How To Care For Your Pugs Eyes To Ensure They Don’t Pop Out?

Pug owners love nothing more than the sweet innocence they see in their pug’s eyes. They’re large, round, and are a big part of a pug’s charm. Unfortunately, the protruding nature of it does come with a few consequences.

Why do pugs eyes pop out? Sadly, pugs are famous for a small face with a short snout. Not only does it impact their breathing, but the brachycephalic breed suffers from eye problems as well. This is due to the unfortunate combination of bulging eyes and shallow sockets.

Accidents can happen in a flash and very unexpectedly. Eye trauma should be taken very seriously, so it’s crucial for owners to know how to react, treat, and prevent these issues. Being proactive can reduce the severity of an injury and give your pug the best chance to recover.

Let’s Learn About Ocular Proptosis

The condition in which a pug suffers from popping eyes is called “Ocular Proptosis”. In this condition, the eyeball places itself far more forward than it should be and goes beyond the eyelid. You will notice your pug’s eye popping out or dangling out of the eye socket, and it will likely turn blood red.

However, if an owner acts quickly enough, the eye can get reattached in time and prevent further damage. Excessive pressure on the eyelid can push the globe (eyeball) out of the socket, thus causing it to detach. You might be wondering how a bit of pressure can result in such a drastic injury. Well, because pugs are small, it doesn’t take a mountain of force to impact the dog’s body and even less to alter its facial features.

If the skin around the pug’s face is pulled too hard, the eyes can pop out as a result. And because pugs are prone to this, owners should know to use a harness over a collar when walking outdoors. Harnesses helps to relieve pressure around the head and neck, by distributing it across their body. Not only will it give you more control, it will allow them to breathe easier and prevent potential injuries to their neck and eyes.  

In a situation where your pug crashes into a wall or desk, then the trauma of the accident can be enough to harm their eyes. These things might seem petty for other breeds, but pug owners must be more aware of what their pet is doing. And it isn’t just external force that can be troublesome. Internal pressure can be just as severe, and they can include internal bleeding, tumor, and infections.

As long as owners react quickly, pugs can successfully have their eyes placed back inside the socket, if that is what’s required. So, being alert, reacting immediately, and knowing what you can and cannot do is vital.

Proptosis Requires You to React

Although you might be in a state of panic seeing your pug in such horrific shape, you must react sensibly in order to get them the help they need. Below are the steps you should follow if such an incident occurs.

Remain Calm

The first thing you need to understand is that you can’t panic. If you do that, you won’t be able to think well enough to come up with a solution. Your pug might already be undergoing a lot of anxiety and physical pain, so if they see you like that, there may not have a pleasant outcome since the breed is sensitive. Keep your cool!

Don’t Pop the Eye Back In

We understand that you’re eager to rectify the issue as soon as possible, but you absolutely cannot pop the eye back in. This is a serious situation that requires you to seek the help of a vet. There isn’t a solution to fix this at home, so don’t even try – you’ll likely make it worse.

Cover It Up

Get your hands on some saline solution and cover the eye with a gauze. Place the gauze lightly on the eye after you soak it in saline solution. The eye may still stick out and will look scary but at least this will help prevent an infection. Make sure you don’t remove it yourself. Let the professional tackle the situation from that point onwards.

Call the Vet

Before making any rash moves, make sure you call your local vet and rush to them immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, it isn’t a situation that you can handle at home, and you will have to seek the help of a vet to professionally treat your pug’s eye. The faster your dog receives medical attention, the higher the chances for recovery.

The treatment can range between $500 to $4,000, depending on the complication. If it’s not too severe, it shouldn’t cost beyond $1,500. These injuries aren’t cheap and if you’re worried about the financial aspect of this, it’s worthwhile considering pet insurance as an option. You’ll never know when you might need it, as these kind of incidents are usually unforeseen.

Let’s Talk About the Treatment

The treatment will depend upon the vet’s assessment of a few factors. Of course, the severity of the trauma will be looked at first and foremost, but things like your dog’s age and overall health will also need to be considered.

