Eye infections in dogs often appear unexpectedly. In some cases, it can be challenging to spot this condition since the symptoms are similar to allergies, irritation, and injuries. Dogs are prone to eye infections regardless of their age, but it is more common in puppies.
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In most cases, a dog's eye infection will affect the eye's outer membranes. However, when the inner structures of the eyes are affected, the dog will suffer from conjunctivitis (pink eye). Once occurred, it is vital to know how to clean a dog’s eye infection.
Diagnosing Eye Infection in a Dog
The most common infections of the eye are caused by viruses and bacteria. The diagnosis of this condition is not complicated, and the vet will quickly make it based on the appearance of the red, itchy, and swollen eye with some discharge.
After the detailed examination of the structure of the dog’s eye with an ophthalmoscope, the vet can exclude foreign objects or tumors as the cause. Only after accurate diagnosis of eye infection, the vet will prescribe an adequate therapy.
Treating an Eye Infection in a Dog
Treatment for a dog's eye infection means not only directly treating the eye with medications but also comes with several adjustments you'll have to make for the dog.
Taking vet prescribed eye ointment or eye drop antibiotics will help in treating the eye infection. The dog will feel better in two days when treatment is applied at least three to four times a day. In some cases, oral antibiotics taken with food can be the best solution.
2. Dietary Supplements
Supplements boost body immunity, which may prevent or help in treating eye infection. Most local pet food stores offer many brands, but the best supplements for a dog's eye health contain vitamins A and C and bioflavonoids. Supplements with fewer ingredients are always a better choice because too many of them may cause adverse reactions.
3. Elizabethan Collar (Cone)
It could be dangerous to allow the dog rub the infected eye with a paw, or at the very least, the dog might remove some of the medication. Using an Elizabethan collar (cone of shame) or an inflatable collar is a necessary measure to protect your dog from scratching and further damaging the eye.
4. Loosen the Collar
It sounds weird, but a too-tight dog collar can be a reason for an eye infection since it causes a build-up of fluids in it. Studies have shown that especially with pulling dogs wearing a collar (instead of a harness), eye problems are more common.
5. Clean Environment
Keeping the dog away from the dusty areas will protect the infected eye and help in healing. Any other areas with debris that can get into your dog's eye should also be avoided.
6. Trimming Fur Around the Dog's Eyes
Some dog breeds have excess fur around eyes, which increases their chances of catching the eye infection. Regular trimming with a blunt-nosed scissor may help to reduce problems.
While it's possible to do this yourself (as demonstrated in the above link), generally most owners should avoid doing this job by themselves. To prevent any possible injuries, taking the dog to the vet or professional groomer is recommended.
7. Protecting the Dog's Eyes
8. Preventing Eye Irritation and Injuries
Never allow the dog to stick its head out of the vehicle window while driving. That is an excellent way to prevent eye irritation or scratching the cornea after tiny particles get into them.
Cleaning a Dog's Infected Eye at Home
To actually clean your dog's eye with infection, a few home remedies and solutions can be used after you're vet has approved them. Below are some of the more popular ones.
1. Saline Solution
Once the eye infection occurs, the vet will prescribe eye drops as a therapy. Flushing the eye with the saline solution will reduce the problem when the condition is a result of an allergen or irritant. There are several finished drops on the market, but the owner can make them himself, as well.
The procedure is not complicated and includes dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of previously boiled water. After cooling it to room temperature, put a few drops of the solution into the eye with an eyedropper three to four times a day.
Another way is to soak a cotton ball into the mixture and apply it to and around the infected eye. It is a convenient way to remove discharge and debris from the fur around the infected eye. Do it from the inner to the outer corner of the eye.
However, this method is not recommended to use for cleaning the eye itself to avoid scratching and damaging the eyeball. There are a lot of other options to clean it successfully.
2. Chamomile Tea
Thanks to its healing properties, chamomile is an excellent choice to relieve an eye infection in dogs. Apply the cooled tea bag to the eyelid if the dog is cooperative until tea seeps into the eye corner.
Another way is to make chamomile tea. Boil chamomile in water and let it sit until cool to room temperature. Then, put two to three drops to the infected eye. Repeat the procedure at least twice a day until the infection passes.
3. Homemade Herbal Eye Rinse
Pour at least ten drops of chamomile, calendula, red clover, St. John’s wort, and eyebright herb in a cup. Then, add a teaspoon of salt and fill the cup with purified water to the brim.
Use a cotton ball or dropper to rinse the eye twice or three times a day to reduce the irritation until the infection passes.
4. Lemon Juice
Make a solution of two tablespoons of boiled, then cooled water and add four to five drops of fresh lemon juice. Put two to three drops in the infected eye at least twice a day.
Before using this mixture, it is necessary to check if the dog suffers from conjunctivitis. In such a case, lemon juice won't help.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Make an eye-wash by cleaning the infected eye with a solution of four to five drops of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of previously boiled and then cooled water to room temperature. Apply it in the dog's eye two to three times a day to help it gets rid of the mild eye infection.
6. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel reduces inflammation by acting as a moisturizer and can prevent the future and reduce existing infections. Apply it in the eye and around it a few times a day until improvement occurs.
7. Colloidal Silver
Applying a few drops of this liquid unto the eye will rinse it out without causing any injuries. Colloidal silver is available in most pet supply stores, pharmacies, and online.
Once the vet confirms your dog's eye infection, you should start with adequate treatment. In most cases, homemade remedies will help to reduce irritation but your veterinarian needs to approve them first. However, if the dog suffers from bacterial eye infection, therapy with antibiotics is necessary to solve the issue.