Why Does My French Bulldog Have Red Eyes?

French Bulldogs, renowned for their loyal temperament and adorable features, make terrific companions. Despite their many wonderful qualities, these dogs can experience health conditions due to their unique physique – specifically, their eyes can exhibit symptoms like redness. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the breed and the causes of their most common eye conditions and treatment strategies.

The most common reason for French Bulldogs with red eyes is a condition known as cherry eye. Cherry eye is when the tear ducts of a dog become inflamed and become red and irritated.

A French bulldog with cherry eye.

Red Eye Conditions in French Bulldogs

The redness in the eyes of your French Bulldog can be attributed to various eye conditions that cause the blood vessels to enlarge, making them appear red. Here are some eye ailments that your French Bulldog could potentially be prone to:

Cherry Eye

Cherry Eye is one of the most common eye conditions in French Bulldogs and is highly likely to cause red eyes. This condition is caused when the gland in the third eyelid (also known as the nictitating membrane) prolapses or pops out of its natural position. This causes a red, bulging mass in the corner of the dog’s eye.


Conjunctivitis in dogs, commonly known as ‘Pink Eye,’ can also result in red eyes. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a mucous membrane that covers the front part of the eye and lines the inner part of the eyelids. When this membrane is inflamed, it causes the eyes to become red and swollen.

Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

Dry Eye is an eye condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears, causing them to become dry and irritated. This condition can result in red eyes, along with other symptoms like itching, pain, and a sticky or cloudy discharge.

Causes of Red Eyes in French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs, commonly referred to as Frenchies, might sometimes present with red eyes. This is usually indicative of an eye condition, which could be caused by various factors. These could include allergies, conjunctivitis, dry eye, cherry eye, corneal ulcers, or even glaucoma. Understanding the root cause of the redness in the eyes is essential for providing the right treatment.

Causes and Recognizable Symptoms

In addition to the concerns mentioned earlier, allergies can be a common culprit for eye problems in French Bulldogs. Allergic reactions can lead to red, itchy eyes, often accompanied by potential discharge. If you notice your Frenchie rubbing or pawing at their eyes frequently, it could be a sign of discomfort caused by allergies.

Another condition that can affect your pup’s eyes is conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. Besides the telltale redness, the eyes may have a sticky, yellow, or green discharge. Conjunctivitis is usually caused by irritants, infections, or allergens and may lead to temporary vision impairment if not promptly treated.

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) can cause discomfort for your French Bulldog. In this condition, the tear glands fail to produce sufficient moisture, resulting in redness, light sensitivity, and a thick, yellow discharge. Regular eye checks can help detect dry eye early and prevent further complications.

If you happen to notice a red bulge in the corner of your Frenchie’s eye, it might be a cherry eye. As mentioned before, this is a condition where the gland in the third eyelid becomes inflamed and pops out, resembling a small cherry. While not typically painful, it can be uncomfortable for your dog and might require veterinary attention.

One more serious condition to be aware of is glaucoma, a condition that causes increased pressure within the eye. Glaucoma can lead to red, swollen eyes and may even affect your Frenchie’s vision. If you notice these symptoms, immediate veterinary care is crucial to prevent further complications.

Treatment Options For Bulldogs With Red Eyes

When it comes to treatment options for your frenchie with red eyes, there are a few options available depending on what is causing red eyes.

For allergies causing red, itchy eyes with potential discharge, treatment options include antihistamines to alleviate symptoms, medicated eye drops to reduce inflammation, or a change in diet to identify and avoid allergens.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis requires targeted treatment based on the cause. If it’s due to bacterial infection, antibiotic eye drops are commonly prescribed. For cases caused by irritants or allergens, anti-inflammatory eye drops may be recommended to soothe the eyes and promote healing.

Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
Managing dry eye involves using artificial tears to lubricate the eyes and provide relief. In more severe cases, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to improve tear production. In extreme instances, surgery might be necessary to address the underlying cause and improve tear production.

Cherry Eye
Surgical correction is typically the recommended treatment for cherry eye. During the procedure, the veterinarian will reposition the prolapsed gland to prevent further discomfort and restore the eye’s natural appearance.

Corneal Ulcers
Corneal ulcers need intensive treatment to promote healing and prevent infections. Treatment often involves administering eye drops to promote corneal repair and manage pain. In some cases, a soft contact lens may be placed to protect the cornea during the healing process. If the ulcer is severe or not responding to treatment, surgery may be necessary to repair or graft the affected area.

Glaucoma is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Treatment may involve oral medications to reduce intraocular pressure and eye drops to manage pain and inflammation. In certain cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve.

Preventing Red Eyes In Frenchies

Since frenchies are known to have frequent eye problems that can tend be expensive to treat, it’s important to consider proper care to prevent red eyes in the future.

Regular eye exams

Take your Frenchie for regular vet check-ups. They can detect early indicators of an eye problem and act accordingly.


Keep your pup’s eyes clean. Use a damp cloth to clean around the eyes gently.

Avoid eye irritants

Try to keep your dog away from potential allergens or irritants that can cause red eyes. If allergens are unavoidable, consult your vet for proper medication.

Hydration and nutrition

Keep your dog well-hydrated and ensure they eat a balanced diet. Good nutrition is vital for overall health, including eye health.

Daily exercise

While Frenchies are not high-energy dogs, they do require regular physical activity to maintain overall health, which indirectly contributes to eye health.

Safe play

Ensure that your Frenchie’s playtime is safe to avoid eye injuries. Keep hazardous objects or harsh chemicals out of their reach.

Why Are French Bulldogs Prone To Eye Problems?

French Bulldogs are known for their lovable and charming appearance, but their unique facial features can make them more prone to certain eye problems. One aspect that contributes to their vulnerability is their flat, brachycephalic facial structure. This characteristic can lead to shallow eye sockets, leaving their eyes more exposed and at risk of irritants.

Additionally, those big, expressive eyes that capture everyone’s hearts can be susceptible to injuries due to their prominence. Owners should be cautious during playtime and in environments with potential eye hazards.

Genetics can play a role in eye problems, making responsible breeding practices and health screenings crucial for maintaining healthy eyes in the breed. Additionally, Frenchies can be prone to allergies and sensitivities, which may cause redness and itching in their eyes.

Keeping a vigilant eye on your French Bulldog’s ocular health and seeking veterinary advice at the first sign of any issues will help ensure their beautiful eyes remain bright and healthy throughout their lives. With a little extra care and attention, those soulful eyes will continue to captivate you and others for years to come.


Like any beloved pet, keeping your French Bulldog healthy and happy greatly impacts their quality of life. By being vigilant about their eye health, noticing early signs of illness, understanding the potential causes of red eyes, and having knowledge about treatment options, we can help ensure our French Bulldogs live comfortable and content lives. By taking preventative measures and seeking early treatment, it’s entirely possible to successfully manage these conditions, resulting in bright and clear eyes for your beloved Frenchie. Hence, this information plays an instrumental role in preserving your French Bulldog’s eye health, instead of their cuteness being marred by the discomfort and potential harm of untreated eye conditions.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. 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!

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