The answer to the question: Why do Chihuahuas squint can’t be a simple one – because sometimes they squint due to bright lights or direct sunlight falling on their eyes.
However, Chihuahuas tend to even squint or ‘soften’ their eyes to show love or peaceful intentions to their owners or other dogs. Squinting can also be a ‘sign of guilt’ in dogs when their owner scolds them.
Then there are some medical causes too: your pet might squint if it has a foreign object such as an eyelash lodged into the eye or even some eye infection.
If your Chihuahua is constantly squinting, then please see your vet to diagnose the exact cause.
In this guide, I will discuss some of the most common causes of squinting in Chihuahuas:
Why do Chihuahuas Squint? (The Short Answer)
There are three broad categories of reasons why your Chihuahua might squint:
A. It is a part of their body language
Chihuahuas – like all dogs – use their body language and facial expressions to show what they are feeling.
Experts in dog body language believe that squinting is a dog’s way of showing appeasement. It is a non-confrontational way of showing ‘peaceful intentions’ to another dog or a human.
Dogs often squint at their owners when they are being scolded or even to show love.
Many dogs have depicted ‘eye squinting’ when owners ‘scold’ them. It could be an indication of guilt or even a way of apologizing for your Chihuahua.
B. Bright light or sunlight
Like humans, dogs also squint when their eyes are exposed to the bright sunlight (or any bright light). Most Chihuahuas spend a lot of time sleeping, and upon waking up, their eyes will appear to have a ‘squint’ when the daylight suddenly hits them.
My Chihuahua Bella has a ‘squint’ in all her photographs. The camera’s flash is too bright for her which results in squinting.
C. Because of certain eye issues
In other cases, Chis squint because of eye issues. In the next section, I will discuss common Chihuahua eye problems that can cause eye squinting. The breed is prone to certain eye problems which can cause squinting along with other symptoms.
Why Do Chihuahuas Squint – Which Eye Issues Cause Eye Squinting in Chihuahuas?
Go to any Chihuahua forum, and you will always find a thread on ‘why do Chihuahuas squint?’
Indeed, this dog breed is famous for the Chi-Chi squint. It is an unfortunate fact that Chihuahuas often suffer from dog eye problems and that is one of the reasons behind their squinting.
Here are a list of eye issues that could cause squinting in your tiny dog:
1. Foreign material
One of the most common issues that lead to squinting in the Chihuahua dog breed is a foreign material entering the eye.
Just like we humans cannot stand anything poking our eyes, these small dogs also experience pain if some debris or loose eyelash enters the eye.
Having large and protruding eyes combined with their short statures does not help Chihuahuas. Their eyes are always susceptible to foreign materials entering them and that is one of the common causes behind the Chi-Chi squint.
Your pet might squint and blink rapidly to remove the foreign object. There may be increased tear production as well. If your pet continues to squint, please see your vet to resolve the issue.
2. Corneal ulcers
Another reason behind Chihuahua squinting is a corneal ulcer. Of course, there are many other symptoms in this case that can give you a clue that your Chihuahua’s squint is not ‘normal’.
In addition to squinting, symptoms of corneal ulcers include:
- Eye pain (increase eye rubbing/eye pawing)
- Cloudy appearance
- Dry eye or, alternatively, increased tear production
- Excess drooling
Causes of corneal ulcers are usually trauma, entry of acidic substance into the eyes, or scratching of the cornea.
Your vet might use fluorescein dyes to diagnose corneal ulcer. Treatment includes antibiotic drops, pain relieving ointments, and, in extreme cases, surgery.
3. Eye infections
Certain dog eye infections can also cause eye squinting in your small dog. Your Chihuahua might even have facial swelling or might find it difficult to open its mouth. (If the infection has reached this state, please see your vet instead of relying on home remedies).
One of the most common Chihuahua eye infections is conjunctivitis. It is also called pink eye, and like in humans, it can cause excess eye-watering with pus-like discharge and crusty eyes in your pet.
Due to its eyelids sticking together, your pet might appear to squint.
Your veterinarian can diagnose if your Chi has conjunctivitis. Treatment usually includes washing the eyes with saline drops or pet eye wash. Most mild cases of dog eye infections resolve on their own.
Glaucoma or eye pressure buildup is also one of the answers to ‘why do Chihuahuas squint?’ This usually occurs in senior or older dogs.
Symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Pupils are of different size – which can give the illusion of dog squinting
- Cloudy cornea
- Excess tear production
- Rubbing the eye with paw – indicating eye pain
- Behavioral changes, excess sleeping and lethargy
Treatment of glaucoma in Chihuahuas includes supplements and medicines to prevent eye pressure and eye damage to the cells.
Since their eyes protrude, Chihuahuas are more prone to eye injuries too.
Eye injuries or trauma can also cause eye squinting in Chihuahuas. Your pet might have hurt itself while playing or while rubbing its face on the carpet. If you have another house pet, it might have accidentally pawed at your Chihuahua’s eyes.
In mild cases, the squinting should resolve within a day or two. Let your pet rest. You can also apply some warm compress to the affected eye (if your Chi allows it). For more severe cases or if the squinting continues for several days, please see your vet right away.
6. Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca
Inadequate tear production, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye, is another common cause of eye squinting in Chihuahuas.
