The French Bulldog Eye Carousel: French Bulldog Red Eyes Assessment and Treatment

🦴 Updated on July 12th, 2023

Little french bulldog dog with red swelling eyes

As a loving French bulldog owner, it’s impossible not to do absolutely everything to protect my precious pet from harm and illness. Even though I read every handbook on the breed, some health conditions, like eye issues, took me by surprise. 

While red eyes in Frenchies are common, it doesn’t mean you should ignore them and think they will miraculously vanish. Any eye condition requires treatment.

Typical French bulldog red eye conditions can stem from known allergies. Or are a syndrome called a French bulldog’s Cherry Eye. Others are more severe and require professional medical intervention quickly.

Before you panic, let me clarify further the next steps in assessing your pup’s eye problems. 

What Causes Red Eye in French Bulldogs?

Frenchies are a popular brachycephalic dog breed. Brachycephalic is a big word meaning that these dog breeds have a specific appearance in the shape of the skull. In these breeds, the skull is shorter than in other species. 

Their adorable faces have wrinkles and bulging eyes that tug at our heartstrings. This characteristic makes them prone to eye problems.

Top French Bulldog Red Eye Problems are:

  • Dry eye
  • Cherry Eye
  • Entropion
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Pinkeye
  • Eye allergies

French Bulldog Red Eyes Treatment:

  • Visual inspection of the eye area
  • Contact veterinary office
  • Make an emergency appointment as soon as possible
  • Use a compress until a further medical check up

Each optical condition may cause French bulldogs red eye symptoms and other more complicated eye health problems. Identifying French bulldog red eyes treatment and needs is best left to the attendance of a certified vet. 

But that doesn’t mean that caring Frenchie owners shouldn’t understand the fundamental differences.

Is Dry Eye Common in French Bulldogs?

We’ve already determined that a Frenchie’s breeding design makes them susceptible to certain conditions. Aside from genetic attributes, other influences and environmental hazards might exacerbate these eye conditions.

With preventative care, some of these conditions are preventable. Others are common because of the nature of the dog breed.

Dry Eye Symptoms in French Bulldogs

Dogs, like people, can suffer from dry eye symptoms. The medical term for dry eyes is (KCS) keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Dry eye is a common ocular condition, and it can be misleading. Often severe dry eyes exhibit the opposite: dry eyes can be very watery in appearance.

KCS is a condition from an inflamed cornea caused by the lack of tears to moisturize and lubricate the eye. The cornea covers the pupil and iris; if the conditions worsen, an unsightly greenish or yellowish mucus discharge is visible. In laypeople’s terms: eye gunk.

KCS is more prevalent in more mature Frenchies.

Causes of Dry Eye in French Bulldogs:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Congenital defects
  • Related infections from canine distemper
  • Removal of Cherry Eye

Signs of a Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Pronounce eyelids with swelling
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Noticeable light sensitivity
  • Dry and dull cornea
  • Visible dog discomfort and scratching
  • Increased blinking
  • Eye mucus and discharge

Next Steps for Curing Dry Eye in French Bulldogs

Even if all signs point to dry eyes with the accompanying symptoms of red eyes in French bulldogs, get a qualified second opinion from your vet. Untreated eye health issues are painful for your pet. Treatment may require the prolonged application of prescribed eye ointments and drops to protect the cornea.

Cherry Eye in French Bulldogs

Cherry Eye is a common congenital health concern in Frenchies. Although in the early stage, Cherry Eye might only involve one eye. It will likely spread and affect both eyes.

Cute French bulldog with cherry eyes

Dogs have unique eyes with three eyelids. The Nictitating membrane or third lid allows dogs to see. Healthy tear production delivers oxygen and nutrients to the eyes. Cherry Eye develops when prolapse occurs. A red or pink swelling forms.

Causes of Cherry Eye French Bulldogs:

  • Congenital (present since birth)
  • Weakened tear gland and movement
  • Irritation causes swelling
  • It affects one eye (might/will spread)

Signs of Cherry Eye in French Bulldogs:

  • Bulging of one or both eyes (pink corners)
  • Constant pawing of eyes
  • A pronounced increase in tearing
  • Discharge
  • Inability to blink or close eye fully

Next Steps For Why Are My Frenchies Eyes Red From Cherry Eye?

Cherry Eye is a painless health problem. It may progress into other problems if left untreated. Your vet can reattach the gland or remove it. Massaging the swollen gland can help.


When my Frenchie started rubbing his eye repeatedly, I imagined the worst eye condition: Entropion. This horribly painful infection causes the eyelids to roll inwards. Entropion can also show symptoms of red eyes in French bulldogs, and it’s more serious.

