When the whites of the eye become infected or inflamed it’s known as pink eye, also called conjunctivitis.
So … can dogs get pink eye?
Yes, they can. It’s similar to pink eye in humans, and is known as canine infectious conjunctivitis.
Pink Eye In Dogs
Conjunctivitis in dogs, or canine pink eye, is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.
Causes Of Pink Eye In Dogs
Pink eye in dogs can be caused by a variety of bacterial and viral infections. Some of the most common causes of pink eye in dogs include:
- Bacterial infections such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and E. coli
- Viral infections such as canine distemper, canine adenovirus, and canine influenza
- Allergies to things like pollen, dust, and mold
- A foreign object, dirt or debris in the eye
- Trauma including injuries, scratches or punctures to the eye
- Underlying health conditions such as autoimmune disorders or cancer
Can Dogs Get Pink Eye From Other Dogs?
Yes, dogs can get pink eye from other dogs. Conjunctivitis is very contagious and it can also spread among dogs and other pets, including cats. The bacteria and viruses that cause canine pink eye can be transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs or through contact with contaminated objects such as toys or water bowls.
Dogs who spend time in crowded areas such as boarding kennels, dog parks or animal shelters are more at risk of contracting infectious conjunctivitis from other dogs.
Can Dogs Get Pink Eye From Humans?
Pink eye is very contagious among humans as there’s a lot of hand and eye touching, especially among children, that can spread the bacteria to surfaces and other people. And dogs can get pink eye from humans if they come into contact with the bacteria-infected discharge.
If you suspect your dog may have pink eye, it’s important to keep his living areas clean and to limit his contact with other dogs to help prevent the spread of infection.
Symptoms Of Pink Eye In Dogs
The symptoms of pink eye in dogs can vary depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms of pink eye in dogs include:
- Redness and swelling of the eye
- Clear or green discharge or mucus from the eye
- Watery eyes
- Itching or discomfort in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Squinting or frequent blinking
- Rubbing or pawing at the eye
- Crusty or sticky discharge around the eye
- Cloudy or hazy appearance of the eye
In more severe cases that are untreated, pink eye in dogs may also lead to corneal ulcers or other complications that can affect vision. Check with your vet if you’re not sure whether your dog has pink eye, so you don’t miss something more serious.
How Vets Diagnose Pink Eye In Dogs
Any time your dog has an eye issue, it’s important to treat it promptly to prevent complications and promote faster healing.
Veterinary diagnosis of pink eye in dogs involves a physical examination of your dog’s eyes to assess any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or other abnormalities. Depending on the severity of the infection, a culture and sensitivity test or a blood test might be needed to help identify the underlying cause and rule out other potential eye conditions.
Conventional Treatments For Pink Eye In Dogs
Conventional treatment for pink eye in dogs may involve suppressive topical or oral medications, antibiotics or even steroids. Antibiotics are best avoided as they will destroy beneficial bacteria as well as infectious bacteria and stress your dog’s immune system.
Managing pink eye in dogs may be as simple as doing an eye wash or removing the foreign object or allergen that’s causing the problem.
6 Natural Remedies For Pink Eye In Dogs
Natural remedies can help soothe your dog’s eyes and promote healing. With most eye issues, you can begin with a soothing compress to give your dog comfort. Here are some natural remedies:
- Warm Compress: Apply a warm compress to the affected eye to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Simply soak a clean cloth in warm water and place it over the eye for several minutes, several times a day.
- Saline Rinse: Rinse the affected eye with a saline solution to flush out any debris or discharge and promote healing. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of distilled water and use an eyedropper to apply several drops of the solution to the eye, several times a day. You can also use a store-bought saline solution for eyes.
- Chamomile Tea: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the eye and reduce inflammation. Steep a chamomile tea bag in hot water, allow it to cool, and strain carefully to remove any tea particles. Then use it as a warm compress on the affected eye.
- Quercetin: If it’s related to an allergy, a natural anthistamine like quercetin may help relieve pink eye symptoms.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can help promote healing. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the affected eye several times a day.
- Homeopathic Eye Drops: You can buy homeopathic eye drop blends with pink eye formulas that can help relieve pink eye.
Natural Antibiotics For Pink Eye In Dogs
There are some other natural remedies with antibacterial properties that may help to support healing and fight infection. These include:
Raw Manuka honey may help fight bacterial infections. Apply a small amount of raw honey to the affected eye several times a day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that may help to fight bacterial infections. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with 3 parts distilled water and add to a clean cloth and apply as a compress to the affected eye.
Caution: Never use apple cider vinegar in the eyes without diluting it, as it can sting and irritate the eye or open wounds.
Garlic has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to fight infection and reduce inflammation. Crush a garlic clove and mix it with an ounce of warm coconut oil. Then add the oil to a clean cloth and apply as a compress to the affected eye.
Many people swear by colloidal silver for eye infections. It has antimicrobial properties that can help to fight bacterial infections without irritation. However, be aware that like antibiotics, colloidal silver can disrupt beneficial bacteria as well as the infectious bacteria in the eyes. If you use it, apply a few drops with a dropper several times a day.
How Long Does Pink Eye Last?
How long pink eye in dogs lasts depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the infection. In some cases, pink eye can clear up on its own within a few days to a week, while in other cases, treatment may be necessary to help manage the infection and reduce the duration of symptoms. It’s important to monitor your dog’s symptoms and contact your veterinarian if they don’t improve or if new symptoms develop.