemical burn or some kind of infection. Corneal ulcers can be very painful for your Pug so you might notice him keeping the eye closed or he might rub it with his paw. Treatment options vary but may include antibiotic drops, an ophthalmic ointment, pain-relieving medication, or even surgery to cover the ulcer.


Dogs have eyelashes just like humans do and sometimes they start to grow out of part of the eyelid where they do not belong. When this happens, the extra eyelashes can rub against the eye, causing discomfort and irritation – this condition is referred to as distichiasis. Some of the signs of distichiasis in Pugs include redness, discharge, squinting, or rubbing at the eye. If left untreated, this condition can lead to corneal ulcers. The most common treatment for this condition is removal of the offending lashes and the use of topical ointments to lubricate the eye and to relieve irritation. There are also surgical procedures which can be performed to prevent recurrence.


For some Pugs, cataracts are a congenital (inherited) condition but they can also be caused by trauma, inflammation, or diabetes. A cataract is an opacity that forms in the lens of the dog’s eye and it can result in a partial or complete loss of vision. In some cases, the cataract could luxate (slip out of place) which is incredibly painful for the dog and generally requires surgical correction. Cataracts can also lead to other complications such as glaucoma or retinal degeneration.

In addition to these medical problems, Pugs are also prone to eye injuries so make sure that your home is free from anything that could injure your Pug. You should also try to keep your Pug’s face clean to prevent some of the conditions above from developing. You can use baby wipes or special canine eye wipes to clean your Pug’s face and always keep a close eye on your Pug to catch symptoms of a disease or injury as early as possible.

Photo credit: Zemlinki!/Flickr