Do Dogs Eyes Get Red When Tired? (Answered)

Have you ever noticed your dog’s eyes turning red? When something goes wrong within the body, there are changes that happen on the outside to signal us. Dogs’ eyes can turn red for various reasons, including; tiredness, allergies, injury, a foreign object in the eye, or underlying medical problems. 

Your dog having red eyes is not always something to panic about. Stress can cause a strain on the blood vessels in the eyes. Your dog’s eye being red could be a sign that it needs to get some rest. Other symptoms also show up to make you certain about what is really going on, which you will learn as you read on. 

Why do dogs’ eyes get red when tired? When your dog is stressed, the blood pressure rises higher than normal, so more blood flows to the membrane capillaries around the eyes, causing the redness to increase slightly. What should you know about your fur baby’s red eyes and the other symptoms of stress? 

Can Dogs’ Eyes Get Red if They Are Tired? 

Yes, your dog’s eyes can turn red when they are tired. As earlier mentioned, tiredness causes the heart to pump more blood around the body. The redness is because there is more blood (which is red) in the blood vessels around the eyes. The veins and capillaries that supply the eyes with blood become swollen and thinner. 

As with humans, when your pup is tired, the heart rate goes up a bit higher than the usual pace. This is because your furry bestie, which may have been very active earlier, had its muscles performing a lot of metabolic work. Also, dehydration leads to a decrease in blood volume, so to meet up with the expected blood supply, the heart pumps a bit quicker. 

Tiredness causes your dog’s pupils to dilate, and the muscles tense up. If your dog is a furry one, you might notice some abnormal shedding too. The white outer layer of the eyeballs, called the sclera, becomes red and sunken. Its eyes may also appear droopy and more watery than normal when tired. 

How Can I Know if My Dog’s Eyes Are Red Because They Are Tired? 

Tiredness is not the only diagnosis you can deduce from your dog’s red eyes; however, it is a common cause. Along with other symptoms, you can be sure if your dog just needs rest or if it is something more. How can you know if your dog needs rest or a trip to the vet? 

Start by checking the eyes or eyelids; if they are peeled back or giving a half-moon shape, along with either or both eyes red, your dog is likely tired. Another additional sign of tiredness is very erect ears, although some dogs have their ears very flat when tired. Also, whiskers tend to stand on end when your dog needs a break.

Other symptoms you can check for include the tail- when your dog is stressed, the tail would appear limp and does not wag much when your dog tries to. The overall behavior of your pup is an easy way to tell if it needs some rest. Is your dog less active than usual or yawning many times per hour? Then maybe it is tired and needs more of your attention. 


What Can I Do About My Dog’s Red Eyes? 

Since you have figured out the root cause of the reddening eyes, which is tiredness, your priority should be letting your dog get enough rest. Due to lower energy levels, your dog will be less active and naturally want to lay down; hence you must prepare a conducive environment for relaxation. Set the tone surrounding in readiness for a good nap and prepare your doggy’s bed but do not force it to sleep in it just yet. 

Create a sense of warmth for your pup by petting. Little gestures like petting, belly rubs, and cuddles are a big deal for our furry friends. It also helps them to relax and feel less anxious when stressed. The feeling of calmness some friendly contact gives them normalizes their heart rate, reduces their blood pressure, and as a result, the flow of too much blood to the vessels in the eye. 

Ensure the environment is relaxing, quiet, and well-ventilated to ease your pup’s nerves. You can include a diffuser into the space with pheromones to help your dog relax better. A good quality diet will also provide your pet with the nourishment it needs to get back to its active state. Daily exercise would also help with keeping your dogs fit and relaxed, especially when done outside during cooler hours of the day. 


Stress is quite inevitable for both humans and animals alike, so we must learn to manage it when it happens to us and our pets. However, if you notice that the symptoms of stress and reddening eyes stay persistent or come and go frequently, you may need to see the vet. Ensure your dog gets a sufficient amount of sleep per day, which is, on average, 10-12 hours, and a healthy diet. Also, take time out of your schedule to go on walks with your dog or ensure they do daily exercises to relax the nerves and body; if you do not have much time on your hands for this, there are trainer centers where you can leave your dog to do exercises and bond with other dogs alike. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!