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Eye Care

Boxer Dog Eye Diseases and Eye Problems


With the Boxer dog, eye disease is the 2nd most common health ailment.

Knowing what to look out for will help you notice early symptoms; thus giving your Boxer dog a better chance at recovery.

We will look at common yet frustrating Boxer dog eye problems including cherry eye, inflammation, dry eye, corneal dystrophy and progressive retinal atrophy.

We'll also cover Boxer dog eye care tips and cleaning. There is a separate section on Eye Boogers.

Cherry Eye/ Migrating Membrane

What This Is

The Boxer dog, among many animals, has 3 eyelids: the upper, the lower and one that normally rests under the upper lid, out of sight. The 3rd eye lid is rarely seen under normal circumstances. A human would only notice this if lifting up a Boxer dog's main eyelid. 

However, certain canine health conditions can cause this membrane to move location, thus covering the eye either entirely or partially. Many Boxer dog owners will become concerned as they describe this as a "film" covering their dog's eye.


Red tissue will be seen on the Boxer dog's eyeball.


Until recently, common veterinary practice would be to remove the 3rd canine eyelid. In current times, surgery can usually be performed to move the membrane back into place without having to remove it. 

There are some rare cases in which the membrane will need to be removed. If so, a Boxer dog will need daily eye drops indefinitely. Success rates are very high when this surgery is performed by an experience veterinary surgeon; statically 82% of dogs recover perfectly.

Inflammation/ Uveitis

What This Is

This is a condition that will affect a Boxer's eyes from an array of health issues, causing the eye to become very irritated to the point of needing medical intervention. This can happen when a foreign element comes into contact with or enters the Boxer dog's eye or can be a symptom of an underlying canine disease.

  • Extreme blinking/ Squinting
  • Large amounts of water discharge
  • Sensitivity to bright lights both outside in the sun or inside
  • Dulling of the iris or a bluish tint covering the dog's eye
  • Redness
  • Swelling

The veterinarian will look at the Boxer dog's eye with a tool that allows him to see the interior of the eyeball. If the cause of the irritation is not clear, blood testing may be done. Quite often, medication is given to the dog. For swelling, anti-inflammatory medication will be given. For infection, antibiotics will be given. For pain, eye drops may be given.

If an underlying disease is found such as Brucellosis or Lyme disease, those will be treated as well, of course. Very rarely and only in extreme cases will a Boxer dog's eye need to be surgically removed.

Dry Eye / Keratoconjunctivitis sicca

What This Is

Dry eye does not sound like a serious aliment; however this condition can cause great discomfort for a Boxer dog. There is a natural film that protects a Boxer dog's eyes. With this film, the dog's eye is not protected. 

The eye becomes very dry causing many health problems. This can happen because of many reasons including: an injury to the eye, a dog not receiving proper nutrition through a correct balance of food, malfunction of the thyroid, infection or side effects from medication.

  • This is also sometimes referred to as "Brown eye", as the eye may develop a brown tinted film
  • Scar tissue may appear on the dog's eye
  • A stinging pain that is usually constant, as the eye loses all lubrication
  • Blood vessels may grow rapidly throughout the dog's eye

The Boxer dog will be given eye drops to lubricate the eye, swelling and infection will be brought down with medicine and the dog will be given drops to help his body produce natural tears. Surgery may need to be performed by the veterinarian if a tear duct is severely damaged.

Corneal Dystrophy 

What This Is

The cornea is the outside layer of a Boxer dog's eye. This condition describes the clouding of the cornea. This is an inherited canine eye disease and will affect both eyes equally.


Gray or white crystal-like material will begin to develop on the Boxer dog's eyes. In almost every case, both eyes are affected in the same degree.


As of now, there is no treatment for this canine eye disease. Fortunately, this condition is not painful. While it can affect how clearly a Boxer dog can see, it rarely completely blocks a Boxer dog's eyesight.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in Boxer Dogs

What This Is

This is a genetic, inherited disease that affects the retina of a dog’s eyes. Both eyes will be affected at the same time. The dog does not feel any pain. Unfortunately, all Boxer dogs with PRA will eventually become blind.

Symptoms do vary in Boxer dogs with this eye disease, however things to look out for are:
  • Night blindness – you will know your dog has this if your Boxer dog does not see well at night – your dog may stumble into walls or furniture if the lights are kept low at night, etc.
  • Dilated pupils of the dog’s eyes
  • Increase shine on the dog’s eyes

With PRA eye disease, from the time that symptoms are obvious and the dog is taken to a veterinarian to confirm the disease, it can be anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years for the Boxer to become completely blind.


Once a Boxer owner notices any of the above symptoms, the dog should immediately have a full and complete eye exam by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.


At this time, this is not treatable. Of course, studies are being done to someday cure this canine eye disease.

It is suggested that one action may slow down the process: Antioxidant supplements for retinal health – there are some good signs that this type of supplement for dogs may slow down the disease. If your Boxer is having eye issues, you may want to speak to your vet about this. Typically, these are a blend of a large array of antioxidants, up to 10 or 12.

The Boxer dog should have regular eye exams, even after losing all sight. Why? While this disease does not cause pain; PDA cataracts can develop and those can be very painful.

How to Help a Boxer Dog Cope with Blindness

It is amazing just how well a Boxer copes with this eye disease. Because the blindness occurs very slowly, over a large span of time, the dog usually does not suffer from the shock of not being able to see. A Boxer will have time to slowly adjust to lessened sight. The dog is not in pain.

When a dog is losing their sight or has become blind, it is important to carry on with your dog’s normal routine. A dog can still go for walks, play with you, and be a wonderful companion.

It is important to not rearrange furniture or move the area in which you keep your dog’s food and water. In case your dog ever becomes lost, it is suggested to have a medical alert tag on your dog that relays that he or she is blind.

Boxer Dog Eye Care - Preventing Injury

When you have a breed like the Boxer with very big, prominent eyes, you'll want to take a few preventative steps to help keep the eyes from suffering scratches and irritations. 

Some of the things you can do include:
  • Do not allow your Boxer to sniff under bushes or into any sort of thick landscaping. 
  • Do not allow your Boxer to fully stick his head out of the car window. 
  • If you have a cat and she tends to swat at your Boxer, consider cat nail tips, which are plastic nail coverings that will at least prevent deep, harmful scratches. 
  • If your Boxer appears to have something in his eye, use a canine saline rinse to flush it out.

Boxer Dog Eye Care - Routine Cleaning

It's not uncommon for Boxers to have some discharge, particular overnight. If this is allowed to build up and crust up, it can cause eye irritation.

In addition, eating and drinking throughout the day can cause the hairs around the eyes to become wet. If those hair remain damp, yeast infection can set in.

On dogs with light coats, this is often referred to as tear stains; however, this can happen to any breed of any color. 
You will want to have a good supply of canine grooming wipes on hand; choose a quality brand like Earthbath All Natural Grooming Wipes that are hypo-allergenic and fragrance free. Each day, preferably after each meal, but at least once per day, wipe down your Boxer's face, paying particular attention to the eyes.

Swipe under each eye, and then start in the inner eye and wipe up and around the upper lid and brow. 

Daily maintenance of the eyes is just good hygiene; after a week or so it will become second nature. 
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