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A Total Guide to Eye Infections in Dogs

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A Total Guide to Eye Infections in Dogs
A Total Guide to Eye Infections in Dogs | Innovet Pet

Knowing what to look for when it comes to eye infections in dogs is something that pet parents sometimes have to be concerned with. After all, they are the windows to the soul and the method that they see what is in front of them. It helps them to see you. So, if there is a problem with their vision, it can be really concerning.

It is imperative for pet parents to understand what an eye infection in dogs looks like, what it means for their pet, and how to help them. Their eyes and their vision are crucial to their health and well-being and not taking proper care of eye infection can

carry some health risks. So, with that being said, let's get started on dog eye infections and the different types.

What Types of Dog Eye Infection Are There?

There are different types of dog eye infections that range from minor to severe. Many of these eye infections in dogs can be treated, and the damage can be minimal or none. Some are more severe and can cause temporary or long-term vision loss and even blindness. Not taking care of an eye infection in dogs right away is taking a risk on their long-term vision. So, it is essential for pet parents to get any suspected eye infections taken care of right away.

A visit to the vet will be in order if you think your dog might have an eye infection. They will be able to assess their vision and let you know if it is indeed an eye infection or some other issue.

Perhaps the most common type of eye infection in dogs is conjunctivitis. It is also better known as pink eye. That's right, pink eye is something that dogs can get too. Most people have had pink eye or known someone that has had it. Your pet can get pink eye as well.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is when the conjunctiva of the eye is inflamed. It comes from viral and bacterial infections. Sometimes, it originates from an allergen or toxin in the air that they have a reaction to. It is usually not considered a severe infection.

However, conjunctivitis in dogs will need to be handled right away so that it doesn't get worse. Treatment will be in order to get it to go away and so your pup will not scratch it. Continuous scratching can make it worse and more inflamed.

Treatment of Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) in Dogs

The treatment of pink eye (conjunctivitis) in dogs is antibiotics. These can be administered orally or into the eye itself. There are ointments that can be purchased to treat pink eye as well. Terramycin ointments are sold for oral and eye applications in dogs. They can be very helpful in getting rid of this annoying eye infection.

Sometimes, a veterinarian may recommend the use of allergy medication. This is if they feel that the eye infection in your dog was caused by allergies. Sometimes, minor infections don't require medicines at all. Compresses or saline solutions may work for curing their minor infection.

Dry Eye In Dogs

Dry eye in dogs is not technically an eye infection. However, dry eye in dogs can lead to an eye infection. It is caused by the tear ducts not producing enough tears. This can be caused by an autoimmune disorder or other health issues.

The reason dry eye in dogs is so concerning is that the tears that should be there to clean out irritants are simply not there. This means that they are not being cleaned out with tears the way they should and it can expose them to being at higher risk for infections.

It can also cause the eyes to become scratched or irritated. The tear ducts are not

coating the eye with the required tears to keep it lubricated. Thus, the lubrication needed in the eye is not there to protect it, and scratching and irritation can occur.

Dry Eye in Dogs Treatments

The treatment of dry eye in dogs will vary, depending on the severity. Sometimes, it requires long-term care and maintenance. This is usually when the dry eye is occurring due to an autoimmune disorder or an underlying health problem.

Minor cases of dry eye can usually be helped with synthetic tear drops. The veterinarian will prescribe these to pets and pet parents can apply them into the eye for quick relief. If there is an underlying health condition that is causing the dry eye, they may suggest antibiotic eye drops or a topical medication. Also, they may give medication for the underlying health problem that is causing the dry eye. This is

especially true if there is an autoimmune disorder or disease that is causing the dry eye in dogs.

Keratitis in Dogs (Corneal Infection)

Keratitis is the name of a corneal infection in dogs. Two types of keratitis in dogs exist. One type is from an infection that could be fungal, viral, or bacterial. The second type of keratitis in dogs is from injury to the eye, like scratching of the cornea. Each type can be dangerous to their vision and health, if not treated right away.

Treatment of Keratitis in Dogs

Keratitis in dogs treatment will vary on the type of keratitis. The veterinarian will prescribe an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, or antibiotic treatment.

