what does it mean when a dog winks at you

Your dog winked at you! Clear as day; you saw your dog blink with just one eye. In the human world, a wink is a sign of camaraderie, joking, or even flirting. But what does it mean when a dog winks at you?

Could it be a health condition? Are they flirting with you? Or is something simply bothering their eye?

As a dog owner, understanding your dog’s gestures will help you know your furry friend better. It’ll also help you bond with it more quickly. So, what does a wink from your dog mean? Let’s find out!

Why Does Your Dog Wink at You?

1. It’s an Accident 

More likely than not, your dog doesn’t even notice that it winked at you. Winks don’t have a social meaning to dogs like they do for humans.

However, it’s not impossible that your dog winked at you on purpose.

2. To Get Your Attention 

Your furry friend might do several things to get your attention, and winking is one of them. Also, your dog may often wink if you were quick to praise it the first time or if it knows winking always works.

3. It Might Be Mimicking You 

Another dog behavior is to imitate the things you do. If you like to wink at your dog a lot, don’t be surprised to see your dog winking too.  Dogs are intelligent and tend to learn a lot from the things they see. They also have a unique way of reading human behavior and sometimes even mimicking it.

4. Irritants in the Eye 

When you have a spec in your eye, it’s normal to blink to get it out. It’s the same for dogs too. Irritants like dust or water in your dog’s eye can cause it to wink a few times to get it out.

Can a Dog Winking Be a Medical Issue? 

A wink here or there shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. But, if the winking is a regular or constant thing, there may be a medical reason behind it.

Eye problems come in various forms and affect different parts of a dog’s eye. Some are hereditary, while environmental or nutritional factors can cause others.


Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes the pressure in the eye to increase. It comes with unbearable pain and discomfort. One of the common symptoms of glaucoma in dogs is winking too many times. The best way to rule out glaucoma is to have your dog examined. Your vet might prescribe some eye drops to relieve the pressure and pain. 


Dog breeds with small noses and chubby faces are prone to experiencing entropion. Entropion is a condition in which a dog’s eyelids roll inward and rub on its eyeballs’ surface. It can cause irritation, pain, and stress to your pet.

Entropion can also result in corneal ulcers if neglected. Your dog’s cornea may become scarred as a result. In some extreme situations, it causes permanent eye impairment. Bulldogs, retrievers, spaniels, Great Danes, and pugs are some dog breeds susceptible to Entropion. Remember to watch out for excessive winking if you own one of these breeds.


Your dog’s excessive winking can be a sign that they have blepharospasm. Blepharospasm is the uncontrollable blinking or spasming of your dog’s eyelids. Blepharospasm may also be a symptom of a deeper problem.

A malfunction in the muscles of a dog’s eye causes blepharospasm. If this problem persists, it is a good idea to get your dog examined by a veterinarian.

Allergies and Infection 

If your dog is allergic to certain substances, it might wink to let you know it’s in discomfort. 

Other eye problems that can cause your dog to wink include: 

  • Dry eyes 
  • Tear duct problems
  • Pink eyes 
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Ectopic cilia

What Should You Do if Your Dog Winks Too Often? 

The eyelid’s primary function is to shield the eye from irritants, dust, and other foreign objects. So, if your dog has lopsided eyelids, it might not be able to close its eyes when winking or blinking completely. 

Instead of taking a wild guess, a visit to the vet will give a proper diagnosis for your pet.

Can You Train Your Dog to Wink? 

You may train your dog to wink if you wish to. Like any other form of training, you might need to give your dog treats to encourage it. Dogs are intelligent and easily link actions to rewards. You can begin by rewarding your dog with a pat. Gently stroke the whiskers on the side of its muzzle. Remember to do it on the side you want them to wink with. 

Give your dog a treat, a pet, or some playtime with their favorite toy as soon as they wink, and soon, it’ll be winking at you more often!

Train Your Dog With Support from Sierra Delta

Having your dog wink at you might be adorable. Still, understanding the origin of the behavior can help you identify potential health problems. 

At Sierra Delta, we offer US Military Veterans the best support in training their Life Buddies or Service Dogs.

As a Veteran, you can also access our Life Buddy app to track your dog’s health and general behavior when you join our community.

Join our community today!


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