Conjunctivitis in Dogs, How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Conjunctivitis in dogs, Red eye is a most common symptom
Conjunctivitis in dogs

Conjunctivitis in dogs also known as pink eye or canine conjunctivitis is one of the common problems that affect dogs and cats. Canine conjunctivitis can affect any breed of dogs at any age independently, due to respiratory or other eye problems. While usually, only one eye would be affected, pink eye can spread to both eyes. Below is more info on conjunctivitis in dogs with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

  • What causes conjunctivitis in dogs?
  • Is conjunctivitis contagious in dogs?
  • Can Dogs Get Conjunctivitis from Humans?
  • Will conjunctivitis in dogs go away by itself?

Conjunctivitis in Dogs

What is canine conjunctivitis? According to, It is the inflammation of the tissues that cover the inner eye (eye whites) medically known as the conjunctiva. This is the protective tissue that protects and prevents dirt, dust and other foreign material from getting into your dog’s eyes. While this condition is not life threatening, it is important to get proper medical attention as soon you suspect dog conjunctivitis. Mild cases can comfortably be treated at home. However, in cases of an imminent infection or presence of a structural abnormality, your eye vet should be in a better position to make a proper diagnosis and offer the best course of management.

Conjunctivitis in dogs, Red eye is a most common symptom
Conjunctivitis in dogs

There are many other eye conditions that are likely to present the same way as conjunctivitis in dogs; from mild eye problems to severe ones, such as cherry eye, that require urgent attention.

This makes it necessary to have your dog checked out and a proper diagnosis made. Conjunctivitis is quite easy to treat and once detected it can be treated with fast improvement. It can be unilateral or bilateral.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Conjunctivitis on dogs usually presents as redness, swelling and fluid accumulation in the eye. It will be seen as bloodshot red or pinkish red hence the name ‘pink eye’. Among the first signs, you are likely to see is a change in the appearance of the eye and behavior. Your dog is likely to be irritation and may continually paw or scratch on the eyes. Since conjunctivitis is caused by different factors, it may present differently with one or two of the following symptoms;

  • Redness or bloodshot eyes
  • Squinting or blinking
  • Unusual pawing or scratching of the eyes
  • Eye discharge: clear, mucoid or purulent
  • Swelling
  • Pain to touch
  • Eyelids that are stuck together
  • May be accompanied with nasal discharge, sneezing or coughing

What Causes Conjunctivitis in Dogs

What causes conjunctivitis for dogs? There are a number of possible causes- while none of these are life-threatening, it is important to visit the vet as soon as possible to avoid complications which may be a little harder to treat. Here is a list of some of the possible causes of pink eye in dogs:

Pink Eye in Dogs
Pink Eye in Dogs
  • Allergies
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Chemical irritants such as dust and smoke
  • Breed
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • Trauma to the eye or presence of a foreign body
  • Glaucoma
  • Structural abnormalities of the eye

Allergic Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens such as dust mites, mold, dander, pollen, drugs, and perfumes. This type is often seasonal and not contagious. Treatment includes the use of artificial tears, antihistamines, steroids, NSAID’s and cold compresses. It is often accompanied by a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis usually improves once the allergy is removed.

Follicular Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Follicular conjunctivitis is very common in dogs. This happens when foreign material gets into the dog’s eye. A group of cells forms around it leading to the formation of a follicle. This results in irritation of the conjunctiva making it appear red or pink. The eyelid appears swollen and teary.

The dog will keep scratching and pawing at his eye to calm the irritation. Gently splashing the eye with saline washes to dislodge the foreign object and get rid of the follicle. Consult a vet if the symptoms persist.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Primarily caused by bacteria, this type of canine conjunctivitis can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. The common types of bacteria involved are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. Bacteria conjunctivitis in dogs is very contagious and can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms include thick eye discharge or pus. Treatment involves the use of antibiotic eye drops or ointments.

Allergic conjunctivitis is seasonal
Allergic conjunctivitis is seasonal

Serious pink eye is a form of dog canine conjunctivitis also known as dry eye. This happens when there is an inefficient production of tears. It is commonly caused by dry weather, constant blowing wind, and irritants such as smoke or dust. The dryness is quickly followed by inflammation, change of eye color and a clear watery discharge.

