What Are The Reasons Your Pet’s Eyes Have Dark Spots?

dark spots

Here’s a comprehensive guide about dark spots in a dog’s eyes, potential causes, when to seek veterinary attention, and key takeaways:

Why The Dark Spots?

Discovering a dark spot in your dog’s eye can be alarming. While some causes are harmless, others warrant a closer look. Here’s a breakdown of possible reasons:

  • Iris Nevi (Freckles): Like human freckles, these are benign spots of hyperpigmentation. They’re typically harmless, but monitor them for changes.
  • Cysts: Fluid-filled sacs that may be present at birth or develop later. Usually small and painless, they may require intervention if they impair vision.
  • Ocular Melanosis: A breed predisposition in some dogs (e.g., Boxers, Cairn Terriers) where pigment builds up in the eye. This can sometimes lead to secondary glaucoma.
  • Pigmentary Keratitis: Brownish-black spots caused by chronic inflammation, often associated with dry eye. Common in flat-faced breeds (e.g., Pugs).
  • Melanoma/Tumor: While less common, dark spots could be due to a cancerous growth. These often require prompt treatment.
  • Allergies/Infection: Inflammation from allergies or infections can sometimes cause brown spots to appear in the eye.
  • Horner’s Syndrome: This neurological condition can sometimes cause a sunken eye appearance, making existing pigmentation more prominent.

When to Worry

It’s best to consult a veterinarian whenever you notice a new spot in your dog’s eye. Here are signs that warrant immediate attention:

  • Spot growth or change in shape
  • Vision problems
  • Pain or discomfort in the eye
  • Redness, excessive tearing, discharge
  • Bulging, cloudy eyes
  • Accompanying symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite

Diagnosis & Treatment

Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough eye exam and may recommend tests to determine the cause of the spot. Treatment depends on the diagnosis:

  • Benign Conditions: Nevi, some cysts, and mild pigmentation often don’t need treatment but should be monitored.
  • Ocular Melanosis: Management of secondary glaucoma might involve medication or surgery.
  • Pigmentary Keratitis: Focuses on treating the underlying issue, often dry eye.
  • Tumors: Treatment options range from surgery to eye removal, depending on the severity.
  • Allergies/Infections: Topical or oral medications, along with addressing the allergen.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t ignore dark spots: Even seemingly harmless discoloration could signal an underlying problem.
  • Early diagnosis is crucial: Prompt veterinary care can prevent complications and improve treatment outcomes.
  • Regular eye exams matter: This can help catch changes early, especially in breeds prone to eye issues.
  • Watch for concerning signs: Don’t just focus on the spot itself, look for broader changes in your dog’s eyes or overall health.

Remember, your veterinarian is your best ally in understanding and managing any changes in your dog’s eyes. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice for your furry friend’s well-being.

Reasons Your Pet’s Eyes Have Dark Spots:

It can be startling to discover a patch or fleck on your dog’s eye. But ought you to worry? Yes, occasionally; nay, sometimes.

Some dogs have hyperpigmented black or brown patches in their eyes from birth. These black patches,

however, may indicate cancer or other dangerous diseases including glaucoma or corneal ulcers. See below the reasons your Pet’s eyes have dark spots.

Nevi (Iris Freckles):

Certain canines may experience patches of hyperpigmented iris tissue. UV radiation exposure or a hereditary susceptibility may be the cause.

These freckles are usually innocuous. Your dog’s eyesight may be affected if they begin to enlarge. Nevi that are smaller may enlarge to become nevi, which are round or flat patches. Nevi can sometimes develop into tumors.

For nevi, treatment is typically not required. But you should keep an eye out for any changes in your dog. Notify your dog’s veterinarian of any size increase, visual loss, or other worrisome symptoms.

Eye cysts:

Eye cysts can develop as a result of inflammation or damage, or they might be congenital. These are typically tiny, black, fluid-filled discs with a diameter of only a few millimeters.

The ciliary body, choroid, or iris may all have lesions. Iris cysts often don’t hurt your dog and don’t interfere with their vision.

