The Eyes Have It: Eye Problems in Chihuahuas

5 Common Eye Problems In Chihuahuas

‘Eyes are the window to the soul’ and never has this been more true of chihuahuas. They can express so much with one look from their chocolate button eyes and I am sure they have mind control powers! But as chihuahuas are close to the ground and their eyes protrude it can leave them vulnerable. Here we look at some of the most common eye problems in chihuahuas and how to manage them.


The conjunctiva is the moist tissue that covers the eyes, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be caused by a foreign object entering the eye, fungus or a virus. You may see the eye is red and swollen and there may be a discharge. Your chi may be blinking excessively, watering or the eye may be half closed. Conjunctivitis is extremely uncomfortable; it can be itchy and can also be painful.  This could make your chihuahua snappy and likely to bite.

If you suspect your dog has conjunctivitis then you need to take him to the vet, she will check that there are no foreign objects or damage to the cornea by adding a dye. When Mika had it she also added some anesthetic, you could see the relief in him straight away. You may be prescribed an antibiotic cream that needs to be dropped in twice a day. alternatively if the case is only mild they may recommend you use a branded eye wash. 

Foreign Object In Eye

With inquisitive faces near the ground, it is easy for eyes to pick up foreign objects such as sand, grass seeds or dirt. While they may only seem small, they can cause a lot of irritation, pain and discomfort. Signs of a chi having a foreign object in the eye include;

  • Swelling of the eye or eyelid
  • Squinting or difficulty focussing
  • Rubbing their face on the floor
  • Pawing at the eye
  • Excessive tears.

You may be able to help your chi yourself though flushing the eye, if the problem persists, then seek assistance from a vet. If you think your chi has an object in his eye, wrap him in a towel so he can’t rub it and take him to the vet.

Chihuahuas are very inquisitive and love to ferret about. This can make them vulnerable to foreign objects getting in their eyes.

Dry Eyes

A common eye problem in chihuahuas, especially for older dogs, is dry eyes. This comes from a lack of tear production. As well as affecting chihuahua over the age of six, it can also occur from a genetic defect or a viral infection. Symptoms of dry eyes include;

  • Dull eye appearance
  • Redness or irritation
  • Sticky eyes, where it is a struggle to blink
  • Eye discharge.

If dry eyes symptom is affecting your chi, then your vet can prescribe medication or lubricating eye drops to help improve tear production. You can also help by wiping eyes with a warm, damp cloth. While this complaint is common and is easy to treat, left untreated and your chihuahua could suffer from permanent eye damage including blindness.

Corneal Ulcer

An ulcer is common after a trauma to the eye such as a scratch, object in the eye or a puncture. A corneal ulcer is largely superficial as it only affects the top layer of the cornea, however, if your chi’s eyes suffer severe damage then they may have a deep ulcer that affects other layers of the cornea and is a much more serious condition.

Signs of a corneal ulcer include;

  • A film over the eye
  • Reluctance or inability to open the affected eye
  • Runny eyes or discharge
  • Redness or inflammation.

Vets will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication for corneal ulcers which usually clear up the problem within a week, so do not hesitate to seek assistance from the vet if you think your chihuahua dog is suffering from an ulcer.


Glaucoma can be a serious condition that often causes blindness in dogs. Glaucoma happens through a fluid build-up which puts pressure on the optic nerve. A dog will show signs of a headache if they are suffering from glaucoma and other signs to look out for include;

  • Change in behaviour
  • Loss of vision in an eye
  • Dilated pupils
  • Misshapen or bulging eyes.

To prevent glaucoma in your chi, you can include specific dietary supplements, eliminate pressure on their neck through a harness system instead of a collar and lead and monitor eye pressure in older dogs in regular veterinary exams.

This is not a definitive list of eye problems in chihuahuas, if you are managing an eye condition please give us the benefit of your experience in the comments sections. Eye problems are potentially serious so please always get your vet’s advice if you are worried.

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  1. barb wllows
    December 23, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    my daughters chihuahuas one eye looks like its turned outwards like when kids get lazy eye theres no puss and no pain what could cause this hes 8 years old

    • Louise Kirby
      December 23, 2017 / 2:32 pm

      Hi barb, If this is a new occurrence then you must take him to the vet and get it checked out.

    • Ashley
      January 10, 2019 / 2:35 am

      I have a baby Chi that has this same issue. Did you find out any information? I take her to the vet for shots soon. I’m gonna check to see what they say. Thx

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