You needn’t worry if your dog has an eye infection because this is a common canine problem. While all dogs are susceptible to dog eye infections, puppies are more prone to infections than adult dogs. Although any dog may get dog eye infections, its dogs with drooping eyes or large skin folds around the eyes who are more susceptible.
Unfortunately, sometimes you may not even notice the infection because its symptoms appear only after some time. But it’s important the condition is treated because it not only leads to pain and discomfort in your dog, it can cause permanent eye damage spread to other body parts like brain if untreated.
Your veterinarian will prescribe some topical ointments and eye drops and perhaps even prescription medicine for the canine eye infection. However, there are also some home remedies that can help.
It’s usually bacterial or viral infections that trigger an eye infection. Sometimes contact with infected human hands, foreign substances and flying insects may trigger the infection. There’s also a chance of the eye infection getting triggered by food allergies or viruses in the air.
Thick, mucus-like discharge that’s greenish or yellowish in colour present in one or both eyes is its main symptom. The discharge may also be accompanied by other symptoms like red eyes, squinting, and consistent rubbing of the eyes with paws and partially or completely closed eyes.
- Salt or saline solution rinse
Saline solution rinse is the perfect home remedy, especially for those infections that are secondary to allergens and irritants. As the rinse flushes out the affected eyes, this is the first remedy you should try out if you notice an infection in your dog’s eyes.
Of course, this home remedy works only if done properly, where you first have to mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of boiled, and cooled water. Then mix until the salt dissolves.
Now soak a clean cotton ball in the solution and apply to your dog’s infected eyes. Wipe off any discharge, debris and irritants you find. Always carefully wipe the eyes from the corners outwards, and not touch his eyeballs. You don’t want to risk scratching the cornea while trying to treat the eye infection!
It’s also worth splashing the saline solution to your dog’s eyes and then wiping it clean. However do this gently because too much of pressure only leads to more eye damage. Repeat twice a day till your dog’s eyes heal.
- Homemade herbal eye rinse
This homemade eyewash is made by pouring 10 or more drops of chamomile, or red clover, calendula, eyebright or St. John’s wort, into a cup. Then add a cup of purified water and a teaspoon of salt to it.
Now rinse your dog’s eyes with this rinse, using a dropper or cotton ball, twice or thrice a day. This has to be repeated till the infection subsides. This reduces any irritation and inflammation your dog has, which in turn promotes its healing.
- Dietary supplements
Improving your dog’s body immunity helps in fighting, and preventing future eye infections. This is best achieved through dietary supplements containing bioflavonoids and vitamins A and C, available online or at your pet food store. It’s better to buy supplements with minimal ingredients because it reduces the chances of any reactions.
- Lemon juice
You can try mixing 2 tablespoons of boiled or distilled water with 4-5 drops of fresh lemon juice and use a clean cotton ball or dropper to drop 2-3 drops in each eye. Repeat 2-3 times a day for relief.
While lemon juice can help treat dog eye infections, it should be used only if you are sure your dog has an eye infection and not conjunctivitis. This is essential as lemon juice doesn’t help in treating conjunctivitis.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, especially the raw, unpasteurized version can help treat eye infections in dogs. Just pour 4-5 drops of it to a glass with 2 tablespoons of distilled, or boiled and cooled water. Mix and pour 2-3 drops of the solution to your dog’s eye 2-3 times a day.
- Chamomile tea
Chamomile is famous for its healing properties, which is how and why it can also treat your dog’s infected eye. You first have to make some chamomile tea by boiling some water and adding some chamomile tea or dropping a chamomile tea bag in it.
Let it steep for some time and then let it cool till slightly warm. Now put 2-3 drops of the tea to your dog’s eyes. You can use a Q-tip or clean cotton ball to clean your dog’s eyes surrounding areas with the remaining liquid.
Repeat this for about 2-3 times every day till the infection subsides. You can also apply the cooled down tea bag on your dog’s eyes a few times a day for additional relief.
When you have to consult your vet
While home remedies to help treat a canine eye infection, sometimes the infection may be severe and require medical intervention. It’s also not advised to treat your dog at home for more than three days, especially if there are no signs of relief. You also have to ensure your dog doesn’t frequently paw or scratch the infected eye as it can worsen the infection.
It’s also helpful if you can gauge the eye infection’s severity. Sometimes your dog may be squinting only because of some harmful particle in the eye, which a rinse easily clears. There’s also the possibility that your dog’s infection may be due to some internal trauma inflicted during his last week’s fight.
It’s, however, time to consult your vet if there’s blood or yellow pus oozing from the eyes. Even poor appetite, lethargy and even your dog finding it difficult to open his eyes or the cause of the infection being some trauma are all reasons that warrant an immediate visit to the vet. Remember, eye infections that don’t heal may indicate a tumour, or presence of some foreign particle in the eye.
So you basically have to watch your dog, gauge the severity of the infection. While you may experiment and get the infection treated with a home remedy, make sure it’s working. If there are no changes, then see your vet because negligence on your part can lead to serious future repercussions.