Growths & Bumps on Dog’s Eyelid: Types, Causes & Treatments

Bump on Dog's Eyelid

From time to time you might notice odd bumps or growths on your dog’s eyelids. For the most part, these are nothing at all to worry about and can be down to a whole host of very harmless issues, most of which disappear on their own.

The most common causes of dog eyelid bumps and growths are moles, cysts, tumors, styes, chalazions, and blepharitis. Some will heal on their own while others such as moles and skin tags may need to be surgically removed even though they are generally harmless. Do not try to pop bumps. Instead, see a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Having said that, you need to be aware of what is normal and what isn’t, so you can seek out help when something seems ‘off’ or irregular.

Dogs are very prone to the odd bump or growth in this area, and because the eyelid is designed to protect the eye, you may notice your dog is experiencing discomfort when a growth erupts.

Causes of Dog Eyelid Growths and Bumps

There are so many reasons why a dog might experience unusual swellings in the eyelid area. An eyelid growth or bump could be a simple infection, something which is just going to sort itself out, or growths that might need treatment.

Some bumps and growths can also turn out to be serious, such as a cancerous or malignant tumor. This is rare, however, so don’t go thinking that every single bump you see could be cancer.

Some of the most common causes are:

1. Stye

Like humans, dogs can also get styes as well. You might also see a stye referred to as a ‘hordeolum’ in medical terms, and it is actually due to a bacterial type of infection which causes a pimple-like swelling and redness on and around the eyelid itself.

If you suspect your dog has this, Dr. Edele Grey did a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of a sty on a dog’s eyelid. I recommend you read it.

  • These feel sore, itchy, and very uncomfortable.
  • They also don’t last long and are nothing to worry about.
  • They should clear up relatively quickly.

Do not attempt to pop, squeeze or touch eyelid styes, pimples and bumps to reduce the risk of further infection.

2. Chalazion

This is a very similar type of problem to a stye and is equally nothing to worry about. A chalazion happens when a gland around the eye (meibomian gland) becomes blocked up. This can happen for many reasons and leads to swelling, redness and even weepy eyes.

Chalazion in dogs
Chalazion in dogs

The good news is that as uncomfortable as a chalazion is, you can treat it yourself by using a warm compress. Take a warm, damp cloth and resting it on the area for up to five minutes, before waiting and repeating a few times. This will allow the blocked gland to drain away and it should then slowly right itself.

3. Allergic Blepharitis

During the spring and summer, in particular, you might notice this problem affecting your dog, as more allergens are in the air, e.g. pollen. The biggest things to look out for here are swelling, redness and itchiness.

It’s also worth noting that allergic blepharitis isn’t always about allergens in the air; it can also be a reaction to something your dog has eaten and they’re allergic to, or they might have been bitten by an insect.

The treatment for allergic blepharitis is usually antihistamines, as this will help to reduce the allergy and therefore the reaction to it.

Speak to your vet if you’re not sure about antihistamines for dogs and the dosage for your particular breed and size of the dog, but overall these are quite safe, and commonly used by vets.

There are other types of blepharitis, so, it doesn’t always have to be allergic, sometimes it can be a reaction to another issue, such as a bacterial infection, a fungal infection, or a parasitic issue. The meibomian gland, in this case, will become infected and it will lead to sore lumps and bumps on the eyelids.

  • If your dog is particularly young, this is something to get help for much quicker because it can lead to a more severe reaction.
  • Overall, however, any type of blepharitis of this kind is something you need to see your vet
  • You will need a prescription of treatment to get rid of the issue, e.g. the infection, fungal problem, or the parasite causing the overall issue.

4. Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous cyst on dog
Sebaceous cysts appear as growths on the skin of a dog.

Sebaceous cysts are harmless cysts which can appear on the eyelid or any other part of the skin. The bumps can be filled with fluid or can be solid.

Again, this is down a blockage, but this time in a follicle around the eyelashes. This means that the area will become a little swollen, but it’s also worth noting that these types of cyst can also be down to an allergy, or a trauma. Whatever the cause, these tend to go away on their own, or they simply sit there not causing any issues.

