10 Reasons Why Does My Dog Wink

A wink from a dog is a sign that they’re pleased with something. It could also mean that your dog is trying to communicate with you. But what if we don’t understand why does my dog wink?

Dogs cannot communicate through words; thus, dogs and humans have developed ways to communicate with each other. While we may use vocal commands and hand gestures during training, dogs also communicate through body language.

New pet owners will soon understand how dogs use physical cues to communicate in as little as a few days. For instance, your dog will push you towards the door if it wants to go outside or play.

When your pet wants your attention, they might stare and wink at you until you notice them.

There are various reasons why dogs wink, stare and give you that puppy look. While we don’t know exactly why dogs do this, it’s still adorable. Because this is something that everyone wants to know about, here are ten reasons why dogs wink.

Reasons Why Your Dog Winks

Winking is a learned behavior, and dogs know how to use this trick well. But is it all there is to behavior? Here are the possible reasons why dogs wink:

1. Your dog feels great

The first reason why dogs wiggle their eyes is that they’re happy. If your dog winks at you, that might be a sign that you’re doing things right.

Dogs are very smart animals and know when someone is having a good time or feeling depressed.

When they feel comfy, many dogs will try to get closer to the person or animal that makes them feel this way.

2. Your dog mimics your wink

Dogs can pick up on human emotions by familiarizing themselves with our body language. If you notice your dog winks at you, it could be a sign that they’re trying to mirror the way you wink.

When dogs copy human behavior, it’s often referred to as social referencing.

3. Your dog is avoiding conflict

Dogs are very sensitive creatures, and in some instances, they will attempt to avoid conflict by staring and winking.

If you notice your dog winking at another dog, it might be because he does not want to come into contact with that particular dog.

If your dog stares at you and you stare at them, they might look down or wink away.

It means that they do not want any conflict with you and consider you the pack leader.

4. Your dog says thanks

Winking dogs may also be saying thanks for your effort in taking care of them.

When you take your dog out on a walk or give them some treats, they might wink at you to thank you for making an effort.

A wink from a dog is often a sign that they’re pleased with something, so if your pet winks at you, acknowledge and say you’re welcome!

5. Your dog feels relaxed

Dogs are known for blinking and winking when they eat or sleep. When they close their eyes, it does not necessarily mean that they are tired.

When your dog winks, it’s often a sign that they want to feel relaxed and comfortable.

They may signal to you with their eyes to move away or change position so they are more comfortable. After doing so, they might wink at you again as a form of thanking you for giving them some space.

6. Your dog is ready to play

If you come home from a long day at work and your dog winks at you, they might be telling you that they’re ready to play.

Winking is one of the behaviors that dogs use to initiate playtime. Dogs may blink and wink to other dogs and strangers to communicate friendliness.

Often, dogs wink at people and animals they are familiar with, but they may also display such actions towards strangers.

7. Your Dog Wants Your Attention

Winking is not only used in playtime but also when dogs want attention. If you are home alone and your dog winks at you, they might be trying to get your attention.

Dogs that constantly wink at their owners may express loneliness or boredom. Often, these pets need more exercise or mental stimulation.

If your dog mimics your actions, then they’ll be able to learn a wink in no time. And if they enjoy receiving our reactions – especially from you – then they will start doing it more.

The more you pet your dog or the more treats you give, the more they will wink.

And the more you pay attention to your dog, the more expressions they will make.

8. Your Dog Has Dry Eyes

Dogs with dry eyes tend to blink more, just like humans when their eyes become dry due to lack of moisture.

You might notice that your dog winks a lot if they suffer from dry eyes.

If you think about it, blinking helps dogs spread tears over their surface and re-moisturize them.

Many people have mistaken their dog’s squint for a wink, but if they do this many times in a row, there is likely something wrong.

Some dogs have trouble producing tears to lubricate their eyes, and they develop dry eyes. It may be due to damage to their tear glands, medication, and hypothyroidism.

Dry eye is more common in certain breeds such as American Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Pugs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

9. Foreign Bodies Under The Eyelid

Having something stuck in the eyelid is another reason why dogs wink.

The winking may be a spasm or a reaction to something that is in their eyelids. It can be anything from wooden fragments, food, pebbles, or metal bits.

