Dog Eye Styes

icon September 16, 2023

Does your dog have a stye on their eye, and you wonder if it is an emergency? A stye is extremely painful for a pup. Just like humans, dogs can develop these painful and bothersome lumps on or near their eyelids. If you or a family member have ever experienced a stye, you are probably familiar with the pain and discomfort that these lesions can cause in people. In this article, we will explore what dog eye styes are, their causes, symptoms, and how to manage and prevent them.

What is a Dog Eye Stye?

A dog eye stye is a localized infection or inflammation that occurs in or around the eyelids. It is typically characterized by a red, swollen bump on or near the edge of the eyelid, resembling a pimple or a small abscess. These styes can be painful for your furry friend and may cause discomfort, irritation, and even affect their vision if left untreated.

Audubon Animal Medical Center

What Are the Early Symptoms of Dog Eye Styes?

The early symptoms of a dog eye stye, also known as a canine eye stye or hordeolum, may not be very pronounced, but they gradually become more noticeable as the stye develops. Some common early symptoms to watch for include:

  • Mild Swelling: Initially, you may notice a slight swelling or bump on the dog's eyelid. It may be small and barely noticeable at first.
  • Redness: The area around the bump may appear slightly reddened or irritated.
  • Tearing: Your dog's eye may produce more tears than usual due to the irritation caused by the stye.
  • Slight Discomfort: Your dog may blink more frequently or paw at their eye occasionally in response to the discomfort.
  • Increased Blinking: Your dog may blink more often than usual because the stye can cause a sensation of foreign material in the eye.
  • Mild Sensitivity to Light: In some cases, dogs with eye styes may become slightly sensitive to light, which can cause them to squint.

Pink Eye in Dogs

What Causes Styes in Dogs Eyes?

Dog eye styes are commonly caused by bacterial infections, particularly Staphylococcus bacteria. The infection occurs when the hair follicles or oil glands on the eyelid become blocked or irritated, allowing bacteria to multiply. Various factors can contribute to the development of these styes, including:

  • Poor Hygiene: Just like humans, dogs require regular grooming. Neglecting their eye area can lead to a buildup of dirt, debris, and bacteria.
  • Eye Irritation: Anything that irritates your dog's eyes, such as dust, pollen, or foreign objects, can increase the risk of developing a stye.
  • Breed Predisposition: Some dog breeds with short, bristly facial hair, like Bulldogs and Pugs, are more susceptible to eye styes due to the unique structure of their eyelids.
  • Weakened Immune System: Dogs with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to infections, including eye styes.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Stye in Dogs?

Diagnosing a dog eye stye, also known as a canine hordeolum, typically involves a thorough examination by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will begin by performing a comprehensive physical examination of your dog, paying particular attention to the affected eye. They will look for signs of redness, swelling, discharge, and any visible lumps or bumps on the eyelid. A more detailed examination of the eye may be necessary. The veterinarian may use an ophthalmoscope to examine the eye's internal structures, including the cornea, conjunctiva, and the inside of the eyelids. This helps rule out other potential eye conditions. In some cases, if a bacterial infection is suspected, your veterinarian may take a swab or culture of the discharge from the affected eye to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection. This can help determine the most appropriate antibiotic treatment. The veterinarian will also consider other possible eye conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as conjunctivitis, allergies, or foreign objects in the eye. They may perform additional tests if needed to rule out these possibilities.

How Do You Treat a Stye on A Dog's Eye?

If you suspect your dog has an eye stye. Treatment may include:

Warm Compresses:

Here's how to do it:

Soak a clean, soft cloth or gauze pad in warm (not hot) water.
Gently wring out excess water.
Hold the warm compress against your dog's closed eye for 5-10 minutes, several times a day.
Be sure the compress is not too hot to avoid burning your dog's skin or eye.


When bacteria is the source of the problem, a medicated eye drop or ointment can resolve the infection. Often easy to apply, simply tilt the animal's head upward, gently pull down the eyelid, and let the medication drip from the bottle or tube.

In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to treat the underlying infection.
Your veterinarian may recommend pain relief medication to alleviate your dog's discomfort. Never give your dog over-the-counter pain medications without your vet's guidance, as some can be toxic to dogs.

