Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), often simply referred to as "Dry Eye," is a prevalent condition affecting dogs, leading to discomfort and potential vision issues if left untreated. Esteemed expert Dr. David L. Williams MA MEd VetMD with his extensive research on KCS, highlights the significance of understanding this inflammatory condition for effective management and treatment.

By delving into the root causes of KCS, Dr. Williams provides invaluable insights into how pet owners can better care for their pups. As we explore this topic, we'll uncover the intricacies of KCS. With an emphasis on the pathologic reduction in tear production and its effects on the surface of the eye, we aim to provide a detailed overview that will empower dog owners with the knowledge to recognize and address this common eye problem.

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  1. What Is Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in Dogs
  2. What Causes Dry Eye in Dogs
  3. What Are the Signs of Dry Eye in Dogs
  4. How Is Dry Eye in Dogs Treated
  5. How to Treat Dry Eye in Dogs Naturally
  6. Conclusion

What Is Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in Dogs

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) in dogs is an inflammatory disorder that significantly impacts the ocular surface by pathologically reducing the aqueous component of the tear film, resulting in less than 10 mm/min Schirmer Tear Test (STT) readings alongside visible ocular surface pathology.

This condition is more commonly known among pet owners as "dry eye." The essence of KCS lies in its ability to manifest through either deficient tear production or increased tear evaporation - the latter predominantly seen in brachycephalic breeds due to their unique facial structure.

Dr. David Williams, a leading expert in the field, emphasizes that "KCS can be divided into two types: one in which tear production is deficient and other cases in which tear evaporation accounts for the ocular surface tear deficiency."

In dogs, especially breeds with flat faces like Pugs or Bulldogs, not being able to fully close their eyelids can cause dry spots in the middle of their eyes. Also, some dog breeds might not have enough of a certain oily layer in their tears, which makes their tears evaporate too quickly.

These issues can lead to several eye problems, such as blood vessels growing into the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), dark coloring on the cornea, and even serious sores. It's really important to know exactly what type of Dry Eye (KCS) your dog has to make sure they get the right treatment, helping keep their eyes healthy and comfortable.

What Causes Dry Eye in Dogs

Dry Eye in dogs, or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), is caused by a decrease in tear production or an increase in tear evaporation, which leads to the eyes becoming dry, irritated, and susceptible to infections. Several factors contribute to the development of KCS in dogs, including:

Immune System Disorders

The most common cause where the dog's immune system mistakenly attacks the tear-producing glands, reducing tear production.

Genetic Factors

Some breeds are more predisposed to KCS than others, particularly those with brachycephalic (flat-faced) features, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus.

Infections and Inflammations

Certain viral or bacterial infections can damage the tear glands, leading to decreased tear production.


Some medications can reduce tear production as a side effect.

Injury or Trauma

Physical damage to the tear-producing glands or ducts can lead to reduced tear production.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to wind, smoke, or other irritants can increase tear evaporation, exacerbating the condition.

Understanding these causes is crucial in identifying and treating Dry Eye early to prevent discomfort and more serious complications. Regular check-ups with your vet can help catch and manage KCS before it progresses.

To help monitor your dog for signs of Dry Eye and keep an eye on their overall health, consider using a Petcube Cam. This advanced pet camera allows you to watch over your pet remotely, ensuring they are safe and healthy when you're not home. Its 1080p HD video, night vision, and two-way audio features let you observe if your dog is showing any discomfort that might indicate Dry Eye, allowing for timely veterinary consultation and care. Learn more and keep your pup's eyes bright and healthy with Petcube Cam.

What Are the Signs of Dry Eye in Dogs

Dry Eye, or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), can make your dog uncomfortable and lead to more serious eye issues if not treated. Recognizing the signs early is key to managing and treating the condition effectively. Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

  • Persistent Dryness – The eyes appear dry and lack the usual shiny wetness.
  • Redness – The white part of the eyes may look redder than normal.
  • Discharge – Thick, mucus-like discharge rather than clear, watery tears.
  • Irritation – Your dog may blink excessively, squint, or paw at their eyes due to discomfort.
  • Cloudiness or Coloring – The cornea (the clear front part of the eye) may become cloudy or develop a dark pigment.
  • Reduced Vision – Advanced cases of KCS can lead to diminished eyesight.

