Eye Drops for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
Category_Dog Knowledge

Eye Drops for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

by Andrew Ehlert

Eye conditions are common in dogs. If you notice your canine companion has any eye symptoms, bring them to the veterinarian for a diagnosis and advice. In many cases, eye drops will play a significant part in treatment.

Whether your pet has allergies, inflammation, a viral or bacterial infection, or glaucoma, you will probably have to administer eye drops. You love your pet, so you want to know everything you can about eye drops before you have to give them. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for a diagnosis and guidance.

Types of Eye Drops for Dogs

The kind of eye drops your dog needs depends on their eye problem. There are several different kinds of eye drops, and each is appropriate for specific issues. You should get your pet examined by a vet so they can decide what type of eye drops to use.

Steroid Eye Drops

Your vet may prescribe steroid eye drops for dogs if your pet has eye inflammation. Some problems steroid eye drops are often prescribed for include conjunctivitis and other inflammatory conditions of the eye.

Never use steroid eye drops unless your veterinarian has prescribed them. Certain conditions may get worse when these drops are used. For example, corneal ulcers may be aggravated by steroid drops.

Antibiotic and Antibacterial Eye Drops

Vets prescribe antibiotic eye drops for bacterial infections in dog eyes. In many cases, your veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics for your pet, too. There are several kinds of antibiotic and antibacterial eye drops available. The right one depends on the diagnosis.

Saline Eye Drops

Saline eye drops, sometimes called saline eyewashes, come in handy for many dog owners. You can use saline eyewashes to get rid of any debris that ends in the corners of your pet’s eyes. If your dog has mild allergies, saline eye drops may help.

Eye Conditions in Dogs

Let’s take a look at eye conditions in dogs that may require eye drops.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

There are several different causes of conjunctivitis (pink) in canines. Symptoms of pink eye include pink or red eyes, and there is sometimes discharge too. This discharge may be watery, or it may be yellowish-green pus. Itchiness and swelling are other common symptoms.

Conjunctivitis gets its name from the conjunctiva, a special mucous membrane in the eye. With conjunctivitis, the conjunctiva is inflamed. The conjunctiva is crucial because it helps protect your dog’s eye. If it’s inflamed and irritated, your dog is at risk.

Owners should bring their dogs to the veterinarian as soon as possible if they have symptoms of pink eye. The proper treatment for your dog’s conjunctivitis depends on its exact cause. There are two leading causes of conjunctivitis. There are bacterial causes and viral causes.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial Conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection that causes pink eye and other issues. If you’ve ever had a bacterial infection, you know how quickly it can become severe. Get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you can if he has bacterial conjunctivitis.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Sometimes a dog’s conjunctivitis may be caused by a virus. There are viruses out there that spread quickly from dog to dog. Don’t assume a virus causes your dog’s conjunctivitis. Even if it was initially, a bacterial infection might have developed.

Other Eye Infections

Conjunctivitis is just one type of eye infection your canine companion may develop. In other words, other areas of the dog’s eye may get infected with bacteria. Like any different kind of bacterial infection, this can have severe consequences if not adequately treated.


Glaucoma is caused by something called intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP is the pressure inside the dog’s eye. Some signs of glaucoma in dog eyes may include:

  • Cloudiness or a bluish tint in the eyes
  • Weak appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Watery discharge from the eye
  • Eye discomfort and pain

This is a serious condition and may lead to blindness if not correctly treated.

Eye Allergies For Dogs

Like humans, dogs may have environmental allergies that affect the eyes. If this happens, your pet will need a specific kind of eye drop.

How to Give Your Dog Eye Drops

There are specific steps you should follow when giving your dog eye drops.

1. Read the product instructions

Different kinds of eye drops have their own instructions. Don’t assume that eye drop instructions you’ve seen before will apply the eye drops you are using now.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly

Don’t risk introducing bacteria into your dog’s eyes with dirty hands. Always give your hands a thorough wash immediately before using eye drops on your pet. To be safer, use hand sanitizer on your hands and then wash.

3. Cleanse eye area around the eye

Wet a washcloth in warm water, and use this (and a light touch) when cleaning the area surrounding your pet’s eyes. Use soothing words to keep your dog calm. Praise your dog when they behave the way you want.

4. Keep the applicator tip hygienic

Clean off the end of the eye drop applicator before and after every time you administer the drops. Dry it off thoroughly before you put it away. Try not to introduce the applicator to any source of bacteria, such as dirty hands. Also, try not to let the applicator directly touch the eye.

5. Gently hold your pet’s head.

If you have someone to help you, that is even better. They can hold your dog’s head while you administer the eye drops. Making sure your pet’s head won’t move around too much is essential. After all, you need time to aim the drops to get in the eyes properly.

6. Administer the eye drops

Ensure the bottle itself doesn’t come in contact with your dog’s eye. Try to get the eye drops in the middle area of the eye.

7. Provide positive reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement all through the process to show your dog how they should behave. For example, pet your dog and praise them when they stay still. Don’t get angry with your dog or reprimand them when they’re scared, as this will make them more afraid.

8. Wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly after administering the eye drops.

Keep Your Dog's Eyes Heathy

There are several eye conditions in dogs that may need eye drops. Now you know about the different kinds of eye drops and eye conditions in dogs. Bring your pet to the vet right away if you think they have eye problems.

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