Dog Eye Infections & At-Home Treatments

Posted by Dr. Roth on

Dog laying down, dog eye infections and at-home treatments

Dog eye infections are a common issue. What’s more, the symptoms are often similar to other eye-related problems such as allergies, eye injuries, and irritation. Fortunately, there are plenty of at-home treatments for dog eye infections that pet parents can use to help ease symptoms and prevent the development of future infections. 

Dog Eye Infection Cause‌s

Infections typically occur as a result of either bacteria or viruses. Bacterial infections are more common. Dog eyes are generally good at self-cleaning, but issues such as trauma and injuries can allow the bacteria to get inside and grow. Pet parents should monitor their dog’s eyes if they experienced trauma, like a scratch on the cornea. Bacteria may also get in the eye if fur or an eyelash gets stuck under the eyelid. 

Viral eye infections are rarer, usually occurring as a result of distemper. Pet parents generally don’t need to worry about distemper if they stick to their dog’s vaccination schedule. However, a viral eye infection can lead to a bacterial infection. 

Signs of a Dog Eye Infection

Several symptoms can point toward a dog eye infection:

  • Redness in dog eyes
  • Swollen dog eyes
  • Dog behavior such as frequent scratching or pawing at the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Discharge from dog eyes

The Type of Discharge Matters

The quality of the discharge from a dog’s eyes can give pet parents an indication of what might be wrong. If it’s clear or brownish, and consists of normal tear material, it’s likely less severe. However, green or yellow eye discharge can indicate a bacterial or viral eye infection. Swelling around the eyes or of the third eyelid may indicate something more serious, as can cloudiness or divots in the eyes.   

At-Home Treatments for a Dog Eye Infection

There are a few things a pet parent can do to help treat dog eye issues at home. If the discharge is clear or brownish, a saline rinse may be enough to remove the irritant from the eyes. A warm, moist towel can also help remove discharge and clean the eye. Putting a cone around the dog’s neck can prevent scratching and further irritation.

Pet parents can also take preventative measures to avoid eye infections. For instance, long-haired dogs may benefit from keeping the fur around their eyes trimmed regularly. Pet parents who take their dog hiking, biking, or on other outdoor adventures may also consider outfitting their dog with dog goggles to keep dirt and debris out of the eyes. 

When to Call a Vet

Yellow or green discharge can indicate an actual eye infection. If that’s the case, antibiotics are the best course of action. Even if the discharge is clear at first, pet parents should monitor their dogs for any changes. If the symptoms worsen, they should contact their primary vet for diagnosis and get answers to their dog medical questions right away. 

If pet parents are unsure of what to do, they can also consult with an online vet. With Fuzzy's 24/7 Vet Chat, they have access to qualified vets, where they can get answers to all of their dog health questions no matter what time of day or night. Online vets can address dog questions and concerns and provide quality dog advice, helping the pet parents take the appropriate next steps to protect their dog’s eye (and overall) health. 

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