Everything You Need to Know About Dog Eye Infections

dog eye

Numerous factors can contribute to eye infections in dogs. If your canine friend is experiencing redness, swelling, sensitivity to light, or discomfort in general, then it is best to rush to a vet immediately. If neglected, then the symptoms can turn severe and may lead to loss of vision. 

What causes swelling in the eyes of dogs? 

When your dog’s eye is swollen for no reason, it could be a sign of an underlying condition. In several cases, swelling can be life-threatening and can result in permanent blindness. But, the condition can be prevented by studying the cause and giving appropriate treatment to your dog.

Here are some causes of swollen eyes in dogs.  

  • Allergic reaction to any component 
  • Bee sting to the eye
  • Injury to the eyelid or eye
  • An eye infection 
  • Scratch, irritation or corneal abrasion 
  • Glaucoma 

What should you do if your dog has a swollen eye? 

If you notice a swollen eye in dogs, you should treat it as an emergency condition. Also, heading to your vet right away would be beneficial. Apart from the swelling, there could be an underlying situation contributing to discomfort or pain for your pet. Put E-collar around your pet’s neck. This can be beneficial in preventing additional rubbing or scratching. Moreover, early treatment and diagnosis can be of great help. It will increase the number of options available for your pet in terms of treatment. 

Your vet would examine the condition. Further, they would suggest the right medication for your pet. If left untreated, then the infections can spread or result in vision loss. 

Here are some basic infections that you must be aware of. 

  • Conjunctivitis or Pink/Red Eye due to inflammation of a thin mucous membrane covering the eye  
  • Corneal inflammation 
  • Uveitis, inflammation of interior region of the eye 
  • Abnormalities in tear glands and eyelids 

Causes of dog eye infections  

There are numerous causes of eye infections in dogs. These include: 

  • Fungal infection 
  • Viral infection 
  • Bacterial infection 
  • Irritants such as shampoo or smoke 
  • Trauma 
  • Parasites 
  • Foreign matter such as dog’s hair, grass seed or dirt 
  • A cut or a scratch on the cornea

Several other problems can trigger symptoms that may seem like a dog eye infection.  

  • Poisoning
  • Dry eye
  • Tear duct issues 
  • Vitamin deficiency 
  • Tumors
  • Abnormalities in eyelids 

Common symptoms of dog eye infections 

Here are the most common dog eye infection symptoms 

  • Redness
  • Blinking 
  • Squinting
  • Smelly, thick discharge 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Holding eye closed
  • Pawing at the eye 
  • Swelling

Diagnosing a dog eye infection 

As per veterinary ophthalmologists, an examination of the eye done on dogs is quite similar to that of humans. However, the only exception is that it not possible for dogs to read an eye chart. Here are some of the tests generally conducted by the vets for diagnosing the condition.  

  • Schirmer Tear Test: This test measures the production of tears in the eyes and will be done when there is a discharge or redness
  • Carrying a visual examination of the eyelids and front eye with a focal light source 
  • Dilation using special eye drops to examine the back of the eye 
  • Allergy tests
  • Bacterial culture
  • Corneal staining with a dye that will reveal breaks in corneal surface or the ulcers 
  • Intraocular pressure (IOP) measured using tonometer to confirm glaucoma 

How to prevent dog eye infections? 

You can take a few steps to prevent eye infections in your pooch. 

  • Trim hair around the eyes for preventing irritation to the eyeball 
  • Keep your dog’s face clean 
  • Avoid trauma to the eyes from foreign bodies
  • Close the window while you are driving to prevent seeds, dust and other foreign bodies from entering the eyes 
  • Watch for signs like rubbing or pawing 
  • Keep irritants such as flea medicine, soaps and shampoos away from the reach of your dog 

Dog eye infection treatment 

You need to follow basic steps while caring for your dog suffering from an eye infection. If you don’t know how to clean a dog’s eye infection, then make sure to follow the steps mentioned here carefully. If you notice any brown discharge from your dog’s eye, then make sure to remove it using a warm washcloth. By letting it accumulate around the eyes, you will further worsen the situation. Also, take special care to prevent scratching the eyeball while cleaning. 