Check for other signs like swollen eyes, redness, and tearing. It is not uncommon for dogs to get something in their eyes. They love exploring and sticking their faces in off-limit spots.

You can try to remove or clean their eyes using a saline solution. But if you are unable to remove it, ask for help from a veterinarian.

10. Your Dog Has Eye injury

Injuries around the eye area are also one of the reasons why do dogs wink.

If you notice that your dog winks more on a certain side of its face, then something might be wrong. It could mean that your pet has an injury or pain near their eyes.

Dogs with scratches or other injuries may blink a lot to protect them. Some eye injuries can be painful, so your dog may also wince or hold the eye closed as well.

When your pet’s vision is impaired, you notice something wrong with their eyes, and they blink excessively.

Contact an expert immediately if you suspect that your dog has a serious injury to their eyes. While waiting for help, cover the scratch with a cloth and bandage it around the head to hold it in place. You may also need to use a collar on your pet to keep them from rubbing their eyes.

Possible Health Issues Related to Why Does My Dog Wink

Dogs are very good at hiding their pain and discomfort, so it is up to us to notice any unusual behavior. Dogs wink for various reasons; some are harmless, but others can be a warning sign of an underlying medical condition.

If left untreated, eye problems will be an issue, and your dog could even go blind. Here are some potential health issues with winking or blinking as a symptom:

  • Entropion – If your dog winks one of his eyes regularly, this could indicate that he has entropion. It is when the eyelid turns in and touches the eye. Dogs with entropion often hold one eye closed because it becomes irritated from the eyelashes touching the surface of their eyeball.
  • Glaucoma – Your dog’s eyes contain a certain fluid that helps regulate the pressure inside his eyeball. If this fluid is not flowing properly, it could cause glaucoma. This condition often goes unnoticed until your dog starts experiencing vision issues or pain around his eye area. Glaucoma can be severe and irreversible.
  • Pink Eye – It can be caused by an infection or irritation around your dog’s eye area. Their third eyelid will show up as a pink membrane. It is no fun for your dog to deal with this condition, and it can take a while to recover. Your vet may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to treat the issue.
  • ConjunctivitisIt is important to have him checked out if you notice any unusual behaviors, redness, or excessive tearing from either of his eyes. Your vet may prescribe an ointment to treat this condition.
  • Eye Trauma – If your dog appears to be in pain and winks repeatedly, it could mean that he has an eye injury. Even if you think that the scratches are superficial, it is best to have them checked out by a vet. Your pup may need eye drops or ointment to prevent infections from setting in. He could also need stitches to close the wound.

FAQs About Why Do Dogs Wink

Do dogs wink intentionally?

Yes, dogs do wink on purpose. You might not always know why they are doing this, but it is natural for them.

They can intentionally wink at us and use it to communicate their boredom, hunger, or other moods.

But if they do this after eating, it could be a sign of gratitude. Your dog may also wink to appease you because it is considered a calming signal in canines.

Winking in dogs may also be a reinforced behavior. Some dogs learn that winking often gets rewards such as laughter, belly rubs, or treats!

Should You Wink Back At Your Dog?

Pet owners will often wink back at their dogs. It may sound silly to others, but dogs appreciate their owner’s love languages, including winking.

Your pet may be winking to show their trust, gratitude, and affection towards you. Thus, it is only right to return the favor.

Can Winking Be A Sign of Something Else?

A simple wink indeed carries various messages. But, if your dog winks repetitively or excessively, it could mean that your pet is not feeling well.

If you notice this behavior in your dog, check out for other signs and symptoms.

If your dog has an injury around the eye area itself, he can experience lots of pain and discomfort. If it is not treated correctly, he could sustain permanent damage.

If your dog winks one eye more than the other, this may indicate an illness or pain in that particular eye. Take him to see a veterinarian right away!


Winking is a way of communication between dogs and humans. It can mean anything. It can be your dogs’ playfulness communication, or it can be a sign of a serious eye condition.

If your dog winks repeatedly or excessively, this could indicate that something else is going on. Check out for other symptoms such as eye discharge, pain, and vomiting.

But overall, winking is a harmless behavior seen in dogs. If you see them occasionally wink at you, try to understand what they are trying to communicate. It can also be fun to wink back to acknowledge them. You can also try to teach them to wink on command!


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