Why Are My Dog’s Eyes Darting Back and Forth?

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your pup struggle with an ailment you don’t understand. That’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain what saccadic intrusions are and how they can be treated so that you and your dog can move on to bigger and better things!

Unintentional Eye Movement in Dogs

While unintentional eye movement in dogs is a fairly common condition, it can be caused by a variety of different issues. If your pet suddenly begins to exhibit involuntary eye movements, you should take him or her to the veterinarian for an examination. The good news is that this condition is not life threatening—it’s just something you need to monitor carefully and treat quickly if the symptoms get worse.

If your dog has been diagnosed with unintentional eye movement, don’t panic: there are ways that we can treat it!

Causes of Unintentional Eye Movement in Dogs

In most cases, unintentional eye movement in dogs is caused by a brain injury. In some cases, however, it can be caused by a brain tumor or stroke. Some dogs with brain tumors will also experience seizures, which can result in involuntary eye movements as well as other symptoms like twitching and loss of muscle control. Finally, certain types of infections that affect the brain may cause involuntary eye movements as well.

Diagnosing Unintentional Eye Movement in Dogs

Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination on your dog to assess the size, shape, and color of the eye. The vet will also check the eyelids and surrounding tissue for abnormalities such as inflammation or swelling. The vet may also look at any discharge coming from your dog’s eyes.

The vet will then do a neurological examination to determine whether there is any damage along either side of your dog’s brain stem and spinal cord. If so, this could explain why he or she has been having involuntary eye movements. For example, if there’s some nerve damage in these areas that controls movement within the eyes themselves (or other parts of the body), then it might cause them to move involuntarily when certain stimuli are present—such as when watching TV or listening to music with high-pitched notes).

Treating Unintentional Eye Movement in Dogs

  • Medications: There are several medications that have been shown to help with involuntary eye movement, including propranolol, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Other drugs like clonazepam can help reduce anxiety. Your veterinarian will be able to discuss your options with you.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Dogs who suffer from this condition tend to feel more relaxed in environments where they feel less threatened. If your dog tends to exhibit involuntary eye movements when he’s around other dogs or people, consider keeping him in an environment where he doesn’t have these triggers present until his symptoms subside (this could mean taking him out on a leash while wearing an Elizabethan collar).


As we discussed in this article, your dog may have saccadic intrusions. This is sometimes a normal symptom of age, but could also be caused by many other things, so it’s best to bring your dog to the vet for an evaluation.