Iris cysts rarely need to be treated, much like nevi. The discs may need to be surgically deflated or aspirated if they impair your dog’s vision. But this calls for a professional in ophthalmology.

Ocular melanosis:

The image below illustrates brown pigmentation caused by melanin pigment deposits in the sclera of a dog’s eye. Ocular melanosis could be the reason for the spots.

Melanocyte accumulation in the iris and sclera of the eye is a potential symptom of some breeds, such as Boxers and Cairn terriers.

The cells block the eye’s natural drainage system, which raises intraocular pressure. Consequently, blindness may ensue from the development of secondary glaucoma.

But there’s no need to panic if the dog isn’t exhibiting any other symptoms of the disease. Just bring up the dark discoloration with your veterinarian during your next appointment, and they will take care of it.

Nevertheless, in addition to brown patches in the eye, you should contact your veterinarian right away if you observe any further symptoms of ocular melanosis, such as:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Cloudy cornea
  • Loss of appetite or any other signs of illness
  • Light sensitivity


It is not possible to treat ocular melanosis. Pain and inflammation may be lessened with medical therapy that includes analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.

A specialist’s laser surgery may occasionally assist in reducing the amount of aqueous fluid produced in the eye. Your dog may need to have the eye surgically removed if treatment fails to cure it.

Pigmentary keratitis:

Melanin granule deposits in the eye might result in brownish-black patches due to chronic inflammation.

This disease is most frequently associated with dry eyes and is most common in brachycephalic breeds. Among the symptoms of pigmentary keratitis are:

  • A brown, flat patch in the cornea
  • The eye’s bloodshot whiteness
  • Reddish mucous membranes in the eyes
  • Ocular discharge

In order to treat pigmentary keratitis, the underlying cause is addressed. This may involve surgery to correct defects in the eyelids or the use of artificial tears. The spots may gradually go away, but they are typically irreversible.

Ocular Melanoma/Tumor:

Melanocytes in the limbus or uvea may cluster together as a mass of cells when they proliferate out of control.

Despite the fact that the growths are frequently benign, they are extremely painful and inflammatory. In the long run, melanomas can cause cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. Symptoms consist of:

  • Iris brown or black dots that can be flat or elevated
  • Stroking the pupil
  • Redness
  • Internal hemorrhaging
  • Overly tearing
  • Dark mass that extends through the pupil and is located inside the eye

If the tumor is left untreated, it will enlarge more and put strain on the eye. Depending on the size of the tumor, there are several treatment options for ocular melanoma, such as:

  • Kaser treatment
  • Iris partial excision Enucleation


Some dogs get inflammation in their eyes that results in brown spots when they respond allergically to food or environmental irritants.

This symptom can also be present in cases of uveitis or other eye infections. Additional signs of allergies or infections in the eyes could be:

  • Bloodshot or reddened sclera
  • Tearful eyes discharge
  • Squinting or blinking
  • Licking one’s face or eye

Your veterinarian will advise modifying your lifestyle to minimize exposure to the allergen in order to treat allergies.

This could entail giving your dog a hypoallergenic diet, cleaning the entire house, and replacing your dog’s bedding.

In order to lessen inflammation, the doctor may also provide steroidal eye drops and antihistamines. Your veterinarian may prescribe oral or ophthalmic medications to treat an eye infection in your dog.

Horner’s Syndrome

A well-known illness that can afflict both people and animals is Horner’s syndrome. Dogs are not an exception, and this illness can affect them as well.

To put it simply, Horner’s syndrome is a neurological condition that can impact a dog’s eye and facial movements.

There aren’t many other ways that Horner’s syndrome can impact your dog besides drooping or sunken upper eyelids.

While Horner’s syndrome usually resolves on its own, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying illness that requires prompt medical attention.


Your dog’s veterinarian will probably prescribe medication to relieve any dry eyes your dog may have been having.

Everyone is aware of how important it is to keep their eyes lubricated, particularly if they reside in an area with cold or dry weather.

You must realize that it is perfectly acceptable for the brown spot to appear as long as your dog can see with ease.

The likelihood that the spot won’t go away entirely is high. It should be alright as long as their eyes are safe and the ophthalmologist determines that the condition is not life-threatening.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

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