The veterinarian will give instructions on when and how to apply the medication.

Following the instructions provided by the vet is essential. Dogs that have keratitis can often recover without a problem and not have any long-term vision or eye damage.

Types of Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma is a condition that dogs can get, just like humans. Many adults have glaucoma. Unfortunately, our pups can get glaucoma. It is not an infection of the eye. However, it can predispose a pet to get infections in the eye.

The first type of glaucoma in dogs is the primary glaucoma. Primary glaucoma usually affects dogs that are from breeds like beagles, basset hounds, and cocker spaniel. These breeds are genetically predisposed to primary glaucoma.

The second type of glaucoma in dogs is secondary glaucoma. This is when the glaucoma is caused by an eye infection, injury to the eye, or lens displacement.

Glaucoma in dogs can become painful. This is because of fluid building up in the eye. It can be very uncomfortable for a pup that has it. Unfortunately, it is a progressive

condition that is not curable. This is a condition in which regular vet visits are necessary.

Dog Eye Infection Symptoms

Dog eye infections have a high probability of resolving without long-term effects if the pet parent can catch it early. Knowing the symptoms of a dog eye infection can help in finding them as early as possible. Dog eye infection symptoms are squinting, small pupils, redness, constant blinking, light sensitivity, bulging eye, eye discharge, inflammation, and scratching of the eye area.

Dogs displaying these behaviors and symptoms should get evaluated right away. Pet parents that suspect an eye infection in dogs need to get them into their trusted vet immediately. Early detection and treatment are crucial in their successful recovery.

Dog Eye Boogers

It sounds funny, but dog eye boogers can be concerning. People get eye boogers too, and they can be quite uncomfortable. Some dogs are just more susceptible to getting eye boogers than others. Most of the time, they are not a big concern. However, if you notice discharge, it could be a problem. 

Eye discharge that is oddly colored or smells can be a sign of an infection. Certainly, it

is something that needs to be evaluated by your trusted vet. Pet parents can't always know what is wrong. After all, most people aren't trained animal doctors.

How Do I Distinguish Dog Eye Discharge?

First of all, you know your pet better than anyone. Some eye discharge is completely normal. This is because it is necessary to rid the eye of irritants and eye discharge is part of the process. However, seeing something different or concerning can be an alarm that something could be wrong.

Clear eye discharge

Typically means that it is unlikely to be an infection. It means that there is most likely an irritation occurring. Brown or red stains are common in breeds like poodles and are usually nothing to be concerned with. White or gray mucus often accompanies dry eye

in dogs. It can be disturbing and should be addressed. Green or yellow pus or blood oozing from the eye is indicative of a likely infection and will need to be evaluated. 

Dog Eye Infection Causes

A dog eye infection can vary in severity and type. Sometimes, a pet parent can tell exactly what is irritating an eye. It could be that your pet was outside and got visible dirt or allergens in the eye and you notice it right away. Other times, it can be very difficult to tell that a dog eye infection is occurring.

Common causes of eye infection in dogs are:

Autoimmune disease

  • Bacteria
  • Genetic disposition
  • Allergies
  • Toxins, allergens, and irritants
  • Dry eye, cherry eye, epiphora (excessive tearing), or Meibomian gland disease
  • Fungus
  • Defects of the eye glands and muscles
  • Parasites
  • Injury to the eye
  • Toxins
  • Tumor
  • Virus

Parasitic infections

Parasitic infections are particularly nasty. A pet parent may not know that there is a parasitic infection infesting their pet. Sometimes, there are no signs or symptoms at all. Unfortunately, some infections are present for a while before symptoms are obvious. This is when a visit to the vet is in order. They will have to evaluate the dog thoroughly to find out whether or not there is a parasitic infection.