However, if the area starts to grow and look infected, it could be that the cyst as ruptured and your dog may need some antibiotic treatment to clear it up, meaning you should see a veterinarian.

For a detailed guide on this, I wrote a simplified article on what to do with sebaceous cysts on dogs. Check it out.

5. Conjunctivitis

Yes, like humans, dogs are prone to this rather annoying condition too, and it can cause irritated lumps and bumps on the eyelids. The cause of conjunctivitis can be down to a bacterial or viral infection, and the associated symptoms will include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Weeping from the eye.
  • You might also notice that your dog has trouble opening his or her eye in the morning after they’ve been sleeping.

Conjunctivitis in dogs tends to go away on its own if the cause is viral, but if it is bacterial they might need some eyedrops or an eye ointment, which you can get from your vet.

6. Skin Tags

Skin tags are generally harmless and can appear anywhere on the body, both on dogs and humans. If you notice a small bump appearing on your dog’s eyelid, which isn’t growing, isn’t causing them any issues and stays exactly the same, it could very well be just a skin tag.

Skin tag on dog's eyelid
A skin tag protruding from a dog’s lower eyelid towards the corner. Source: Barks & Bunnies

If it gets larger or starts to get in the way for your dog’s vision, e.g. it is causing them distress, then you may need to go and see your vet in order to think about having it removed.

As with any strange growth that doesn’t seem to have any infective or irritative features, you should have a check with your vet anyway, just to rule out any other causes.

If your dog has such growths, I recommend you check out our very own dog trainer’s guide on what to do when a dog has skin tags.

7. Moles on Dogs

Humans develop moles randomly, and so can dogs. The problem is, a mole can be harmless, or it can be harmful. The best course of action here is to monitor it and check in with your vet if you’re not sure.

A mole that is growing, changing in color, becoming crusty, or is itching and causing your dog distress should be checked out.

7. Eyelid Tumors

A tumor can be malignant, or it can be benign. In order to be sure, you should go and get your dog checked out with your vet. A benign growth on your dog’s eyelid can be down to a benign melanocyte, fibroma, histiocytoma, or a squamous papilloma; they sound rather terrifying, but they’re actually harmless and will just require monitoring to check if they’re causing your dog any annoyance, e.g. bothering their vision.

You can opt for surgery to remove them, but this case is best discussed directly with your vet, and to be guided by their advice. Remember, the eye is a very sensitive and difficult area to operate on, especially needlessly.

Mastocytoma is one of the most common malignant types of growths in this area, but there are several more, including malignant melanomas, basal cell carcinoma, and sebaceous carcinomas. In this case, having any lump or bump which doesn’t seem to have any affected symptoms, e.g. itching, redness, and if it doesn’t disappear on its own, needs to be checked out.

This is why moles are such a contentious subject because they can be either malignant or benign.

According to the Animal Cancer Foundation:

There are 65 million dogs and 32 million cats in the United States. Of these, roughly 6 million new cancer diagnoses are made in dogs and a similar number made in cats each year.Cancer Statistics in Dogs

Early detection in these cases is vital, and if caught early enough, the prognosis is excellent, with removal and recovery.

Tumors on dog's eyelid.
Hemangioma in dog’s third eyelid.
The best advice? Head to see your vet if you’re not sure about anything – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

As I mentioned, most of the time swellings and growths are a harmless infection, usually down to bacteria getting into the area, a viral infection, or a fungal problem – these may need antibiotics and antifungal medications to clear them up, or could just disappear on their own with time. It’s about monitoring.

Symptoms to Look Out For

I’ve covered a large list of the most common causes of growths and lumps on the eyelid, but what are the associated symptoms. I’ve mentioned a few already, but let’s put them into a comprehensive list in one place, for completeness’ sake.

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Redness of the eyelid
  • Inflammation/swelling of the eyelid and the area around it
  • Itching – Your dog is likely to scratch conjunctivitis, for example
  • Bleeding – This is mostly associated with the itching, as your dog might itch too much and cause bleeding, but it can also be the sign of something more serious, so get this checked out if you are sure it’s not from scratching
  • Discharge from the eye – Weepy eyes are most commonly seen with things like conjunctivitis, or a bacterial infection

More serious symptoms to look out for include:

  • Your dog’s vision seems to be impaired
  • The growth becomes extremely large, quickly
  • The growth changes in size, shape, color, or contour

These can be signs of a tumor which may or may not be malignant and needs to be checked out by your vet as soon as possible.

