Cloudy eyes can only mean one thing right? Cataracts! When people see cloudy eyes in a puppy they automatically think of cataracts – yes we remember that milky look in Great Aunt Maureen’s eyes too. Don’t worry, cataracts in puppies are really rare, but dogs can develop cataracts with age just like we do, we know, getting old sucks! 

While cataracts in puppies are generally a result of congenital disease, with dogs they are more of a senior dog problem. 

But cloudy eyes doesn’t always mean your puppy is developing cataracts. Like we said its actually pretty rare in puppies. Keep reading as we delve into why your puppy’s eyes might look cloudy, how you might be able to treat cloudy eyes in puppies, how long your puppy might have cloudy eyes, and whether you can avoid your puppy getting cloudy eyes. 

You can learn how to keep your puppy’s eyes clean and how to groom them inside the Zigzag puppy training app. We’ll take you on a personalised journey, taking in your puppy’s developmental milestones, and teaching them all about socialisation and habituation, coping with being home alone, Life Skills, toilet training, and lots more! We also have a dedicated team of puppy coaches who are ready to help you with any questions or concerns you have about your puppy. 

With endorsements from some of the world’s leading dog training and behaviour organisations, Zigzag really cares about you and your puppy. 

puppy giving puppy eyes
Photo by Bharathi Kannan on Unsplash

Why do my puppies’ eyes look cloudy?

So let’s get back to those cloudy eyes. Cloudy eyes in puppies can have a few different causes. These vary from easily treatable cloudy eye conditions to highly rare autoimmune diseases

Cataracts – Cataracts can be congenital where a puppy is born with them, or else not usually develop until much later in a dog’s life. They are caused by clouding of the lens and affect a dog’s vision, looking like a white disc on their pupil.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of pressure in the eye and can be serious if not treated. You’ll see a blue-ish haze or bloodshot areas in the eye, and your dog’s pupils may not react to light. 

Ulcers – Cloudy eyes in puppies can be caused by an ulcer. An ulcer occurs to protect the eyes, and is often a result of injury, infection or foreign body in the eye. Eye ulcers cause redness, eye discharge and are painful. 

Nuclear sclerosis – This is a condition that happens as dogs age. Characterised by a bluish haze across the eyes that can also look like cloudiness, you’ll see this in many senior dogs. It doesn’t significantly affect their vision.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca – more commonly known as dry eye is where your puppy’s tear drops have stopped working. Your puppy may hold their eye shut or squint a lot, and their eye may have a layer of mucus, giving it a cloudy appearance. 

Pannus – Pannus is a rare auto-immune disease and symptoms show up as a grey/pink coating on the eye, giving it a cloudy appearance. 

Your puppy may have cloudy eyes due to some kind of injury or irritation to the eye, and this is often accompanied by your puppy having watery eyes. 

How do I treat my pup’s cloudy eyes?

Cloudy eyes in puppies can have various causes, so how you treat them all depends on what your Vet has recommended. Eyes are precious and your puppy only gets one set so we’re here to provide this information as a guide but please don’t let it replace veterinary care and professional advice. 

Treatment for cloudy eyes in dogs with cataracts 

If cataracts are seen in a puppy, it’s because they are congenital and have been born with them. As your puppy grows their eyes will also grow so it might be worth waiting until they are older because the cataract area will be smaller in the adult eye, you should be guided by your Vet though for any treatment options.

Drops and ointments won’t work for cataracts, and once your dog has them, your vet will discuss if surgery is an option to remove them. Left as they are, your dog’s vision will be severely impacted. 

Treatment for dry eye in puppies

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or more commonly known as dry eye is treated by giving drugs that stimulate tear production and other drugs which help with lubrication. If secondary infections or inflammation are seen, these are often treated with antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. 

Provided you’re able to do these treatments at home, then surgery is not necessary. Your Vet will advise you on this. 

Treatment for cloudy eyes caused by Nuclear sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis is when a blue haze covers the eye, making it look cloudy. There isn’t a treatment as this is an age-related condition. It’s just a part of getting old. We know, we wish our dogs never got older too. 

Treating cloudy eyes caused by Ulcers

If your puppy has cloudy eyes caused by ulcers, then it’s likely that their eyes are very sore so your vet will often prescribe pain medication as well as drops to treat the ulcer and lubricant to help keep the eye moist and prevent it from drying out. 

french bulldog puppy giving puppy eyes
Photo by Kindred Hues Photography on Unsplash

How long will my pup have cloudy eyes?

Your vet will be able to tell you how long the condition will last if your puppy has cloudy eyes. If the cloudy eye is caused by cataracts then once these are removed the eye will no longer be cloudy. 

Can I avoid it happening again?

One of the best ways of preventing eye problems in puppies, including cloudy eyes in puppies is to keep up with a regular hygiene and grooming routine. It also means you can spot any changes in the eye when you keep to a regular grooming and husbandry schedule. 

Particularly important for dogs with shallow eye sockets such as the brachycephalic breeds (that’s flat faces in case you were wondering) who may be more at risk of eye infections due to the eye collecting more dirt and debris, or suffering from entropion (where the eyelid rolls inwards) and getting a scratched or damaged eye. 

Always clean your puppy’s eyes from the inside out to take dirt and debris away from the eye. Use cooled boiled water or saline, you shouldn’t need any harsh smelling chemicals for the eyes, and drops should be on your vet’s recommendation. 

king charles spaniel giving puppy eyes
Photo by Izabelly Marques on Unsplash

Check out our guides to watery eyes in puppies to learn more about puppy eye conditions. Or maybe you’d like to learn why your puppy keeps scratching their ears? 

For a personalised training programme, download a free trial of the Zigzag app and get started today. We have a bunch of great content all about puppies, how they learn, exercises to train them and a team of expert puppy coaches on hand to set your mind at ease if you have any worries. The team are available 24/7 and would love to hear from you.