If it isn’t severe, some eye ointments and a slight push can fix the eye as though nothing had ever happened to the pug. However, the possibility of an infection might be there, so the vet will prescribe a few doses of antibiotics to be taken for a few weeks after the trauma. This is usually best case scenario and recovery will be quite quick. Alternatively, if the eye pops out due to internal pressure or a more serious injury, be prepared to invest more care and time into it.

The eyeball can pop entirely out of the socket, and the eyelid might be partly closed behind the popped-out eye. The vet will have to pull out the eyelids beyond the eye globe so the eyelids can shut adequately and pull the eyeball back inside. The eyelids will undergo a few stitches to keep the ball in place after administering a shot of antibiotics to prevent any further infections. The stitches usually come off in some time, and the recovery period is longer.

Not to worry though! The procedure won’t hurt your doggo because the vet will administer anaesthesia before performing the surgery. Your pug will need to wear an Elizabethan collar (cone of shame) for a few weeks to prevent them from scratching at the recovering injury.

Precaution is Better Than Cure

Many of you will agree that the best policy is to take care of your pug, so that you don’t need to take them to a veterinarian for health complications. But how? Let’s find out:

Pet Insurance

Pug surgeries can rip a big hole in your pocket, so it is best to get pet insurance. This way the financial aspects of the medical treatment will be taken care of. After all, you have to care for your pet because you have taken responsibility for it.

Get it done for your peace of mind because if your pug’s eye pops out suddenly, it will be hard to deal with both the injury, recovery, as well as the financial stress at the same time. These days, it’s possible to lump your personal health insurance along with pet insurance, so maybe look at that as an option.

Veterinarian Check-ups

A general health check-up is essential for this breed. Why? Pugs can be prone to many diseases and health problems due to its short snout. So extra care is a part of the routine. Regular check-ups need to take place to keep the your pug happy and healthy. This can also prevent a sudden burst of anxiety for their owners due to any onset of a disease.

Keep Your Pug Indoors

Pugs are playful dogs and want to have fun and seek attention all the time. They are curious little pups and will run wherever they feel they can have fun and entertain their owner. If you live near the woods or a crowded street, you have to prevent the dog from rushing outside.

Any sharp object can meet its eye because the pug doesn’t entertain the idea of closing eyes while running. It is extremely dangerous for pugs to meet such accidents because they can be detrimental considering the eye-popping possibility. When going outdoors, you should always keep your pug on a leash and supervised.

You Have to Stop Smoking in the House

Sad news for chain smokers, but pugs hate smoke. It can irritate their eyes a lot, resulting in the pug scratching its eye, which can lead to an infection. Infections are a massive cause of popping eyes due to its irritability, so beware!

Have Backup Medical Supplies

Pug owners must understand that the chances of their dog facing an eye problem can be quite high. So, they need to have backups in the form of antibiotics, saline solutions, and gauzes. Applying these on injuries before rushing to the vet can help prevent further damage.

A Harness is a Must Have

As mentioned, you need to have a harness instead of a collar. Regular collars can strangle, suffocate, and even put enough pressure to pop a pug’s eyes out. The aim is to prevent excessive pressure, not apply more of it! All brachycephalic breeds should opt for a harness.

Supervision is Important

You might love your pug like a baby, so you should look after them in a similar way. Supervision is essential for dogs to ensure they’re not scratching their eyes. When noticed, you must stop them from immediately. Overtime, they will realize that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Grooming Is Essential

If you love your pug’s innocent eyes, then you must keep them clean on a daily basis. A bit of effort and work will surely go a long way! Remove any rheum, discharge, or debris when noticed. The dirt can cause infections rapidly. Try to make it a habit and do it at least once a day.

How to Keep the Eyes Clean?

If cleaning your pug’s eyes is going to happen on a daily basis, then you must know how to do it right. By doing it incorrectly, you run the risk of causing further damage. So be careful and follow the steps that we share with you.

Cleaning Pads

Sterile cleaning pads are a must-have. You can use unscented baby wipes too if you like, or if that’s all you have on hand. But never go for tissue paper. It is rough and unsuitable for cleaning the eyes.

