Can Dogs get Pink Eye from Humans, Symptoms and Treatment

Pink eye in dogs affects thewhite part of the eye
As seen in this image, dog pink eye is most evident on the white part of the eye

Can dogs get pink eye? This is a common question when people notice symptoms that resemble human conjunctivitis. Most owners will also go ahead and ask questions concerning its communicability. Is it contagious to cats, human beings, and other animals and can human pink eye be contagious to dogs? We explore the answers to these questions as well as the symptoms and treatments.

Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Can dogs get pink eye? Pink eye in dogs is also known as conjunctivitis and at times referred to as red-eye. This is an ocular health condition which occurs when the eye’s conjunctiva gets inflamed. The conjunctiva serves as a lining covering the eyeball on its white part. It also covers the inside of the eyelid known as the third eyelid.

When fully functional, the conjunctiva helps to keep the eyes well lubricated. Where this does not happen, the eye may feel dry and irritated. This condition may occur on its own or as a result of other conditions. In most cases, conjunctivitis in dogs only affects one eye. This though can spread over to both eyes.

With this background, is it possible for your dog to catch the pink eye? It is possible for this to happen. In fact, claims that this dog eye problem is common in dogs as it is in human beings. The infection is more common in dog breeds that have large bulging eyes. This is caused by the fact that they easily get their eyelashes and hair in the eyes. There are different types of pink eye that your dog is prone to.

Follicular Pink Eye

Follicular conjunctivitis occurs when something foreign gets into the dog’s eye and a group of cells form around it leading to the formation of a follicle. This results in the irritation of the conjunctiva causing it to turn red or pink. The eyelid will also appear swollen and the eyes become tearier. To soothe the irritation, the dog may keep rubbing its paw on the eye. In many cases, a saline eye wash or eye drops will help the foreign object to dislodge itself and the follicle to go away. If symptoms persist, a trip to the veterinarian may be required.

Serious Pink Eye

This form of conjunctivitis is also known as dry eye. It is the most common in dogs and occurs where the tear ducts in the dog’s eyes are inefficient in the provision of lubrication in the eye. The main causes for this are dust, smoke, irritants, allergens and a constant cold or dry weather. Once the dryness manifests itself, the eye gets inflamed and is pink. These symptoms are accompanied by a clear watery discharge.

Purulent Pink Eye

With this one, it is an advanced stage of the types discussed above. It occurs when a serious pink eye goes untreated. When this happens, the condition gets nasty. The infection gets complicated and instead of a watery discharge that is clear, the dog discharges pus and mucus from the eye. When a dog has the pink eye of this nature, it could cause blindness if left untreated.

Neonatal Pink Eye

This one is a bacterial type of eye infection and affects newborn puppies hence the name. When puppies are born, their eyes do not open up for a few days. The environment in which the puppies are greatly affected how the eyes turn out. If the surrounding is not cleaned up and tended to well enough, the eyes will catch infections from being surrounded by bacteria.

Neonatal Pink Eye common in puppies
Neonatal pink eye in puppies could cause blindness

When the infections set in, their eyelids will swell and their eyes will bulge. The condition may get so bad that the eyes fail to open up at all. This will, in the end, lead to blindness. Seek treatment from a veterinarian immediately you notice any symptoms to protect the puppy.

Can Dogs get Pink Eye from Humans, Cats, Cattle and other Dogs?

When it comes to the passing on of pink eye, dog owners ask a number of questions surrounding the extent to which the condition is contagious. Some of these questions include

  • Is human pink eye contagious to dogs?
  • Can dogs get pink eye from humans, cattle, and other dogs?
  • Can I give my dog pink eye?
  • Can I get pink eye from my dog?

To answer these a clear understanding of the various types of pink eye discussed above is necessary. According to, only eye infections resulting from bacteria and viruses are communicable. The severity of contagiousness will be determined by the bacterial and viral strain.

Since eye infections such as pink eye are mostly passed through eye fluids, it is possible to give a dog and other pets a pink eye. It is possible for it to be passed amongst animals as well. How does this happen? In most cases, pink eye in human beings comes with eye rubbing. In case you do this and fail to wash your hands, everything you will touch becomes contaminated. As such, if you go and touch a dog there is potential for it to get infected.

