As an owner gazes into their Pug’s endearingly large, expressive eyes, a worrying thought may cross their mind – can a Pug’s eyes literally pop out of their head? Their shallow eye sockets and prominent bulging eyes certainly make this tragic mishap seem possible. Understanding Pug orbital anatomy and injury risks helps safeguard their vision.
Why Pugs Have Exaggerated Eye Prominence
Through selective breeding, Pugs were developed with dramatic bulbous eyes exceeding their foreheads. But why?
Historic function – Exaggerated features aided identification of elite Chinese breeds. Pugs were imperial lapdogs.
Appealing expressions – Humans find large, forward-facing eyes give dogs “baby doll” expressions that pull at our caregiving instincts.
Visual advantages – Wide-set, frontal eyes give Pugs panoramic vision with minimal blind spots.
Compact skull – Shortened muzzles leave little room in the skull cavity forcing eyes to protrude.
Unfortunately, those captivating peepers come at a health cost for Pugs. Protrusion leaves eyes vulnerable.
The Risk of Pugs’ Eyes Coming Out
Pugs’ shallow, crowded sockets provide minimal structural support or protection for their enlarged eyes. Several hazards jeopardize eye health:
Proptosis – Pressure causes the eyeball to protrude further. This eye “popping out” is extremely painful and damages structures like the cornea. Pugs have highest risk of breeds.
Scratches – With eyes extended, the cornea is easily scratched by debris, bushes, playing rough, or scraping on surfaces. Scarring can cause blindness.
Foreign objects – With limited eyelid coverage, dirt and seeds get trapped irritating eyes. Pugs often show crusty tear stains.
Droopy eyes – Excess skin folds around puckered eyelids requiring extra cleaning. Medial entropion causes inverted eyelids rubbing the eyes.
Dry eye – Shallow sockets expose extra surface area causing frequent dry eye especially as Pugs age.
While eye “pop outs” are rare, vigilant daily care maintains Pug eye health. Protect those peepers!
Preventing Pug Eye Emergencies
Owners play a pivotal role preventing eye injuries in vulnerable Pugs:
- Select responsible breeders doing OFA eye exams who don’t overly exaggerate traits.
- Avoid long walks on very hot days when bulging eyes risk drying.
- Use a harness instead of collars which put pressure on the neck and eyes when pulling.
- Invest in pet insurance to cover potential eye surgeries like proptosis repair.
- Keep areas free of debris, sticks, bushes that could poke eyes. Don’t allow jumping on or off furniture.
- Trim overgrown facial folds irritating medial eyelids; follow up with your vet if corneal ulcers develop.
- Discourage rough play or contact sports that could traumatize eyes.
- Administer prescribed ointments if your Pug has chronic dry eye or entropion.
Stay vigilant – it’s a full time job safeguarding those adorable Pug peepers! But very worth the effort.
What To Do if a Pug Eye Pops Out
Hopefully it never happens, but know these emergency steps if your Pug’s eye proptosis:
Don’t panic – While extremely disturbing, your calm, quick response helps minimize damage.
Do NOT push the eye back in – Never apply pressure or attempt to reposition it. This causes further harm.
Limit activity – Confine your Pug to limit additional damage but don’t restrict if distressed.
Apply cool compresses – Wet gauze over the eye may provide some comfort until you can get to the vet.
Go straight to emergency vet – Immediately seek emergency veterinary treatment to carefully replace the eye and suture it in position to allow proper healing. The sooner corrected, the better the prognosis.
With urgent surgery, most dogs regain decent vision and comfort after eye proptosis recovery. Still, urgent vet care gives them their best odds. Don’t delay!
Can Eye “Tacking” Help Prevent Future Proptosis in Pugs?
Some ophthalmologists recommend a preventative procedure called eye tacking for at-risk Pugs under anesthesia in which the eyes are surgically positioned further back into the sockets using supporting banding. This reduces future eye popping risk and may be advised, especially if your Pug already experienced a prior proptosis. Discuss the benefits and risks of eye tacking with your vet.
While rare, the potential for eye proptosis is a scary reality for Pug owners given the breed’s exaggerated eye placement. Owners must take extra precautions to prevent trauma and keep their eyes moisturized and debris-free. Learning emergency eye proptosis response steps hopefully prepares you to take swift, appropriate action in the unlikely event. With good care, your Pug’s beautiful eyes will be safe and sparkling with light and life.