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Why Chihuahuas Have Bulging Eyes

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If you’re a Chihuahua owner, you’ve probably noticed those adorable big eyes that seem to be popping out a bit. This is a common trait for these small but feisty furballs.

However, in some cases, it can signal an underlying health issue. So, it’s vital to understand the why’s and how’s to keep those lovely eyes sparkling and healthy.

fawn chihuahua wearing hat with big eyes

Chihuahua’s Eye Structure: A Look at the Anatomy

Chihuahuas possess round, protruding eyes due to their brachycephalic skull shape. While this gives them their signature look, it can also expose their eyes to potential health problems.

Anatomy of the Eye

Understanding your Chihuahua’s eye structure can help you better recognize potential issues. The important parts of the eye include the cornea, the thin, clear layer on the front of the eye; the retina, which sends visual information to the brain; and the tear ducts, which keep the eyes moist.

In Chihuahuas, the cornea and retina are especially delicate, while the tear ducts are smaller than in other breeds.

Recognizing Normal Eye Protrusion

Normal eye protrusion in Chihuahuas means that the eyes are naturally bigger and more prominent. This can often be misinterpreted as an abnormal condition, so knowing what’s typical for your Chihuahua can help avoid unnecessary panic.

tricolor long hair chihuahua

Common Causes of Bulging Eyes

Sometimes, a Chihuahua’s eyes might bulge more than usual, indicating potential health problems. Here’s a deeper dive into common causes:

Ocular Proptosis

This is when the eye pops out of its socket due to trauma or underlying health complications such as tumors. It’s a severe condition requiring immediate medical attention.

Eye Injuries

Given their size and eye prominence, Chihuahuas are prone to injuries that can cause their eyes to bulge or swell.

Eye Infections

Infections like pink eye or conjunctivitis can cause the eyes to become inflamed, leading to noticeable bulging.


Allergens in the environment can cause eye irritation, redness, and swelling, all signs of an allergic reaction.

white big eyed chihuahua

Other Common Eye Problems in Chihuahuas

Apart from bulging eyes, Chihuahuas can also develop other eye-related issues. You can read about more Chihuahua eye problems here.


Glaucoma is a serious condition where pressure builds up in the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve and leading to blindness if untreated.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a condition where the third eyelid’s gland protrudes, creating a red mass in the eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome

In this condition, the eyes don’t produce enough tears, leading to chronic dryness and irritation.


This is characterized by a cloudy appearance in the eye’s lens, which can interfere with vision.

Spotting the Symptoms

Early detection can save your Chihuahua from unnecessary discomfort or even vision loss. Be on the lookout for these symptoms: eyes popping out of the socket, swelling or redness around the eyes, cloudy or foggy eyes, trouble blinking, and sensitivity to light. Behavioral changes like pawing at the eyes or decreased activity levels can also indicate discomfort.

blond female veterinarian with braid holding fawn chihuahua

The Road to Prevention and Treatment

Maintaining your Chihuahua’s eye health involves regular vet visits, good hygiene practices, and creating a safe environment for your pet. A balanced diet and proper hydration can also contribute to overall health, including eye wellness.

Regular Check-ups

Annual eye exams can help catch potential issues before they become major problems.

Creating a Safe Environment

Keep your Chihuahua’s living area free from potential hazards, and be mindful of interactions with other animals that might inadvertently harm your pet.

Hygiene and Eye Care

Clean your Chihuahua’s eyes regularly with a moist, soft cloth to prevent dust and dirt build-up, which could lead to infections.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Feeding your Chihuahua a balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C, and E can contribute to eye health. Also, ensure your pet has access to clean water at all times.

When preventive measures are not enough, your vet can suggest appropriate treatments. These might include eye drops, medications, or in severe cases, surgery.

Final Thoughts

Remember, while bulging eyes can be a characteristic of your Chihuahua, any unusual changes should be checked by a veterinarian. Timely action can help ensure your Chihuahua’s eyes remain as bright and expressive as ever.

Cathy signature with cartoon chihuahua
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Pet Blogger

I have had dogs all my life. I have been a pet groomer, worked in a pet hotel, and a kennel, and have bred and showed dogs.

Joy Leyh

Saturday 2nd of September 2023

Committed to my Chi Chihuahua

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Sunday 3rd of September 2023

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