Cause of Entropion in French Bulldog’s Eyes:

  • Eye trauma and accidents
  • Mature age and droopy lids
  • Inherited eye infection
  • Birth abnormalities

Signs of Entropion in French Bulldogs

  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Persistent rubbing
  • Clouding or milky appearance
  • A pronounced increase in tearing (discharge)
  • Rolling eyelids and squinting

Next Steps and Treatment Options:

Preventing your Frenchie from scratching is the first step. Untreated, it will damage the eye tissue and cause eye-bulging and increased eye discomfort. It will eventually lead to scarring and blindness. 

Dog owners can usually diagnose Entropion. A quick response to accessing veterinary treatment is essential. Surgery is often required. Prevention through regular check-ups is the best cure. 

Pink Eye 

Pink eye is a term people use to define a common eye disease in French bulldogs: conjunctivitis. Like in people, this inflammation develops on the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) covering the eye.

Causes of Pink Eye in French Bulldogs:

  • Allergens like mold, fragrance, pollen, dust
  • Transmission & eye injury from grass or carpeting
  • It can occur in young and old dogs

Signs of Pink Eye in French Bulldogs:

  • Goopy mucus discharge
  • Red, inflamed eye
  • Pronounced squinting
  • Excessive watering
  • Swollen eyelids (swollen conjunctival blood vessels)

Next Steps in Treating Pink Eye in French Bulldogs

Once your veterinarian makes the proper assessment, pink eye is treatable with quick results. Typically, a vet will prescribe the appropriate eye solution to treat the inflammation. A secondary course of moisturizing tear-producing lubricant will solve the problem.

Although it’s rare, it’s possible to infect your pet if you or someone close has pink eyes. Frequent hand washing is essential when handling treatment medications for your French bulldog’s red eyes.

Ulcerative Keratitis or Corneal Ulcers French Bulldog Eye Problems

Coping and treating these problems isn’t for the faint-hearted. I believe knowledge is power. Corneal Ulcers are infections compounded by dryness and other ocular eye infections. If you suspect this eye condition in your dog, note it is excruciating.

The leading cause is a loss of tissue layers in the cornea. The present ulcers are either deep or artificial.

Artificial corneal ulcers heal with treatment within one to two weeks and involve the epithelium layer.

Deep corneal ulcerative Keratitis moves beyond the outer membrane of Epithelium and invades the thick membrane (Descemet’s membrane) beneath. Many situations and factors cause Corneal Ulcers.

Cause of Corneal Ulcers:

  • Repeated rubbing will cause trauma to eye tissue
  • Complexities of untreated, dry eye
  • Inadequate grooming methods involving harsh chemicals
  • Accidental injuries involving sharp objects

Signs of Corneal Ulcers in French Bulldog’s Eyes:

  • Ocular mucus
  • Redness
  • Repeated blinking & unusual squinting
  • Eye closure (without sleeping)
  • Holding eyes closed for some time

Next Steps in Treating Corneal Ulcers:

I’m unsure how I could forgive myself if I allowed a Corneal Ulcer to go untreated in my Frenchie. A vet can quickly confirm your fears and provide pain-relieving antibiotic ointments.

French Bulldog’s Eyes Allergies

Dogs can also suffer from skin, eye, and food allergies. French Bulldogs have a genetic disposition to develop chronic allergies. Food allergies may cause hives and pronounced itching, licking, and stool issues.

Eye allergies can mimic more severe underlying conditions. When in doubt, check it out.


French Bulldogs are adorable. Yet they suffer from several genetic illnesses that can make them uncomfortable or permanently harm them.

What are common French Bulldog eye problems?

The most common are Cherry Eye, Entropion, Corneal Ulcers, common environmental and food allergies, and dry eye complications.

Should I administer eye drops to my Frenchie with Cherry Eye?

Only administer prescribed eye medication to your Frenchie on the advice of your veterinarian. A wrong product can make the condition worse.

What should I do when my Frenchie has bloodshot eyes?

If you don’t know the cause, discuss it with your vet.

How often should I clean my dog’s tear stains?

Clean your dog’s tear stains at least once a week. However, if your dog suffers from excessive tearing, you may need to clean them more often.

Conclusion: Determining Causes of French Bulldogs’ Red Eyes

If you ruled out the factors causing your French bulldog eye allergies, which can mimic similar symptoms, it’s wise to call in the big guns.

I never hesitate to contact my vet when I suspect an injury or infection. Some symptoms in French bulldogs’ bloodshot eyes are minor and due to the nature of their heritage. 

Routine medical exams are a great tool. And, my Frenchie may not say “my eyes are itching like crazy,” with dialog. But these problems can signify something more complicated. In the end, early prevention is a less expensive alternative.

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Picture of Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.