Raising a dog isn’t a smooth journey always. Sometimes, Fido’s once beautiful eyes can welcome you with swollen eyelids, a noticeable wound, excessive tearing, or a red, inflamed cornea. We bet, if it is your first time experiencing this issue, you’ll get a panic attack while seeking treatment for dog eye infection.
But, your canine’s eye infection doesn’t have to upset you or burn a big hole in your wallet. You can treat it at home, as long as you know its cause, and the right treatments.
If it is your first time nursing a dog with an eye infection, this post suggests some common causes of eye infections, and their effective treatments. We will also point out the alarming signs that need a vet’s intervention.
Read on to spot the right treatment for dog eye infection...
Common causes of dog eye infections
Honestly, there is no way you could successfully administer treatment for dog eye infection without knowing the root cause. That’s the only way you could pick the right treatment.
Here are the top 5 common causes of a canine’s eye infection:
Dog eye allergy, medically known as allergic conjunctivitis, occurs when Rover is exposed to pollen, dust mites, smoke, and certain foods. Affected pups will sneeze excessively, as well as have an irresistible urge to scratch their red, teary, and inflamed eyes. If left untreated, the allergies could pave the way to secondary eye infections.
While there are several bacterial eye infections, conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is the most common. This infection attacks the mucous membrane lining your dog’s eyeball. Affected canines have a clear or greenish discharge from eyes, constant squinting, swollen eyelids, and bloodshot eyeballs.
Eye injury is common in active and aggressive dogs. The injuries result when your dog fights with other pets, or something lodges in your dog’s eye while playing around. The common signs for eye injuries include swollen eyelids, bloody eyeball, general distress, visible wound, squinting, and discharge from the injured eye.
Like human eyes, your canine’s eyes are sensitive to irritating things like dust, smoke, cosmetics, insecticides, perfume, cleaning solutions, and paint thinners. Irritated eyes produce excessive watery or pus-like discharge, and their eyeballs are red and itchy. Fido will be rubbing the eyes excessively.
Some viruses like herpes virus and adenovirus can attack your dog’s eye tissues to cause an infection. The common symptoms of viral eye infections are swelling of the eyelid, watery or pus-like discharge from eyes, squinting, and eye redness.
When should you call a vet to treat your dog’s eye infection?
Frankly, you cannot administer all treatment for dog eye infection by yourself. Some conditions are severe, hard to treat, and they can quickly get worse if not treated promptly, with the right treatment for dog eye infection. Such infections are better treated by veterinarians.
Not sure of which eye infections to leave for your vet? If yes, here are some of the alarming signs that need special attention.
• Your dog’s temperature is above the usual 101 to 102.5°F
• The infected eye is excessively swollen
• There’s pus oozing from the infected eye
• The infected eye won’t open at all
• Your dog has lost its pupillary light reflex
• The cornea is cloudy, or it’s bulging out of its normal shape
• There are lesions on your dog’s eye sclera (white)
Effective treatments for dog eye infections
If you’ve just discovered the eye infection in your pup and you can also see that it’s nothing serious, below are 11 tips that’ll help you treat the infection at home. Most of the time, the infection will go away once you’ve applied the treatments below.
1. Use a weak salt solution to treat minor infections
Saltwater solution is the first-line home treatment for dog eye infections. It is effective in treating most minor infections, and the ingredients for making this treatment (common salt+ distilled water) are readily available.
The salt solution is a strong antimicrobial treatment for less severe viral, bacterial, and fungal dog eye infections. In addition, the saline solution will clear pus and any other discharge in Fido’s eyes to hasten healing.
To make this homemade saline solution, dissolve one tablespoon of common salt in a bowl with warm distilled water. Dip cotton balls into the mixture and gently wipe your dog’s infected eye. Keep wiping the infected eyes several times a day.
2. Accelerate healing with non-medicated sterile rinses
Non-medicated sterile rinses are a refined alternative to the homemade salt solution. They support the healing process by flushing out the bacteria, viruses, and fungi present in and around Fido’s infected eyes.
Also, the non-medicated sterile rinses will clear the pus and any other eye discharge that could create a favourable breeding setting for microbes.
Unlike the homemade salt solution, the store-bought sterile rinses are made from gentle ingredients to reduce irritation for your pet. They will not irritate Fido’s already hurting eyes whatsoever.
Some of the best non-medicated sterile rinses you would want to try out are:
Formulated from boric acid, the Nutri-vet eye rinse liquid cleanses and soothes irritated eyes. It is a great treatment for eye allergies and irritation occasioning from exposure to smoke and dust. The Nutri-Vet eye rinse for dogs creates a sterile environment to inhibit bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It will accelerate healing.
Miracle’s sterile eyewash is a potent blend of boric acid, sorbic acid, and sodium chloride. It eliminates germs, allergens, and irritants from your dog’s infected eye without stinging. Besides treating your dog, the sterile eyewash is multipurpose. You can use it to clear eye infections in your cats, birds, rabbits, horses, and any other furry friend. It comes in the form of 90-pre-soaked pads for easy application.
Regardless of the type of saline cleaner you choose, make sure you follow the usage guidelines and instructions carefully. Improper use could hurt your canine’s eyes. Also, note that many of these products will not treat severe eye infections.
So be sure to get your pet checked if their eye infection doesn’t improve after a few applications.
3. Use colloidal silver to treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
Colloidal silver is a natural solution with traces of pure antimicrobial silver. Medical practitioners have been using this solution as a germ-fighting agent for managing all sorts of bacterial, fungal, and viral conditions affecting the eyes, lungs, throat, skin, and stomach.
