Can Pugs’ Eyes Pop Out? How to Avoid Ocular Proptosis

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No one wants to think about their pugs’ eyes falling out, but sometimes it’s necessary. Ocular proptosis, the technical name for the syndrome that causes pug eyes to fall out, is a health problem pugs are particularly susceptible to.

It’s not just pugs, either. Any dog with a flattened face or bulging eyes is at risk for ocular proptosis. 

But before you start running searches comparing pictures of pugs eyes falling out with what’s happening to your dog, let’s look at what ocular proptosis is. 

What is Ocular Proptosis? 

Pug eye proptosis occurs when your pug’s eyelids can no longer cover their eyes. Instead, the eye protrudes forward. 

There are many reasons this might happen, such as:

  • Trapped eyelid
  • Detached eye 

Trapped Eyelids 

When a pug’s eyelid gets trapped behind the eyeball, it pushes the eye forward. As you’re looking at your pug, they may appear to have overextended eyes or eyes that hang down abnormally. 

But the problem here is more than that the fact that your pug’s eyes pop out. They also suffer from increased dryness in the eye because the eyelid can’t cover the eyeball. By the same token, your pug’s eyes suffer from more grit and dust since their eyelid can’t keep those things out, either. 

Detached Eyes 

But sometimes, your pug’s eyes pops out, and the eyelid has nothing to do with it. Sometimes the shape of your pug’s face causes their eyes to protrude excessively. In extreme cases, this can cause the eye to detach from its socket. You may notice, on examination, that the eyeball remains in place due to a handful of tissue strands. 

Visually inspecting your dog will generally indicate if your pug’s eyes have popped out. But a fixed, dilated pupil is another good indication that they might have ocular proptosis. 

Why Is My Pug’s Eye Falling Out? 

Various things can cause pugs’ eyes to pop out. These include:

  • Trauma 
  • Fighting 
  • Head injuries 

Pug eye proptosis can also happen when an overzealous mother picks her puppy up by the scruff of the neck and stretches the skin further or harder than intended. Similarly, if you pull or overstretch the skin on a pug’s face, it may cause your dog’s eye to pop out.

can pugs eyes pop out

The best thing you can do to avoid pugs’ eyes popping out is handle them gently. Likewise, children brought up around pugs and other brachycephalic dogs must learn to be gentle with their faces.

Pugs and other flat-faced dogs have shallower eye-sockets than their canine friends, and that makes them more susceptible to pug eye proptosis. They’re also not the only breed prone to this condition. It can also affect:

  • Shiatsu
  • Terriers
  • Pekinese

Can Pug Eye Proptosis Cause Blindness? 

Without looking at the pug and the severity of the proptosis, this is hard to judge. But if your pug’s eyes are falling out, then immediate treatment is necessary. 

Whether or not your pug loses his vision depends on several factors:

  • Trauma
  • Severity of the injury 
  • Time elapsed between diagnosis and treatment

This is particularly crucial when treating dogs from trauma situations like car accidents or fights. That’s because, in addition to your pug’s eye falling out, your dog may suffer several other simultaneous injuries, like concussion or internal bleeding. 

It’s possible that to keep your dog healthy, the vet may have to prioritize these other traumas before treating your pug’s falling out eyes. 

You also need to understand that even with immediate care, there’s still a chance that because your pug’s eye popped out, they may lose their sight. 

Whether or not this happens will depend on how severe the damage is to:

  • Eyeball
  • Eye socket 
  • Tissue 

can pugs eyes pop out

What to Do When Pugs Eyes Pop Out 

If you’re squeamish around eyes, don’t worry. No vet will advise you to try putting a pug’s falling out eyes back in on your own. However, there’s still some immediate home care to perform before taking your pug to the vet.  

As soon as you notice your pug’s eye pop out, get some gauze and saline solution to treat it. If you don’t have saline, don’t panic. Water also works in a pinch. 

You want to soak the gauze in the saline solution and apply it to your pug’s falling-out eye. The goal is to keep the eye moist but also protected from dust and grit. For that reason, it’s vital that once the gauze is in place, you keep it there. Removing it may further damage your pug’s popped-out eye. 

Now you need to seek emergency care. Bundle your pug into the car and seek out the nearest clinic. Ideally, take a friend or family member with you to keep your pug’s eye from drying out. But remember, don’t remove that gauze. 

My Emergency Vet is Too Far Away. What Do I Do If My Pug’s Eye Pops Out? 

If your local emergency clinic is too far away, you may have to treat your pug’s eyes yourself. 

Here’s what to do. Note that you should only try fixing a pug’s eyes from popping out if you’ve exhausted all possible alternatives. 

Once you’re sure you can’t get expert help, start by washing your hands. You’re going to be handling your dog’s eyes, so you must minimize their exposure to germs. 

Hands clean, try gently pulling the eyelid back over your pug’s eyes. If they’re protruding too much for that to be possible, it’s time to draft in reinforcements. With a friend or family member now on hand, try pushing your pug’s eye back into the socket. 

Do this gently. If it doesn’t work, stop. There’s a chance the muscles behind the eye will be swollen, and forcibly popping a pug’s eye back in place may do more harm than good. 

Also, remember that typically vets anesthetize your pug for this procedure. Trying it at home while they’re awake will cause your pug pain and distress. While it may be necessary for their long-term health, it can be upsetting to witness. 

In Summary – Can Pugs Eyes Pop Out?

Yes, pug eyes can fall out due to the shape of their skull and protruding eyeballs. Your pug can also risk eye problems due to trauma, fighting, or other eye-related injuries. If you notice your pug having any eye problems, ensure you see a vet as soon as possible to prevent potential ocular proptosis or eye loss.

rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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About PugFacts

PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.