It can cause rashes and the toilet paper can irritate the eyes if it crumbles. Test the product on yourself before you use it on your pet. If it’s not suitable for a human, it’s definitely no good for a dog either. Cleaning pads are soft and gentle to use around the eyes, so you can rely on them; all you have to do is make sure they’re adequately sterilized.

Keep Treats Around

Pugs are stubborn and can be lazy when it comes to grooming. If you want to clean their eyes, they might not be willing to oblige every time. The best way is to motivate your dog with delicious biscuits and treats, so that it listens to you and lets you clean their eyes instead of jumping about and trying to get away.

Keep the Dog Close

When you try to clean your dog’s eye, bear in mind that you can’t do it from afar. Sit on the floor with your dog or let your pug rest on your lap. It will make the process simple and easy to execute, and you can praise your dog once it’s done. Positive reinforcement goes a long way and will help you build more trust. What a win-win situation!

Use a Moist Cloth

Whether you use a cloth, wipes, or even cleaning pads, you can’t use them dry. So, make sure you use a moist cloth or pad when wiping their eyes; otherwise, your dog will have to deal with the repercussions of your carelessness.

Be Gentle

You must keep a light hand when you clean the eye because it’s very sensitive. You don’t want to pop the eye out yourself. Try and wrap your arm around the little pug and start cleaning from the inner corner of the eye lightly.

Make sure you don’t push on the eye. Then, all you have to do is gently wipe it. Repeat the process three times with a different clean cloth to ensure you don’t put the dirt on from the initial step back. Use an eye cleaner or clean water to rinse the eye once all the steps are complete.

Eye Conditions That Can Lead to Popping Eyes

There are a few eye conditions that can cause an eye to pop out, so you must try and prevent them and be as cautious as possible. The minute you identify any of these conditions, go and seek medical assistance.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is an infection that can turn the pug’s eye into a bloody red cherry. It happens due to an inflammation in the eye’s tear duct and causes irritation and discomfort to the pug. The eye becomes swollen and there will be a very noticeable pink or red bump that forms at the bottom of a dog’s eyes. A vet may need to perform corrective surgery to position the gland to its normal location.


Not only can a cataract cause blindness, but also popping eyes. A blurry cloud-like substance will appear over and cover the pug’s eye, causing blurred vision and even blindness. It is common in older pugs and can be treated with surgery.

Pigmentary Keratitis

The white part of the pug’s eye will appear to be tinted with brown melanin. It is usually the color of the iris. However, if the pigment spreads too much, it can appear as patches and hinder their eyesight. Pigmentary keratitis is usually caused by some sort of underlying issue, so that will need to be identified and treated in order to stop this condition from developing further.


This condition is often referred to as “pink eye” and occurs due to inflammation in the eyes. Usually a result of allergies, injuries, or issues with the tear duct, the infection can cause a swelling and irritation to the eyes. Treating the cause of the inflammation will help alleviate this condition, but the vet will likely clean the eye and manage the infection with antibiotics and antihistamines.

For more information on eye related issues, check out our article here that breaks down more conditions that specifically affect the eyes.

Related Questions

Which other breeds suffer from the popping eye condition? These injuries don’t only affect pugs, but other brachycephalic breeds like Boston Terriers, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, English Bulldog, and Shih-Tzu breeds also suffer from it too.

Can you pop the pug’s eye back into the socket? No, medical experts highly advise against the owner popping the pug’s eye back into the socket themselves. An expert needs to understand the severity of the condition before taking appropriate action.

How much can the Treatment Cost? The treatment depends upon the severity of the condition. Surgery can cost between $500 to $4,000, depending on the problem. Usually, owners have to spend between $1,000 to $1,500 on the surgery to correct a pug’s popped out eye.

Do pugs eyes fall out when they get a fright? No, it’s unlikely this will happen like it does in cartoons. Your pug may jump, flinch, and even react aggressively, but their eyes won’t pop out when frightened.


MacPete, R., n.d. Ocular Proptosis: Why is My Dog’s Eye Bulging!


Hoskin, C., 2014. When to seek Veterinary Care for “Cherry Eye” in Dogs

Flowers, A., 2019. Discharge From a Dog’s Eyes

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