Conjunctivitis in Dogs Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs depend on the cause. Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are different from those of the bacterial type making the treatments and modes of approach for every type different. Generally, they include:

Eye redness, watery eyes, feeling of grit in your eyes, burning sensation and sticky discharge that coats the eyes. The symptoms may affect one or both eyes.

How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Treatment of conjunctivitis in dogs is entirely dependent on the cause. This may include removal of the allergen, administration of antibiotics, use of over the counter eye drops or antihistamines.

While viral conjunctivitis in dogs usually clears up after running a course of 5 -7 days. This duration might be a little longer in dogs with upper respiratory infections. You can, however, use medications that help ease up the symptoms such as artificial tears.

Bacterial conjunctivitis, on the other hand, requires prompt attention. Just like any other eye infections, if left untreated, the bacterial pink eye could cause serious damages. This type is best treated by a veterinarian with the correct dose of antibiotic eye drops or ointments.

Treating allergic conjunctivitis at home is however easy as the symptoms will usually go down once the allergen or irritant is removed. NSAIDs and antihistamines can be used to relieve symptoms. It is recommended that you get to take note of the irritants that may trigger infection and get rid of them. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics in cases of both viral and bacterial antibiotics just to be sure.

You can also naturally relieve signs and symptoms with the use of home remedies as described below on conjunctivitis in dogs home treatment.

Home Remedies for Conjunctivitis in Dogs

There are some simple home remedies for conjunctivitis in dogs that can help to alleviate the symptoms of the condition. These though may not necessarily cure it since the elimination of the condition depends on what its cause is.

Tea Bags for Conjunctivitis in Dogs Home Treatment

Tea bags can be used to naturally relieve the signs and symptoms of canine conjunctivitis. This works well where your pet is suffering serious conjunctivitis, as the tannin found in it will help soothe and get rid of the watery discharge. Apply a warm moist tea bag on the affected eye and hold it on for at least five minutes.

Saline Solution for Dog Conjunctivitis

Sterile saline solution for dog pink eye
Sterile saline solution for dog pink eye

A saline solution is another way on how to treat dog conjunctivitis at home. With this, a sterile saline solution that is without disinfectants is recommended. This conjunctivitis in dogs home treatment will help to relieve the symptoms and soothe any irritation on the eye.

How to Treat Pink Eye at Home with Vinegar

Vinegar for conjunctivitis in dogs is yet another one of the commonly used natural remedies. Some people have registered success while using it for pink eye treatment. You can achieve this as well by adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the dog’s water bowl or by rubbing some vinegar on the neck of the pet.

Colloidal Silver to Get Rid of Canine Pink Eye

Colloidal silver is a must-have in your pet’s first aid kit. It is one

Colloidal silver for canine pink eye
Colloidal silver for canine pink eye

of the most powerful conjunctivitis in dogs treatment at home. With its antibiotic elements, it easily clears up infections naturally. Use it to treat dog conjunctivitis by administering two or three drops of colloidal silver water. Do this up to three times a day.

In addition to the above natural remedies for conjunctivitis, there also are homeopathic herbal remedies for dog conjunctivitis. Some of these that have been known to alleviate the symptoms include Pulsatilla, Euphrasia, Sanicula, and Aconite. These products are readily available in health stores near you.

Is Conjunctivitis Contagious in Dogs

Is conjunctivitis in dogs contagious? Conjunctivitis is a very common condition that affects animals and humans alike. Most handlers seek to find out whether or not conjunctivitis in dogs is contagious. Here are some of the frequently asked questions: Is conjunctivitis contagious to humans? Can dogs get pink eye from humans? While the answer to all these questions is yes, the determinant still remains to be the causative agent. The type of pink eye that your dog, other dogs or people around your dog have mattered. Bacterial and viral pink eye is highly contagious. The microorganisms can be passed on from one dog to another or from dog to human via contact with body parts or fluids. This also applies in cases of cross-contamination from cats and other pets around the home.

While cross-contamination is rare, it is always good to practice safety measures such as cleaning eyes after handling an infected dog.

Pictures of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Conjunctivitis in dogs is easily identifiable with specific symptoms. Here are some pictures to help you easily identify this eye condition

Conjunctivitis may or not be contagious to other dogs
Conjunctivitis may or not be contagious to other dogs
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to conjunctivitis
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to conjunctivitis