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What Does It Mean When a Dog Winks at You


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If you’re asking the question: What does it mean when a dog winks at you? We have the answer for you here at Dog Ownership Guide. Keep reading to learn about the possible reasons a dog winks at you and if you should be concerned about it.

What Does It Mean When a Dog Winks at You?

A dog may wink at you because of an eye problem, such as dry eyes, eye infection, and or eye twitch. A dog could also wink at you because he’s happy.

dog winking

All the Reasons a Dog Winks at You

The above possible reasons a dog may wink at you are just the start of it. There are many reasons! When you know all of the reasons, you can then attempt to figure out why YOUR dog is winking.

Eye Issues

If people have something in their eye, they may use their fingers to rub it to attempt to get whatever is in the eye out. They may blink the eye several times. Dogs can’t do that, so a dog’s wink may simply mean they have an eye issue. What kind of eye issue?

  • Eye Infection: A dog with an eye infection won’t just wink a lot, but you may see redness in the eye and drainage. It’s important to reach out to the veterinarian immediately for advice.
  • Dry Eyes: Dry eyes can be common for dogs with allergies or if you’ve been outside in the cold with your pup. If dry eyes persist, there may be a problem with the tear glands. Reach out to your veterinarian.
  • Eye Twitch: If you’ve ever had an eye twitch, you know how annoying it can be, and your dog probably feels the same. An eye twitch, which is the involuntary twitching of the eye (also called canine blepharospasm), may be the reason for your winking dog.
  • Older Dog’s Eyelids: When dogs grow older, their eyelids may droop (yes, just like humans) and that can cause the eye to blink more often.
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Health Issues

A sign of a medical condition can show itself in a dog’s eyes. When dogs suffer from some chronic medical conditions or even acute ones, their eyes may look sunken in, red, and have discharge coming out of them.

This is why if your winking dog is showing any other signs of a health issue, it’s important to seek veterinarian care quickly. If you’re not able to get in touch with your vet right now, online vets are available.

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Genetic Condition

A genetic condition can cause excessive winking. If you’re just noticing the change in your dog’s behavior, contact the vet of course.

Short Noses

Dog breeds with short noses are more likely to wink because they tend to get more things in their eyes since they don’t have a long snout to block them. This can often be seen after being outside when it’s windy because leaves, grass, and other particles can get into the eyes. Eye irritation can be normal for some dogs, but as long as it resolves itself within a few minutes or an hour, it shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Eye Contact

Have you ever played the staring game with a dog? If you have, you know it’s rare that dogs wink or blink, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. After intense eye contact, dogs wink simply because of one of the eye problems above – dry eyes.

When dogs blink they hydrate their eyes, so a wink may just be your dog’s body making sure the eyes are moistened.

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Body Language

You can tell a lot about what a dog is thinking from body language and facial expressions. This includes when dogs wink. A dog’s eyes blink when they are stressed more than when they are calm. On the flip side, a dog may be communicating happiness and excitement with blinking. There’s definitely nothing wrong with a happy dog, so take the blinking as just a great way to know your pup is happy.

Read More: Is My Dog Happy?

Submissive Behavior

Many dogs communicate submissive behavior when they blink a lot. They are trying to show they are not confrontational by blinking.

Dog’s Whiskers

A dog’s whiskers can get in the way of the eyes causing a dog’s wink behavior. Look to see if any of the whiskers have grown towards one of the eyes, and if so, clip it.

Seeking Attention

Dog owners know all too well when their dogs want attention they will lie their head on the arm or hand and make a facial expression that can’t be resisted. Blinking is part of that facial expression. It’s a lot like a lady fluttering her eyes when trying to flirt with someone.


If a dog’s cornea becomes injured in some way – let’s say from rough play with canine friends – that can cause your pup to blink more. A dog’s cornea can repair on its own, but if it doesn’t get better within a day, it’s a good idea to contact the vet.

Plump Faces

Overweight dogs may wink more because their face pushes up against the eyes. This is perfectly normal and harmless behavior for the dog.

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Positive Reinforcement

When dogs receive positive reinforcement, it’s common for them to blink a lot because they are excited.

dog winking at you

Overview: What Does It Mean When a Dog Winks at You

Now you know some of the answers to the question: What does it mean when a dog winks at you? As long as the winking isn’t sudden and chronic, indicating a possible health problem, there’s likely nothing to be concerned about with your dog’s body language. Take it as your dog communicating happiness, excitement, or the body doing what it needs to do to keep the eye healthy.

Another common behavior among dogs is barking in the face. Learn about that here: Dog Barking in Face



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