These symptoms can significantly impact your dog's quality of life. Therefore, if you notice any of these signs, it's important to consult with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

In managing your dog's KCS, it's also vital to ensure their overall well-being and safety, especially when they are outside or in unfamiliar environments where they might be more exposed to elements that can worsen their eye condition.

A GPS tracker can be a valuable tool in keeping your dog safe during outdoor adventures. The Petcube GPS Tracker not only helps you keep tabs on your dog's location but also monitors their activity levels, which can be particularly useful for dogs with KCS. By keeping an eye on their physical activity, you can make sure they're not overexerting themselves in environments that could dry out their eyes further, ensuring they stay comfortable and healthy.

How Is Dry Eye in Dogs Treated

Treating Dry Eye, or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), in dogs involves a combination of approaches aimed at increasing tear production, supplementing tear deficiency, and addressing any underlying health issues. Here's an overview of common treatment strategies after your vet does a clinical evaluation:

  • Tear Stimulants – Medications such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus are often prescribed to stimulate the dog's natural tear production.
  • Artificial Tears – Regular application of artificial tear solutions or ointments can help keep the eyes lubricated and comfortable.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications – To reduce inflammation in the tear glands, vets may prescribe corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Antibiotics – If an infection is present, antibiotic drops or ointments may be necessary to clear it up.
  • Surgery – In severe cases, surgical intervention might be required to correct anatomical issues or to create a new tear duct.

It's crucial to follow your veterinarian's recommendations closely and maintain regular check-ups to monitor your dog's response to treatment. Consistency in administering medication and ongoing care are key to managing KCS effectively.

For pet owners, the unexpected costs of treating conditions like KCS can be worrying. However, there's a way to prepare for such unforeseen medical expenses. Petcube's Emergency Fund offers coverage up to $3000 for emergency vet bills for about $1 per day, ensuring you have the financial support you need during tough times.

Additionally, this subscription grants you access to 24/7 online vet consultations, so you can get professional advice anytime you're concerned about your pet's eye health or any other issue.

To make it even more accessible for pet owners to protect their pups, Petcube is offering a special 27% discount for blog readers on the Emergency Fund subscription. Just visit Petcube Emergency Fund and use the code PETFEED27 at this link. With this safety net, you can ensure your dog gets the care they need without delay, giving you peace of mind and keeping your pet's eyes healthy and comfortable.

How to Treat Dry Eye in Dogs Naturally

While medical treatments are often necessary for managing Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) in dogs, natural remedies can complement these approaches and offer additional comfort to your pet. Here are some natural ways to support your dog's eye health:

  • Proper Hydration – Ensure your dog has constant access to fresh water. Hydration is crucial for maintaining overall health and can help support tear production.
  • Balanced Diet – A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and support eye health. Consider incorporating fish oil supplements or omega-rich foods into your dog's diet, after consulting with your vet.
  • Gentle Eye Cleaning – Regularly clean your dog's eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge and prevent infection. Use only clean water or a vet-approved saline solution for cleaning.
  • Humidifier – Using a humidifier in your home can add moisture to the air, helping to prevent your dog's eyes from drying out, especially in dry climates or during winter months.

It's important to remember that these natural remedies should not replace veterinary care but rather support the treatments prescribed by your vet. Regular monitoring and consultation with your veterinarian are essential to effectively manage KCS and ensure the best possible outcome for your dog.


Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or Dry Eye, in dogs is a condition that requires attention and care. Recognizing the signs early and consulting with your veterinarian can lead to an effective treatment plan that combines medical interventions with natural remedies.

Products like the Petcube Cam and the Petcube GPS Tracker can play a supportive role in monitoring your dog's condition and ensuring their safety. Additionally, Petcube's Emergency Fund offers a financial safety net for emergency vet bills, making comprehensive care more accessible.

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