Diagnosis

Given the long list of possible causes for a growth or bump, you might be wondering how your vet, or you, can figure out what the cause is.

Basically, you’ll be able to notice if it’s conjunctivitis or a bacterial infection by the way it appears, and the way it looks. Monitoring is the best course of action, as many of these causes tend to go away on their own and don’t need any particular action.

A growth which shows the more serious symptoms I have just mentioned, and appears to be changing quickly, especially in size, color, or looks basically a little unusual, needs to be checked by your vet urgently. Your vet will then examine your dog carefully, taking a thorough history from you.

Blood tests will be taken, it is possible that a biopsy or an X-ray is performed, to identify the issue much faster. Once your vet has all your dog’s results to hand, they will make a firm diagnosis and inform you accordingly.

If the growth or tumor is benign, you can then discuss either removing the growth or simply leaving it alone, with regular monitoring and management. Your vet will give you your options and discuss with you the best way to proceed.

If the growth turns out to be malignant, removal is really the only course of action.

Treatments Options

Obviously, as already mentioned, the first course of action is a trip to your vet if you’re not sure what you’re dealing with. If you’re very confident it isn’t anything serious then you can go ahead and manage your dog’s issue at home, and it should clear up relatively quickly.

If you notice your dog has a sty, chalazion, or they’re suffering from conjunctivitis, you can deal with this quite easily. If the conjunctivitis is likely to be bacterial, e.g. it’s discharging green pus or generally looks infected, then a quick visit to your vet for some eyedrops will do the trick.

Home remedies

Try the following self-care methods to help your dog out:

Clean the discharge:

In the case of bleeding or discharge from the eyelid cyst, take a piece of cloth and soak it in warm water, and wring out the excess. Gently wipe any discharge away from your dog’s eyes, being careful not to get into their actual eye or cause them any pain.

If your dog pulls away from you, don’t force the issue, that is a sign they’re feeling uncomfortable. Never use the same piece of cloth more than once, throw it away once you’ve done and use a fresh one next time.

Warm compress:

Take a cotton compress and soak in warm water, hold it against the affected area for a few minutes to encourage the pores to open up and drain away anything accumulating in there.

Eye drops:

If you are advised to use eye cream or eye drops, make sure you follow the direction of your vet, and apply them at the correct intervals, to ensure they work quickly and correctly.

If you notice that home management isn’t working, you should head to see your vet for their advice. In this case, your dog may need to have the bump excised (cut out or cut open), to help drainage and recovery.

FAQ

Can I remove the bumps at home?

No! Never attempt to remove a bump, lump, or growth on your dog’s eyelids yourself. Always head to see your vet if you’re concerned about removal and let them do what they are trained to do. Attempting to remove a growth yourself can lead to damaging your dog’s eyes, bleeding, and extreme trauma.

Try the home management methods we just talked about, and if they don’t work a visit to your vet will lead to a very safe way to help your dog get rid of bumps and growths.

What is the cost of removing bumps from a dog’s eyelid?

This completely depends on the size of the growth, what it is, where it is, and many other factors, including the size and age of your dog. This also depends on where you are located too! For that reason, I can’t give you a rough figure to work with, but calling your vet and enquiring will give you more information.

Remember, most of these procedures will be covered by your pet insurance, so check the terms and conditions and small print, to find out the limitations of your particular policy.

When to See a Veterinarian

The following situations should lead you to your vet’s office:

  • If you notice a growth or bump on your dog’s eyelid which is rapidly growing in size.
  • If the growth or bump is changing color, shape, or it basically looks odd or different to how it first appeared.
  • If the eyelid bump is bleeding or discharging.
  • If you’re just not sure what the bump or growth is.
  • If there are no associated symptoms, e.g. to suggest conjunctivitis or sty.

A visit to your vet needlessly is no big deal; remember – it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 336 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone