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Why is there a lump under my dog’s eye?

As a pet parent, you want to make sure your four legged friend is happy and healthy. It can be concerning, or even scary, when your pooch develops a lump under their eye.

Your mind may immediately go to worst case scenarios, like tumors. However, there are several potential causes of a lump underneath your dog’s eyes, some more serious than others. 

Why is there a lump under my dog’s eye?

A lump under your dogs eyes can have any causes. These range from cherry eye, which is a problem with the third eyelid, to cancerous tumors. 

Let’s take a look at the potential causes of a lump under your dog’s eyes, and what you can do about it. 

Cherry Eye

Your dog has a third eyelid. It’s located under each eye, near the nose. If it shifts out of its normal position, it creates a red swelling under the eye. 

Dogs, and many other mammals, use this eyelid for protection when hunting or fighting. It also helps keep the eye moist. In fact, the thrid eyelid is responsible for 30-50% of tear production. 

In addition to a red lump under your dog’s eye, cherry eye often causes the eye to be dry because of reduced tear production. It typically occurs in dogs less than 1 year old. 

In some cases, the lump remains small. In others, it can become large, and even cover the eye. You may also notice your pooch pawing at the eye, or a discharge coming from the eye. 


If your pooch gets an abscess under their eye, this will cause swelling. Abscesses are pockets of infection. They are typically painful, so your pooch may paw at their eye or whine. 

Fever is also common. Your dog may also have lethargy or a loss of appetite. 

Abscesses are caused by bacteria that cause infection. This can occur on the eyelid, underneath the eye, or even behind the eye. 

These types of abscesses can be caused by bacteria getting into the eye. Injuries or foreign bodies in or near the eye can also lead to the an abscess. 

Another cause is tooth decay or infection. Just like humans, dogs have teeth directly underneath the eye, often called eye teeth. If these teeth become infected, the infection can travel to the eye, causing an abscess. 


The most common type of cysts that occurs on dog’s eyes are chalazion cysts. These are benign growths that don’t normally cause any problems for dogs. 

Your pooch’s vision may become blurry if the cyst grows too large. They typically resolve on their own. They are more common on the upper lid, but can occur on the lower lid as well. 


Mycetomas are bacterial or fungal infections beneath the skin. They typically cause swelling in the area. If not treated, they can grow large and affect the way the eye functions. 

They are typically diagnosed by a biopsy, which is a small piece of the mass. 


There are a few types of tumors that can affect your dog. Some are cancerous, while others are benign, or not cancerous. 

Meibomian gland tumours 

This type of tumor can be cancerous or benign. They are typically pink in color. They may bleed as well. 


Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer in humans, and it can also affect dogs. It’s fast growing, and can migrate to other areas of the body. If it’s not treated quickly, melanoma can be fatal. 

Melanoma lumps are typically black. However, they can be other colors, so you can’t rely solely on color for a diagnosis. 


Papilloma is typically white or pink. These lumps are benign. They are usually irregular, or not round in appearance. They are similar to warts. They are usually not harmful. 

However, some of them are cancerous. Most vets choose to remove them and have them biopsied. 

Is it normal for dogs to have lumps under their eyes?

A bump under your dog’s eye isn’t normal. It does indicate that something isn’t right. However, many lumps are simply caused by benign tumors or cherry eye, which aren’t serious conditions. 

What to do about the lump under my dog’s eye?

It’s natural to be worried if your pooch has a lump under their eye. If your pooch has a bump under their eye, it’s best to visit the vet. 

Many causes of eye bumps require veterinary treatment. Even if no treatment is required, you’ll want to get a diagnosis from your vet. This is so you will have peace of mind. 

You know that these bumps can be caused by serious conditions, including cancer. A visit to your vet can let you know that your pooch is ok. 

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye must be diagnosed and treated by your vet. They can usually diagnose cherry eye with a physical exam, but diagnostic tests are needed in some cases. 

Once it’s diagnosed, it’s treated with a minor surgical procedure. Most cases don’t return, but it is re-occuring in 20% of cases. 


Chalazion cysts can usually be managed at home. Warm compresses can help relieve pain and pressure of the cyst. Even though chalazion cysts can usually be managed at home, it’s still wise to visit the vet. 

Your vet can determine if it’s a chalazion cyst, and if any treatment is needed. 


Mycetomas must be treated by a veterinarian. They are typically treated with antibiotics or anti-fungal medication, depending on the cause. 


It’s extremely important to get any lump or tumor evaluated by your dog’s vet. This is because they can be cancerous. 

Your vet may choose to monitor the tumor if it’s not fast growing. If they have concerns about it being cancerous, they will remove the lump with a minor surgical procedure. 

The goal is to remove the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue to ensure that all of the tumor is removed. 

The vet will then send it to a lab for analysis. If it is found to be cancerous, follow up cancer treatment may be required. If it’s benign, your pooch shouldn’t require further treatment. 


Papillomas also require a veterinary diagnosis. They are usually benign, but there is a risk of cancer. Many vets choose to remove the Papilloma and send it for a biopsy. 

If it is cancerous, your pooch may require further treatment.