Notice that your dog seems a little stressed and keeps pawing at its eyes more than usual? Or maybe you notice redness, swelling and mucus on your pet’s eye- This could mean that your pet has an eye infection.
In such cases , a quick visit to the vet is highly imperative. However, not all infections require medical attention. There are many which can easily be taken care of with simple home remedies.
In this article, you will learn:
- How to treat a dog eye infection at home
- Best home remedies to treat your dog
- Common eye infections in dogs
Eye Infections: At a Glance
Like humans, dogs can also contract eye infections or inflammation, caused by bacteria, viruses or a reaction to irritants. Eye infections in dogs can be very uncomfortable just like they are in humans. Although most are not life-threatening, they can result in permanent damage to the eye and negatively impact their lives.
Eye infection can come in various forms and each of these require proper care and immediate attention. Here are some common eye infections in dogs:
Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
One of the most common eye infections in pets, this infection affects the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye. It reduces the moisture level in your dog’s eye causing it to become dry.
This can be very uncomfortable in dogs making them rub their eyes further which can cause their eyelids to stick. You can also notice green mucus around the affected area. This infection can cause severe damage to the cornea and also cause ulcers in dogs.
It is common among dog breeds like Bulldogs, Beagles, and Schnauzers. The common treatment is a tear replacement drop, however, sometimes surgery is required to reposition a duct from the salivary duct to the cornea of the infected eyes.
Conjunctivitis, also known as ‘Pink eye’ is a common eye infection that causes inflammation of the mucous membrane on the inner portion of the eyelids. It is often a reaction to some other injury suffered by the dog and its common signs include swelling, pain, red eyes, and mucus discharge.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, contact with dust or bacterial infections. When these signs are noticed, you should consult your vet immediately. They will be able to give proper treatment or prescribe the best antibiotic that you can use.
Uveitis is an inflammation in one or more interior membranes of the dog’s eye. This is a serious condition that can result in severe damage to the eye and even lead to blindness. One of the major causes of this is canine hepatitis. During recovery, a dog can get anterior uveitis. To treat this, your vet may prescribe drugs which suppress the immune system
For severe cases of Uveitis, you might notice intolerance to light and swelling in the iris. This is because of the large amount of blood in the conjunctiva. In such cases, do not attempt to give any medication without a prescription and consult your vet immediately.
Let us now discuss the common causes of these infractions.
Causes of Eye Infection in Dogs
Unlike human eye infections which are majorly caused by viruses or bacteria, dog eye infections are more complicated. Eye infection or inflammation in dogs has a wide range of potential causes.
Primary infections in dogs are not as common as in other pets, they are often a result of underlying conditions like dry eyes, allergies, or abnormality in their eyelids. As a result, most eye infections in dogs are not contagious.
The most common causes of secondary eye infections are:
- Dry eye
- Canine distemper
- Obstructed tear ducts.
- Foreign object in the eye
- Trauma or irritation to the eye
While secondary infections are not contagious, primary eye infections are very contagious and can be caused by:
- Bacteria; like canine brucellosis and leptospirosis
It can be difficult to figure out which infection is secondary or primary so, to be on the safe side, treat all eye infections as contagious. Try to keep your dog away from other pets and avoid sharing the same food and water dish.
No matter the root cause, eye infections that are left untreated can cause severe damage to your canine’s eyesight. Thus, it is important to know the common symptoms and seek help where necessary.
Symptoms of Eye Infections in Dogs
Pawing the eyes and eye discharges are common signs showing that something is wrong with your dog’s eyes. However, this does not always mean there is an infection. Such symptoms could be an indication of an allergic reaction or a serious medical issue.
If you are dealing with an eye infection, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Squinting and blinking
- Pawing or rubbing the affected eye
- Swelling in the eye
- Watery eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Change in the color of the fur around the eye
- Green, thick or smelly discharge
- Sensitivity to light
If you notice any of these symptoms, the first step is to consult your regular veterinary clinic. Without proper care, it can be challenging to get rid of an eye infection, therefore, the best action is to combine home remedies with prescribed treatment to speed up the process.
Home Remedies for Treating Eye Infections
Here are some safe and effective home remedies to keep your canine comfortable while you treat its eye infection:
Clean with a Saline Solution
An easy way to clear up infections faster is to keep the area clean. A simple way to do this is to use saline solution. This isn’t effective in treating the infection but instead helps clean up discharge, keeping the eye clean. This solution also helps treat some underlying causes of infection like irritation or dry eyes. To use this method follow these steps:
- Step 1: Get a saline solution drop from your vet. When you can’t get this, mix a teaspoon of salt in warm water.
- Step 2: If you are using an eyedrop, apply the recommended dosage to the corner of your dog’s eye. Make sure to keep the tip of the drop bottle away from the eye.
- Step 3: If you are using a homemade saline solution, dip a cotton ball into it and gently clean the area around the eye. Try to get all the discharge away from the eye.
- Step 4: Repeat this process regularly to keep the area clean.
Note: Do not use contact drops on your dogs. These are mixed with other ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s eyes.
Use a Warm Compress
A warm compress helps soothe the eye and make your dog more comfortable. This does not cure the underlying illness but it is a good remedy for itchy, red or inflamed eyes. You can purchase compressors for dog eye online, but if you don’t have one; you can use a clean cloth dipped in warm water.
To use this method follow these steps:
- Step 1: Dip a clean cloth or towel in warm water.
- Step 2: Rinse out until it stops dripping but make sure it remains damp
- Step 3: Place the damp cloth on your dog’s eye and hold it there for about 4-5 minutes
- Step 4: Do not use the same cloth or compressor for both eyes. Wash the cloth or use a new one before repeating the treatment.
These are not the same as saline eye drops. Artificial tears contain lubricant which helps to provide additional moisture to the eye. For dogs diagnosed with dry eyes, you can apply artificial tears a few times a day to reduce the irritation caused by dryness.
Note that this type of medication does not treat the underlying problem and only offers a soothing effect. They come as drops or ointment and are designed to stay in the eyes., so you only need to apply a small amount.
Several herbs can help your dog’s discomfort. There is no scientific evidence of their effectiveness, however, you can use them under the supervision of your vet. You can make your herbal eye drop using special herbs that fight inflammation like:
- Eyebright – provides nutrients and is very healing & soothing
- Red Clover
- Chamomile tea
To use this method, follow these steps:
Step 1: Get distilled or filtered water(preferably warm)
Step 2: Add a quarter teaspoon of salt to the water
Step 3: Add 10 drops of any of the above herbal tinctures to the solution
Step 4: Use a proper pipette or eyedropper to drop the mixture into the infected eye.
Step 5: Apply these drops 2-3 times a day.
Items like red clover, chamomile tea and warm compressors are quite helpful when treating a dogs’ eye infection at home.
Taking care of your dog’s eyes as soon as an infection develops is important because healthy eyes in dogs are crucial to good vision. In addition to this, regularly check on your four-legged buddy for any significant eye conditions, some of which could result in blindness if not properly managed by a veterinarian. If you notice any anomalies, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.