You can flush the infected eye using a saline solution for removing the irritants. Use an eyedropper for the purpose. Also, give your dog the antibiotic prescribed by the vet. This may be in the form of a tablet or an ointment. You need to follow a certain procedure while giving ointment or medicated drops to your dog. 

Follow these simple steps while handling your dog. 

  • Have somebody to hold the dog steady 
  • Hold the eyelid open 
  • Avoid touching the surface of the eye 
  • Spread the ointment carefully 
  • Allow the dog to blink after application 
  • Repeat the procedure as prescribed by the vet

Antibiotics for dog eye infection prescribed by the vet are quite effective. Make sure to follow the schedule if you want your dog to recover as soon as possible. Keep your pet away from dusty environments while they are healing. If you fail, then the condition may take a long time to heal. 

You can try natural remedies for healing dog eye infections. For instance, it is said that you can notice miraculous improvement while using green tea for dog eye infection. Also, aloe vera can be instilled into the infected eye. Dietary supplements such as vitamins C and E can reduce inflammation and promote healing.   

How to treat Conjunctivitis in dogs?

You are now aware of the basic conditions that can result in a dog eye infection. Also, you know what to do about spotting symptoms of eye infection. In this section, you will learn how to deal with Conjunctivitis in dogs. This section highlights the causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, and home remedies that you can follow if your dog is suffering from the condition. 

What causes Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) in dogs? 

Within the eyelids of your dog, there are membranes popularly referred to as conjunctiva or mucus membranes. These membranes cover parts of the eyeball and also the sides of the third eye. It is inflammation of these membranes that causes Conjunctivitis in dogs. The most common symptoms noted in this case are pain, drainage, and red-eye. 

Several conditions can result in Conjunctivitis in dogs. This includes bacterial infection, viral infection, allergic reactions, and inward-growing eyelashes. Hence, veterinarians treat the condition after identifying the underlying situation. Generally, saline eyewash is used for flushing the eye irritants. Also, antibiotics prescribed by the vet can prove beneficial in treating infections caused due to microbes.  

Is Conjunctivitis contagious?  

Non-infectious Conjunctivitis is never contagious. In case the vet finds a bacteria or virus responsible for the condition of your pooch, then you need to be careful. Most importantly, you need to be cautious if you have two or more dogs at home. That is to say; the condition may end up getting transmitted from one dog to another. Most importantly, separate the infected dog from other dogs. You will have to be careful if your infected dog shares water and food dishes along with the bedding with its canine inmates. Isolating is the best thing you can do to prevent infection.  

Breed Predisposition

While the pink eye can occur in any dog breed, certain breeds are at high risk of developing the condition. Mostly, miniature schnauzers, bulldogs, and cocker spaniels are prone to dry eye. This condition results in non-infectious Conjunctivitis. In Chow chows, the condition called entropion increases the risk of eye inflammation. 

Common Signs


  • Puffy or red eyes

  • Eye discharge

  • Swelling of the eyelid lining

  • Pawing or rubbing at the eye

  • Discomfort or itchiness

  • Eyelids sticking together

  • Squinting

  • Perform a thorough examination of eyes and eyelids

  • Check for abrasions

  • The vet may perform a fluorescein eye test or

  • Schirmer’s test

  • Blood tests performed in rare cases

Treatment of Conjunctivitis 

You should follow the course of treatment, as suggested by your vet. If the underlying cause for the condition is a bacteria or a virus, then your vet may prescribe a fungicidal or bactericidal ointment. This can be applied to the eye topically. Also, the vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help with the discomfort and swelling. If a foreign object is responsible for the condition, then the pup would be placed under general anesthesia for removing the object.  

Dog conjunctivitis home treatment

Home remedies can prove to be immensely beneficial in providing relief to your pet. Remember, you cannot replace it with veterinary care. Above all, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your dog’s face. It is best to consult with a vet before using any homeopathic or herbal remedies. Also, verify if the ingredients you are using in a home remedy are safe for your pet.   