To avoid this, ensure that you wash your hands before handling pets in case you are infected. Also, wash your hands after handling a dog with a pink eye. This will help you avoid spreading it to other humans yourself included and other pets as well as other animals. It will also help prevent humans from getting pink eye from animals.

Dog Pink Eye Symptoms and Treatment

Dog pink eye symptoms are most obvious. To begin with, you will notice the white part of the eye becoming pink or red. With time the dog will get a pink eyelid which may keep swelling. Also present will be some form of discharge from the eyes. Mild cases of pink eye will have clear liquids while severe cases will take colored hues. These could be in the form of yellow or green eye discharge.

A dog with pink eye will also tend to rub its eyes with the paws as well as blink repeatedly. Other symptoms include squinting, keeping eyes closed, inflammation, puffy eyelids, red eyes, and crusty eyes. Before seeking treatment for the dog, it is always important to know the cause. This way, the right treatment is administered.

Dog Pink Eye Treatment

A dog’s pink eye treatment is dependent on the cause. Treatment may include removal of the irritant or allergens, giving antihistamines, treatment with over the counter medication such as polysporin eye drops, administration of antibiotics or using home remedies.

With an allergic pink eye, treatment includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, antihistamines, and eye drops may help ease the condition. Also, learn what allergens are triggering the infection and try to get rid of them.

Where the dog is suffering viral conjunctivitis, there is no cure and the condition simply goes away on its own. The duration it takes for this to happen is a bit long. It could take up to three weeks before it clears. This is likely to occur in dogs that are experiencing upper respiratory infections. Treatments to help ease the symptoms of dog pink eye include artificial tears and steroid eye drops to help ease the symptoms. Bacterial dog pink eye treatment, on the other hand, can be cured using antibiotic eye drops or ointment.

With all the types, there are some home remedies that can be of great use. Cold compresses can be used to help ease the swelling. Ensure that there is a compress for each eye. This will help to avoid contamination. Others include chamomile tea wash and aloe vera extract.

How to Administer Eye Drops and Ointments for Dog Pink Eye

Where the form of treatment being used is eye drops or eye ointments, follow the following procedure to administer it for maximum benefits.

  1. With the eye drops close at hand, clean up any discharge around the eyes using warm water and a cotton ball. In case both eyes are affected, use different cotton balls for each and dispose of after use.
  2. Tilt the head of your dog to the back and rest the hand holding the dropper on its head to ensure you do not hit the dog if it moves its head. Let the other hand hold onto the lower side of the eye and squeeze the required amount of drops into the eye.

    Administering eyedrops for dog pink eye
    Positioning yourself to administer eye drops or ointment for pink eye
  3. In case of ointment, ensure that you pull the lower eyelid before applying so that it creates a pocket where the medication will fall. Follow this up by squeezing a reasonably sized ribbon into the eye and pinching it closed so that it spreads all around and gets absorbed evenly.

Is Dog Pink Eye Contagious?

Most animals suffer pink eye at some point in their life. For some the infection is random and in others, it occurs at specific times. With this being the case, is dog pink eye contagious? Can dogs pass it on to other dogs, cats, and other animals? Is the condition contagious to humans? The answer to these questions is that the pink eye may or may not be contagious. The determining factor is the causative agent.

The allergic pink eye tends to be seasonal and is not contagious. However, if the condition is bacterial or viral, the micro-organisms can be passed on from dog to dog or dog to human. These get transferred through contact with items or body parts contaminated with eye fluids. Although cross-contamination between dogs and humans is rare, always ensure that you clean your hands after handling an infected dog.

Photos of Pink Eye in Dogs

To help you identify this dog eye problem correctly, below are some pictures of conjunctivitis in dogs.

Pink eye in dogs affects thewhite part of the eye
As seen in this image, dog pink eye is most evident on the white part of the eye and comes with a discharge
Hairs in the eye can cause pink eye.
The presence of foreign objects in eyes, such as a hair strand, in this case, can cause follicular pink eye.