Tumors can cause eye infections in dogs. A tumor can cause all types of symptoms that will vary in severity. Tumors in and around the eye can cause disturbances in the eye. Sometimes, the pupil may look smaller than usual. Fluid build-up can also be a sign of a tumor in the eye. Eye infections can occur when a dog has a tumor as they are not able to fight infections the way they normally would. It is rare for a pet parent to know that there is a tumor in the eye or near the eye. This is something that a veterinarian will find in an evaluation and may require x-rays or MRI scans to find. This is a case where a vet may recommend surgery. However, they may not. This will depend on the dog and the location of the tumor.


Injury to the eye is typically one of the most obvious to the pet parent. A scratched eye ball or cornea is sometimes apparent to the owner in sight and in behavior. For example, if the pet was playing and injured their eye, the pet parent would know it happened right then as they witnessed it themselves. Keeping an eye on an injury to the eye is the best thing for the pet parent to do. An evaluation at the vet is likely in order. They can prescribe any medications that your dog may need or give you a treatment plan that they feel would help your dog heal properly.

Allergens or irritants

Allergens or irritants are often quite noticeable to the pet parent. If your dog has irritated eyes after going outside, they are likely allergic to something in the air outdoors. If your dog suddenly has irritated eyes after you spray your favorite perfume or air freshener, then they are likely allergic to it. Just like in humans, dogs can be allergic to irritants in the environment around them. A good tip would be to only put your favorite perfumes on in a different room or to switch to a different one that doesn't irritate your dog's eyes. There are some great natural perfumes and air fresheners that may be easier for your pet's eyes to handle and the best thing that

you can do is experiment until you find one that doesn't cause an allergic response in your dog.

Treatments For Dog Eye Infections

Treatments for dog eye infections can vary on the type and severity. It could be a simple treatment, or it could be a more intensive treatment. A minor infection may only require compresses, eye drops, or ointments. More severe infections may require a combination of all of these things or prescription medications.

The veterinarian will be able to evaluate the dog's eyes and figure out the best course of action. In cases of underlying health issues causing the dog eye infection, they may take a different approach. It is important to always listen to their recommendations and administer any medications as prescribed. This is for the safety and well-being of your pet.

Very rarely, the vet may recommend surgery. This is for the more rare or serious conditions. It is important for pet parents not to panic if the vet recommends surgery. Staying calm is imperative for yourself and for your pet. Your pet may get anxiety if they notice that you are anxious about it. Also, remaining calm is good for your own health. After all, the vet would only recommend this if it would be beneficial to your

dog. Make sure to do as much research as you can and don't be shy about asking the veterinarian any questions that you have about the surgery.

Is There Anything Natural For Dog Eye Infections?

Pet parents looking for something natural for dog eye infections will be pleased to know that there are some out there. One of the best and most commonly used is a saline solution. Saline solution is something that some pet parents swear by to help with eye infections in dogs. They can be found at pet stores, online, or at grocery stores. It is important to follow instructions given and to monitor your pet for any adverse reactions. Most of the time, it is effective and simple to apply. There are also essential oils for dog eye infections. However, it is very important to be careful when giving a dog essential oils for pink eye or infections. It is recommended to speak with a vet before applying essential oils to dog's eyes. The wrong type of essential oil or too much can be devastating to their eyes. If you have given your dog essential oils for an eye infection and they have a bad reaction, it is imperative to get them to the vet as soon as possible for an emergency evaluation.

CBD Oil for Dogs | Innovet Pet

Another great natural product to give your dog with eye infections is CBD Oil For Dogs. CBD is a hemp-based organic product that is completely safe to give your pets. The type that is for dogs is specifically made for pets and has been tested thoroughly for safety and efficacy. There is no THC, and that means there is no "high" to concern yourself with. It is chemical-free and comes with many healing properties. CBD has been proven to help with anxiety, pain, inflammation, nausea, and more. It could really benefit your pet and is totally natural and side-effect free.

Pet parents that prefer organic options for themselves will be thrilled to know there are organic options for their pet. Giving them prescriptions with what seems to be a laundry list of side effects can be very disconcerting. This is a wise alternative for pet parents that have a dog dealing with eye infections or any other health issues. Many dogs will begin to show improvements soon after beginning to take CBD. Dogs can enjoy the same benefits that humans have from this organic product.


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