Use a cool compress

You can use a cool and damp compress for soothing the eye of your pet. Also, this method will help in reducing inflammation. Here are the steps that you can follow

  • Soak a clean hand towel or washcloth in cool or warm water
  • Wring out excess water
  • Place the damp cloth over the eye for a few minutes
  • Remove the washcloth 

Remove pus with a damp cloth 

If you notice a thick discharge from the eyes of your pooch, then your pooch may be having a hard time opening their eye. In other words, the pus hardens, and it complicates the situation. Hence, use a warm, damp cloth for removing pus around the eyelashes and the eyes. 

Use eye drops 

It is essential to lubricate the eyes using drops. Using lubricating teardrops, you can soothe the burning or irritation in the eye. Also, the drops can help in relieving most of the symptoms associated with pink eye. In addition, they will flush out irritants or allergens from the eyes. 

Herbal eyewash 

Rinsing the infected eye with homemade eyewash can prove to be beneficial in easing the symptoms of Conjunctivitis in dogs. You can make eyewash using a teaspoon of salt, a cup of distilled water and adding drops of St. John’s wort, chamomile or calendula. By the way, you can use a dropper for your convenience. This, it will be easier for you to rinse the infected eye three to four times a day. 

Homeopathy treatment 

The most common ingredients used in homeopathy for treating eye infection are meadowsweet, rosemary, and burdock. Meadowsweet can heal eye infections because of its astringent characteristics. Rosemary has antiseptic, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory effects. Burdock detoxifies and removes unwanted substances from the body.  

Treating pet dogs with eye allergies

Allergies can leave your pets feeling restless and irritable. Also, their eyes can become sore and watery. There can be many reasons that can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs. In some cases, the condition will heal on its own. However, sometimes you may need to make a trip to the bet for allergy screening as well as treatment. 

Allergies usually result in watery issues. This may be due to your dog coming in direct contact with the allergens. Inhalation of pollen, dander, mold, and consuming certain ingredients can result in an allergic reaction. As a result, the vet may ask you to opt for an allergy screening to diagnose allergies in your pet. Most vets suggest both blood and skin tests for identifying the case. The results will help them find the best way to reduce allergen contact. 

Certain medications and soothing home remedies can make your dog feel much better. Dog eye allergies home remedies can help you naturally treat the condition.     

Causes and triggers of dog eye allergies

Like humans, even dogs can develop allergies at any time. Any dog can develop allergies. However, the condition is commonly observed in Setter, Retriever, and Terrier breeds. Some of the most common causes of allergies in dogs are

  • Fleas
  • Mold and mildew
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Tree and grass pollen 
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Feathers, hair, and dander 
  • Household cleaning products
  •  Perfumes and colognes
  • Medications including insecticidal shampoo and flea treatment 
  • Certain materials and fabrics

Skin allergy test 

An allergy screening test can be done in dogs. This kind of screening is more reliable in comparison to a blood test. A large range of allergens can be tested. The results are shared on the same day. The only downside of this test is that it requires shaving and sedation. A skin allergy test works best when it is performed during a flare-up.  

Blood allergy test 

This test is done by drawing a small sample of blood from your dog. It is then sent to the lab for testing for possible allergens. It doesn’t require sedation and is the least stressful test for young puppies suffering from allergies. The results are usually shared in a couple of days. The only thing about this test is that it is not as accurate as a skin allergy test.  

Basic remedies for dog eye allergies 

There are two ways in which you can treat dog eye allergies at home: Medical and lifestyle. If you follow preventative measures, you will be able to suppress the symptoms to a greater extent. The best thing to do is to avoid getting in contact with the allergen responsible for the condition. 

If you have a better idea of what is triggering an eye allergy in your dog, then here are some steps that you can follow to control the situation.  