It works efficiently in managing dog eye infections. Its microbial effect will eliminate the disease causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi in your dog’s eyes. In addition, this solution will subdue irritation.
4. Use OTC antihistamines to treat allergies
If you suspect your dog’s eye infection is a result of allergies, you have just one sure-fire treatment—over-the-counter dog antihistamines. These medications block the creation of histamines, the chemical substance that triggers an allergic flare-up.
As a result, the medications will reduce inflammation, redness, squinting, itchiness, and other allergic discomforts almost immediately. Many antihistamines are generally safe to use without a vet’s supervision.
However, if you are using antihistamines for the first time, watch out for the rare aftereffects like seizures, urinary retention, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any of the alarming effects, stop treatment and check with your vet.
5. Use Chamomile tea rinse to treat conjunctivitis
Chamomile works magic in treating mild cases of bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. In fact, ancient human beings used this herb to cure the human version of conjunctivitis and other eye ailments.
It is rich in anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-irritant compounds. These compounds are known to cure mild conjunctivitis, as well as other viral, fungal, and bacterial eye infections.
To make a chamomile tea eyewash, add two tablespoons of dried flowers or one teabag of Chamomile to a cup of boiling water. Cover for ten minutes before straining the liquid into a sterile container.
Apply the chamomile herbal eyewash twice daily until signs of infection are gone.
As an alternative to Chamomile, you can use other herbal remedies like Calendula, Eye Bright, golden seal, St. Johns Wort, and Red Clover to make an herbal treatment for dog eye infection.
6. Use aloe vera gel for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
If Fido has signs of a bacterial, viral, and fungal infection, aloe vera will help clear the infection. This herb is rich in natural antimicrobial compounds that can cure conjunctivitis and minor corneal abrasions associated with dry eye.
While you can use the natural aloe vera leaf to treat Fido’s eye infection, we propose that you get a pure, store-bought aloe vera gel. Apply two drops of the gel directly to the eye area to treat the infection.
As an alternative, soak cotton or a thin piece of cloth in the aloe gel, and then stick it over your dog’s infected eye for some minutes.
7. Use hot water compresses to treat pain and mild inflammation
Supposing Fido has caught an eye infection abruptly, and yet you don’t have a non-medicated saline solution, chamomile tea bags, aloe vera gel, antihistamines, or any other remedy close by, do not panic.
Use warm water to treat the infected eye. The warmth will ease pain, alleviate inflammation, clear discharge, as well as soften any crust on the surface of your canine’s eyes.
Wet some cloth with warm water (the temperature should be tolerable for you as well) and hold it on your dog’s infected eye for a few minutes. You may need to apply the warm water compresses several times a day to cure Fido’s eyes.
8. Trim the hair around the dog’s eyes to accelerate healing
Excess hair around your dog’s eyes can cause and worsen your dog’s eye infection. How? The hair holds allergens, irritants, and germs. Also, the hair creates a favourable habitat for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other disease-causing microbes.
As such, trimming overgrown hair around your dog’s eyes will improve healing, as well as prevent a reinfection. Without the hair, the discharge from infected eyes will drain easily to prevent contamination around the infected eye(s).
Nonetheless, you should be careful not to shave the hair too close because that can irritate the skin even more.
9. Treat bacterial infections with OTC antibiotics
For bacterial-related eye infections, over-the-counter eye drops, and ointments would be ideal. Unlike home remedies, the antibacterial eye ointment or drops go through a science-based formulation procedure. Therefore, you won’t have to resort to trial and error in treating your dog’s eyes.
In addition, the antibiotics will act first to clear up your dog’s eye infection, thereby minimizing suffering from light sensitivity, pain, itching, and inflammation.
Like any medication, you should use antibiotics carefully to increase chances of quick recovery, while minimizing those of a reoccurrence of the eye infection. As a rule of thumb, watch out for side effects, and see your vet just in case you feel something is amiss.
10. Use Apple cider vinegar to treat conjunctivitis and injuries
Apple cider vinegar is rich in malic acid, a natural antibiotic that can cure bacterial conjunctivitis after just a few applications. In addition, vinegar’s malic acid can accelerate the healing of injured eyes.
Undiluted apple cider vinegar can sting and irritate Fido’s infected eyes. Therefore, before you apply it to your dog’s eyes, make sure you dilute it. You may also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to make your antibiotic eyewash.
After making your apple cider vinegar wash, soak a cotton ball or gauze pad in the antiseptic wash, and then place it over your dog’s eyes for at least five minutes, twice a day, until the infection clears.
11. Use ophthalmic steroids for dogs
Ophthalmic steroids are a special formula that decreases inflammation, swelling, and pain from chronic dry eyes, and ocular surface diseases like corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, iritis, uveitis, and dry eye syndrome.
Ophthalmic steroids are typically applied as eye drops or gels in or around your dog’s infected eyes. They are effective, and they offer quick relief. You can get your ophthalmic steroids over the counter.
Treatment for dog eye infections shouldn’t be stressful. There are numerous effective treatments for the infections, you just have to use one that you’re comfortable with. For instance, you can use over-the-counter medications to treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
If you don’t like over the counter medicines, treat the infections using homemade remedies like saline water, chamomile herbal rinse, and aloe vera gel. Whichever treatment you pick, be sure to check with your vet if the infection keeps getting worse instead of clearing off.