It may occur due to damage to the tear glands (lacrimal gland) or blocked tear duct. Symptoms of dry eye in Chis includes:
- Painful eyes – eye pawing or rubbing of the face
- Excess blinking
- Thick, yellow eye discharge
Your vet can diagnose keratoconjunctivitis sicca using a special ‘wicking paper test’ to see how much tears are produced.
Treatment of dry eye includes lifelong use of tear modulating eye drops such as Cyclosporin and other eye lubricants.
What Home Care Can I Use to Prevent Chihuahua’s Squint?
Dog eye problems of any kind can be scary.
If your Chihuahua has always squinted and is otherwise healthy, has no eye discharge or watering, then you need not do anything about it.
Often, dog eye squinting is a part of its body language to show its guilt or appeasement to the owner. However, chronic eye squinting along with redness and other symptoms are surely an indication of an eye issue in your pet.
Here are some natural remedies to prevent eye squinting in your Chi:
1. Avoid using the flash when taking your pet’s photograph
The Internet has many photos of Chihuahuas squinting.
It is usually due to the flash of the camera that may be the cause. If you love taking your pet’s photos, try switching off the bright flash.
2. Keep indoor light minimum
Perhaps your pet is simply uncomfortable and squinting due to bright light. You could close the blinds and windows if your Chihuahua seems to squint after its nap.
3. Cleanse your pet’s eyes daily
There are many great products available in the market to clean your Chihuahua’s eyes.
Here are the steps to clean your Chihuahua’s eyes:
- Use the eye pad or sterile cotton to clean your pet’s eyes
- Start from the inner corner of the eye and gently wipe in the outward direction.
- Use a fresh pad/cotton for the other eye.
- Repeat the step.
4. Protect your pet’s eyes when outdoors
Chihuahuas have protruding eyes which makes them susceptible to trauma, injuries, and foreign objects.
If possible, get some eye goggles for your dog when you take it outdoors. If your Chi sticks its head out of the car on car drives, then prevent it from doing so as bugs, dirt, and debris can easily enter its eyes causing pain and trauma.
If, despite the above steps, you are still wondering ‘why do Chihuahuas squint’, then a trip to the vet may be necessary.
What Dietary Measures can I Take to Keep My Chihuahua’s Eyes Healthy?
In addition to daily cleansing, you can take the following dietary measures to keep your Chihuahua’s eyes healthy and prevent squinting:
A. Feed it a healthy diet
Healthy eyes need a healthy diet. Make sure your dog’s food provides it with balanced nourishment. You can check out the best dog food for Chihuahua or speak to your vet about the right diet for healthy vision.
B. Feed it fruits and vegetables
Many fruits and vegetables are considered to be eye-healthy for dogs such as blueberries, carrots, broccoli, kale, etc.
C. Feed it healing herbs
Speak to a holistic vet and administer healing herbs or herbal tinctures containing lutein, zeaxantin, and astaxanthin to your dog. These are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients and can heal, protect, and soothe your Chi’s eyes.
When Should You See a Vet for Chihuahuas Squint?
Your pet’s eyes are very sensitive and even more so in a dog breed like Chihuahua. That is why it is best that you speak to the vet sooner than later.
Make an appointment if the squinting is accompanied by:
- Eye discharge
- Pain – eye pawing
- Keeping the eyes closed
- Changes that occur all of a sudden
FAQs on Why Do Chihuahuas Squint?
1. Do all Chihuahuas have eye troubles?
Chihuahuas are usually a hardy and healthy dog breed but their protruding eyes and short statures make them closer to the ground. This makes their eyes susceptible to dirt, foreign particles, trauma, etc.
With a healthy diet and proper grooming, you could avoid eye issues in your Chihuahua. Some dog eye problems are genetic and if your Chi has parents with chronic eye problems, then chances are that your pet might have them too.
2. Is the ‘squinty’ eye in dogs a sign of guilt?
Some vets do believe that the squinty or shortened eye look is indicative of guilt in dogs. However, we will never know for sure what dogs mean and why they behave in a certain way.
That is also the reason why dog behaviorists and trainers ask dog owners to ‘let go’ of the thought that their dog may be feeling guilty.
Instead, they ask them to focus on training their pet to what is and isn’t acceptable so as to create an environment of mutual love and respect between dog and owner.
3. Why do Chihuahuas look like they are crying?
Chihuahuas have large protruding eyes and many of them tend to have watery eyes. This chronic eye-watering or tearing may or may not be normal.
Sometimes, eye infections, entropion, infected eyelid, conjunctivitis, cherry eye, and other eye disease can lead to the ‘crying’ or ‘sad’ look. Please see your vet to rule out these eye problems.
4. Why are my dog’s eyes red and squinty?
Many issues can cause eye redness and squinting in dogs: glaucoma, KCS or dry eye, corneal ulcer, or corneal dystrophy.
In mild cases, allergens or foreign particles can also cause eye squinting and redness in Chihuahuas. Please see a veterinary ophthalmologist if you suspect some serious underlying eye problem.
Why do Chihuahuas squint?
A number of factors can cause eye squinting in Chihuahua: it may be a part of its body language to show guilt or appeasement, or sometimes bright light might cause the squint. There is also a likelihood of your pet suffering from an eye problem like glaucoma, scratched cornea, eye ulcers, etc.
We hope this guide helps you resolve the issue.