Sometimes dogs do strange things, and for some, their dog’s quirk is staring without blinking. Although dogs can sometimes stare without blinking for a little while, dogs should and need to blink. As a result, many dog owners may wonder: why doesn’t my dog blink?
Dogs that do not blink for extended periods may be dealing with facial paralysis and underlying health issues. Other reasons dogs don’t blink include hyperfocus, staring, or nerve damage.
In this article, we will be explaining all of the reasons why a dog doesn’t blink. We will also be answering some other commonly asked questions regarding this topic and giving you some additional things to consider about this, such as when to see a vet. Let’s get right into it!
Reasons Your Dog Doesn’t Blink
There are five main reasons why a dog wouldn’t blink, and most of these causes are clinical. This is because dogs need to blink to keep their eyes healthy. However, sometimes a dog can appear not to be blinking for a while due to staring and hyperfocus. Here are five reasons your dog doesn’t blink.
1. Staring And Hyperfocus
Sometimes a dog can appear not to be staring for a long time simply because they are staring at someone or something.
However, a dog engaging in this behavior should be able to blink normally once the staring has stopped. Dogs stare for many different reasons, and we will go over these causes a little later in this article.
2. Eye Proptosis
Eye proptosis is when the eyelid gets trapped behind the globe of the eye. This most commonly occurs as a result of head trauma as a result of a dog fight. However, there can be other causes of this condition.
In addition, dogs with bulging eyes such as pugs and Shih Tzus can be more prone to developing this problem. This condition always requires immediate veterinary care.
3. Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis is a condition that occurs as a result of damage to a specific facial nerve called cranial nerve VII. This can cause your dog not to blink an eye and have a droopy mouth on one side of their face.
This has a wide variety of causes ranging from harmful ear infections to tumors. Like eye proptosis, facial paralysis requires veterinary care as soon as possible after these symptoms arise.
4. Nerve Damage
Sometimes other nerve damage can cause a dog to not blink one or both of its eyes. Due to the variety of severity of nerve damage and the symptoms that it can cause, it is always recommended that you visit a vet as soon as possible if you suspect that your dog has nerve damage.
5. A Brain Injury
Brain injuries can sometimes cause a dog not to blink as well. The cause of the brain injury can vary greatly.
However, causes like seizures, trauma, and extremely high or low body temperatures can all cause brain injuries. If you suspect that your dog has recently had a brain injury, then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Not Blink
No, it is not typically normal for dogs not to blink. Although staring is a relatively normal behavior in dogs, they should return to blinking normally after the staring has stopped.
Dogs need to blink regularly to keep their eyes healthy. Just like in people, dogs need to keep their eyes moist with tears, and they do this by blinking.
How Often Do Dogs Blink Their Eyes
Dogs blink at around the same frequency as people do, which is about 20 times a minute. Now, if your dog blinks a little more or less than this, do not worry. This number is just an approximate estimate for what is expected.
As we have mentioned before, dogs need to blink regularly to keep their eyes healthy and moist, and this is why they need to blink so often.
Do Dogs Have To Blink
Yes, dogs do need to blink, and this is actually for the same reason that people need to blink. Have you ever tried to win at a staring contest and found that your eyes were stinging at the end of it?
Well, this is because your eyes were getting dried out from the lack of moisture. Both human and canine eyelids coat the eyes with a layer of moisture from our tears every time we blink. To be healthy and functional, our eyes and our pets’ eyes, for that matter, need to remain moist.
Why Does My Dog Stare At Me And Not Blink
Sometimes a dog can appear to not blink for a while when they are staring. As long as they can blink normally again after they stop staring, then you should not need to worry about the cause of your dog not blinking.
As for your dog’s staring habit, that can have a wide variety of causes. However, the two most common reasons a dog is staring at its owner are because they want or need something from them or are curious about what its owner is doing.
For example, a dog may stare at their owner when they need to be let outside to use the bathroom. In addition, dogs often stare at their owners when doing interesting activities such as cooking and moving things around.
Can You Teach A Dog To Blink
Yes, you could teach your dog to blink, but it must be done through the dog training process of capturing. Capturing involves waiting for your dog to do something naturally and then rewarding it.
Once you have rewarded an action or behavior several times in a row, you can start putting it on cue by giving the cue word just before rewarding the action. So just after the dog blinks, say “blink” and then reward.
Things To Consider
There are some other things to consider when it comes to why some dogs do not blink. These include when you should see a vet about this behavior and when to look out for signs of aggression in your dog. Here are the things to consider about why some dogs don’t blink.
Beware Of Signs Of Aggression
Staring can sometimes be a sign of aggressive behavior in dogs, so you should always be aware of this if your dog tends to stare at other people or dogs.
Usually, there will be other signs of aggression, but this is not always the case. Some common body language signs of fear or stress that could lead to aggression include but are not limited to:
● Hair standing on end
● stiff, rigid body
● Tail tucked between the legs
● Ears flattened against the head
● Wide eyes with whites of the eye showing
● Crouching low to the ground
In addition to fearful body language, dogs often show additional signs of reacting to something aggressively. Although this isn’t always the case for every dog, it is still helpful to know some other signs of aggression to look out for, especially when you are out and about. Some other warning signs of aggression can include:
● Snarling or growling
● Attempting to run away from someone or something
● Aggressive barking
When To See A Vet
You should always see a vet if you suspect that your dog’s staring habit has a clinical cause, such as facial paralysis, eye proptosis, nerve damage, or a brain injury.
This is because your dog will likely need immediate veterinary care and supportive care after they leave the vet office. In addition, you should also visit a vet if your dog’s staring is the result of aggressive behavior.
This is because aggression can sometimes occur when a dog is in pain due to a medical condition or injury that requires medical treatment. In addition, a vet will also be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist for correcting or managing aggressive behavior if needed.