Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Dog Wink At Me? 4 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Tips

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

pomeranian dog winking

Why Does My Dog Wink At Me? 4 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Tips


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

So your dog gave you a wink, and you think it has an underlying meaning. You took to Google to find out exactly what your dog is trying to tell you. Are they letting you in on a little secret? Are they saying that they understand more than what you think?

Chances are, no. Our dogs don’t have any kind of psychic power. However, winking can mean something on its own. Interestingly, it is also a skill that you can teach your dog. We’re going to dig into all the reasons why a dog might wink at you here.

dogster paw divider

The 4 Reasons Why Your Dog Winks At You

1. It’s a Coincidence

Sure, we’d love to think that our pup secretly communicates with us in a very humanized way. This really isn’t the case. If your dog seems to wink every time they look at you, it could just be an adjustment of their eyes. This is likely unintentional, and it’s just amazing to us because we associate it with humanized behavior.

welsh corgi pembroke winks
Image Credit: RikiEnot, Shutterstock

2. Your Dog Is Content

Often, when we see our dogs relaxing, they sometimes close their eyes while they’re awake. These momentary slow closings are usually just a sign that your pup is feeling calm as a cucumber. If your dog tends only to close one of their eyes, it’s likely the same behavior.

3. Submission

Dogs associate eye contact with dominance. If you and your dog are locking eyes, they might close one of their eyes to show they are submissive to you. You are their master, and if you want to get scrappy, they’re surely not going to tango with you. After all, they want chin rubs and back scratches, not fights!

happy Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog looking up as its owner pets it
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

4. It’s a Health Issue

Is your dog suddenly winking all the time? If they only close one eye, it might be because there’s a problem with that particular one. Something might be stuck in the eye, or they could be in pain for one reason or another. Typically, if you observe their behavior when they’re winking, you can better understand what’s going on.

You can try to examine the eye to see any visual signs of trouble. If there’s nothing that you can observe, you might want to get them to your veterinarian just to be on the safe side.

dogster paw divider

Possible Health Issues Related to Winking

So, if there could be an underlying health issue, what on earth could it be? There are a few different issues involving the eye, but only a licensed veterinarian can determine which one it is.

Foreign Objects

Your dog could have something very small and nearly undetectable stuck in their eye. It could lie in any part of the eye or eyelids and could be a small piece of plastic, glass, metal, or any other foreign substance.


Entropion is an abnormality of the eyelid. Often, dogs with entropion will squint, as it is a painful condition where the eyelid rolls inward. Hairs on the eyelid’s surface typically rub against the cornea causing direct irritation.

dog winks tongue out happy smiling
Image Credit: canduca, Shutterstock


Your dog can suffer from conjunctivitis and several other eye infections. Typically, infections are symptomatic, and you will notice irritation in or around the eye.


A corneal ulcer is a deep epithelium erosion leading into the stroma. With a corneal ulcer, fluid accumulates in the stroma, and it usually causes cloudiness in one eye. This is a time-sensitive matter, as it can lead to descemetocele – leakage of the eyeball.


Uveitis is inflammation of one or multiple structures making up the uvea of the eye. This is a very painful condition that usually only involves a single eye but can involve both eyes simultaneously. Infections, trauma, toxins, lens damage, and metabolic diseases can cause it.


Your dog’s eyes can be irritated by anything from allergies to household cleaners. Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what’s causing your dog’s irritation since there can be so many environmental triggers.

dog winking
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Signs to Look For

If your dog seems irritated or if the behavior seems repetitive, you can look for other signs of a potential problem. Typically, with most eye issues, you will see one or a combination of the following:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge
  • Leaking
  • Tear stains
  • Physical discomfort
  • Favoring one eye

If you notice any additional signs besides winking, there could be a problem, and it’s time to book an appointment with your vet. Many of these issues can be fixed with a round of antibiotics or another prescribed treatment from your veterinarian.

dogster paw divider

Teaching Your Dog to Wink

Just like anything else, you can teach your dog to wink. It can be a learned skill, just like sitting or rolling over. Our dogs are quite intelligent and could pick up on anything you want to try to teach them.

So, like anything else, your puppy can catch on quickly if you break it down into small, easy-to-digest steps. Remember that treats are your friend. Your dog will always respond to a good, tasty snack. Teaching your dog to wink can certainly be a funny trick to add to their lineup and get some laughs out of guests.

woman doing obedience training with bernese dog
Image Credit: Kzenon, Shutterstock

dogster paw divider


Isn’t it pretty nifty that you can teach your dog to wink? It’s certainly something new, shifting away from boring tricks like sitting or rolling over.

If you are worried that your dog shutting one eye is related to any health-related issue, it’s best to get them in for an examination. It could be something extremely simple, but it might require treatment. So don’t let anything go overlooked!

Featured Image Credit: witaya ratanasirikulchai, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.