Dog Styes

Proper Grooming

Regularly clean your dog's face and eye area to prevent debris and bacteria buildup. Gently clean any discharge or crust around the affected eye using a clean, damp cloth with an eye wash solution. Be very gentle to avoid causing more irritation.

Environmental Changes

Minimize potential irritants in your dog's environment, such as dust or allergens, to reduce the risk of future styes.

Dietary Supplements

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants, to support overall eye health. Always follow your vet's guidance when using supplements.

Home Remedies for Stye on Dog's Eye

While it's always best to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment of a stye on your dog's eye, there are some home remedies that may help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Here are some home remedies that may provide relief:

Warm Compresses: Gently apply a warm, damp cloth to the affected eye for 5-10 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce inflammation, ease discomfort, and encourage drainage if there is pus present. Make sure the cloth is clean and warm, not hot.

Epsom Salt Soak: Dissolve a small amount of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in warm water. Soak a clean cloth in this solution and apply it as a warm compress to the stye. Be sure the solution is not too concentrated to avoid irritation.

Herbal Tea Bags: You can use cooled, moistened herbal tea bags (such as chamomile or black tea) as a compress. These teas contain natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Antibacterial Eye Drops: Some over-the-counter human antibacterial eye drops may be safe for use in dogs. However, you should consult your veterinarian first to confirm the safety and appropriate dosage for your dog.

When is a Dog Stye an Emergency?

Here are some scenarios where a dog stye might be considered an emergency or when you should seek prompt veterinary care:

  • Emphysema causes visible swelling, redness, or rapidly worsening inflammation
  • Squinting or difficulty opening the eyes
  • Heavy discharge or pus in the eyes
  • Recurrent or persistent wheels
  • Changes in the appearance of the eye, cloudiness, excessive tearing, or changes in eye color
  • Drowsiness, loss of appetite or fever

Dog Eye Stye Removal Cost

The cost of treating a dog eye stye can vary widely depending on various factors, including your location, the severity of the condition, and the specific treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian or ophthalmologist. 

Item Estimated Cost Range
Examination by a regular veterinarian $50 - $100
Examination by an ophthalmologist $100 - $300
Blood panel $100 - $300 (optional)
Oral antibiotics $20 - $50 (for a course)
Prescription topical eye ointment $20 - $50 (per tube)
Anti-inflammatory medication $20 - $50 (per course)
Surgery to remove the stye $300 - $1,500 (varies)

How Long Does A Stye Last?

In general, a stye typically lasts for about 1 to 2 weeks, but it may resolve more quickly or persist for a longer period in some cases.

If a stye does not improve after a couple of weeks or if it worsens, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional or ophthalmologist for further evaluation and potential treatment, which may include drainage or antibiotics.

Will A Stye Go Away on Its Own?

A stye, whether in humans or dogs, can often resolve on its own without medical intervention, but the time it takes for a stye to go away can vary from individual to individual. 

However, there are cases where a stye doesn't improve or worsens despite home care efforts. In such situations, or if the stye causes significant discomfort or affects the dog's vision, it's crucial to seek veterinary care.

How to Prevent Styes on Dogs?

Preventing styes in dogs involves maintaining good eye hygiene and minimizing factors that can contribute to their development. Here are some tips to help prevent styes in your dog:

Regular Eye Cleaning

Clean your dog's eyes regularly, especially if they are prone to tear staining or discharge. Use a clean, damp cloth or a specially formulated eye wash solution for dogs to gently clean around the eyes. This can help remove debris and prevent blockages in the glands and hair follicles.

Proper Nutrition

Ensure your dog is on a balanced and nutritious diet. Good nutrition supports overall health, including the health of the eyes and skin. 

  • Protein: Adequate protein is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Ensure that the dog food you choose contains an appropriate amount of quality animal-based protein.
  • Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important for skin and eye health. These can be found in ingredients like fish oil or flaxseed in some dog foods, or you can discuss supplements with your veterinarian.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, help protect the eyes and skin from oxidative damage. Many high-quality dog foods include these nutrients.


In conclusion, while dog eye styes may be common and typically not life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable and should be treated promptly to prevent complications. Maintaining good hygiene, regular grooming, and keeping an eye on your furry friend's health can go a long way in preventing these pesky eye issues and ensuring your dog's eyes stay healthy and happy.




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