My Dog’s Eyelid is Bleeding: What Do I Do?

If your dog is bleeding, especially from a sensitive area such as their eye or eyelid, it’s sure to induce some fear and concern. Questions like “How did they get this injury? Is it a cut or a more serious trauma? Do I need to take them to the veterinarian?” and many others will pop into your head – they’re all valid questions and we’ll answer them here for you. After reading through this short article, you should fully understand what it could mean if your dog’s eyelid is bleeding, how to make a quick at home assessment and be prepared for the steps you need to take as a pet parent.

Let’s start by discussing the possible causes for eyelid bleeding in dogs, then move on to the symptoms you may observe and what you should do to be sure your beloved pet stays happy and healthy.

Causes of a Bleeding Eyelid

It’s important to first understand a little bit more about the eyelid and certain conditions, injuries or disorders that can cause them to bleed. Here are a few interesting facts that should help. The eyelid is one of the most sensitive parts of the body and serves as a protector and defender against dust, dirt and foreign debris from entering your dog’s eye. And, you may be surprised to learn that your dog actually has three eyelids. The third eyelid is known as the nictitating membrane or haw. It’s something you may have noticed while lovingly staring into your pup’s eyes and wondered, “Is that an extra eyelid?”. This third lid sits in the lower corner and depending on your dog’s breed it can be easy to miss, as color can differ from clear to cloudy.

So what can cause the eyelid to bleed? There are several different reasons, but some of the most common include:

  • Impact from a sharp object
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer or a tumor
  • Infection
  • Conjunctivitis

Keep in mind, it’s good to be cautious and get your dog expert care as soon as possible but try not to panic. One of the most common reasons for bleeding or injury to the eyelid is from an injury while playing outside or possibly a scuffle with another animal. Cat’s aren’t the only curious creatures (actually, a cat scratch could even been the culprit of the injury). Another quick note: it may be difficult for you to determine exactly where the bleeding is coming from whether it’s their eye, eyelid or area surrounding the eye. As always, be sure to bring your dog into the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan – no matter the cause of the bleeding. A serious injury or condition to the eye can result in vision impairments or even blindness.

Symptoms of a Bleeding Eyelid

For certain injuries to the eye, there may not be any initial or precursor symptoms to the bleeding occurring – he or she scratches their eye and it starts bleeding, it happens that fast. If you didn’t notice any abnormalities prior to the event, that could be a sign that the injury was recent and not due to a long term infection or disease. If you do notice a small bump on or around the eyelid, that may even look similar to that of a skin tag, it’s important to have it checked out.

If the bump appeared prior to the bleeding it could be due to a tumor or growth and will require evaluation to determine if it’s cancerous or not. A tumor can impair your pup’s ability to blink properly, irritate their eye and lead to infection. This could cause your dog some pain, so you may see him or her exhibit symptoms of irritation, pawing or rubbing at their eye area. Conjunctivitis in dogs can also cause eyelid bleeding and is something to be aware of if you notice redness of puffiness around your puppy’s eyes.

Next Steps

If you notice your dog’s eyelid is bleeding and ask yourself, “What do I do?” the first step should be to inspect the area and check for any foreign matter that may be in his or her eye. Be sure to keep them from pawing at their eye and the injury. You may also use a compress on the eye to ease pain and wipe away any contributing factors to the bleeding, such as dirt or discharge. Never use your own eye medication on your pet, only that was prescribed by the vet specifically for your dog and their condition. You can read more on how to determine when you should take your pet to the vet for an eye check up here.

No matter the cause, an injury to the eye could lead to future vision complications and should be addressed immediately. As mentioned, the best idea is to bring your pet in to see the local vet for proper diagnosis – especially if you’re unsure of the exact cause of the bleeding. The diagnosis will determine the next steps, what you can do, and if a treatment plan is necessary.


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