  • Remove everything from the home that contains the problem materials 
  • Remove sources of mold, dander, and dust
  • Vacuum carpets and soft furnishings for removing microscopic allergens 
  • Try deep cleaning your dog’s bed and blankets 
  • If pollen is responsible for the allergy, then check pollen counts each day and walk your dog outside only when the counts are lower 
  • Control airborne allergens with an air purifier  
  • Wipe your dog’s eyes with lukewarm water to soothe sore eyes 
  • Try dog eye discharge home remedy 

Using medication for the treatment of dog eye allergies

Antihistamines are generally prescribed for the treatment of dog eye allergies. These can halt the production of histamines, which result in eye allergy symptoms such as watery and itchy eyes. The most popular allergy medication is Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). It is effective with eye allergies and starts showing positive results in just a week. You need to make sure that you choose a reliable brand that is safe for use in dogs. 

Benadryl is a sedative. Hence, it may result in drowsiness in your dog. The standard dosage of this medication is 1 mg per pound of bodyweight thrice in a day. You need to remember that this medication can result in dehydration and gastric problems. So, it is best to keep an eye on your dog while on this medication. Also, you cannot give Benadryl to your dog if it has high blood pressure or glaucoma. Further, it cannot be given to nursing or pregnant dogs. You should always check with the vet before giving any drug to your pet.  

Your vet may also suggest using steroidal eye drops for relieving irritation in your dog’s eye. Topical ointments will also be suggested if the condition is severe. Though allergies are uncomfortable and itchy, doing a simple test can help you counter the condition with the right treatment. Antihistamines can make a significant difference in easing the conditions. Allergies are not something serious. However, you still cannot ignore the condition entirely. 

Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Eye Wash 

This specially formulated eyewash helps in alleviating irritation caused by pink eye, allergies, abrasions, wounds, and foreign debris. You can also use this for general eye care. You can flush the affected eyes three to four times in a day till the symptoms disappear. It is safe for use around ears, nose, and mouth. 

All Vetericyn products are carefully formulated and pH balanced. It is free from steroids and is safe for use on all animals. The solution is non-toxic. It promises effective relief to your pet’s eye. Also, this pain-free solution helps in preventing tear stains. You can save yourself a strip to vet using this solution as veterinarians recommend it.     


  • Great for flushing debris and dirt
  • Prevents tear stains 
  • Effective for eye redness 
  • Heals irritated and itchy eyes
  • Can be used on cats, dogs, horses, and livestock 
  • Formulated using safe and effective products
  • Recommended by veterinarians 


  • The quantity offered in the bottle is not satisfactory for the price charged

Animal Herbology Veterinary Eye Wash 

If you are keen on exploring herbal alternatives for treating allergies and pink eye symptoms in your dog, then you can consider Animal Herbology Veterinary Eye Wash. This refreshing eyewash is suitable for treating all kinds of eye problems in your dog. It freshens and maintains the overall health of eyes in animals. 

For using this medication, you need to add 3-4 drops into boiled and cooled salted water. Then, you need to apply this solution over the eyelid with a soft wipe. You need to do this three to four times a day for best results. 


  • An herbal solution for treating eye problems 
  • Blend of natural herbs 
  • Easy to use 
  • Can be used on all animals and not just dogs  
  • Eases the urge to rub eyes in your pooch 


  • The instructions for diluting are a bit vague 

Premium Care Allergy Immune Treats 

These allergy immune treats claim to relieve 99 percent of dog allergies. You can keep food, environmental, skin, and seasonal allergies at bay by feeding these treats to your dog. These grain-free chewable treats consist of a blend of immune and digestive boosting ingredients. Hence, these promote a healthy response to allergies. 

Made from natural ingredients such as kelp, colostrum, organic licorice root, and vitamin C, these treats are safe for your dogs. The chews do not contain any added fillers. It is free from artificial ingredients and colors.


  • Boosts immunity 
  • Made from natural nourishing ingredients
  • Relieves 99 percent of dog allergies
  • Free from artificial ingredients and preservatives 
  • Promotes digestive health and helps with allergies 
  • Noticeable improvements in lesions and rashes 


  • It may take 2-4 months for the results to show up