Plenty of things can cause an eye infection in dogs. Curing an eye infection is possible if treatment steps begin soon after the onset of the infection. A better solution is to use preventive measures to keep them from happening in the first place. Here are some things that cause an eye infection in dogs and ways to prevent them, followed by treatment options if your dog does get an infection.

Causes of Eye Infection in Dogs

bacteria and viruses cells

There are different ways that a dog can develop an eye infection. Some of the causes make the infections more severe than others. Certain causes are beyond your control, but there are preventive steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the probability of others. Understanding the potential causes of an eye infection in a dog will help you appreciate what steps you can take to prevent them from happening.

1. Viruses

Dogs can get a virus such as a distemper, herpes, hepatitis, or canine influenza that can make them highly susceptible to eye infections. The canine herpes virus is especially troublesome because it can be passed on to pups in a litter where it has a troubling mortality rate.

2. Bacteria and Parasites

There are multiple bacterial problems that dogs frequently encounter. Most of them cause either very minimal problems or issues that you will never notice. A few are more serious and can cause eye infections in dogs. Canine brucellosis can be particularly problematic because it is contagious.

Dogs who contract these bacteria should be isolated from other animals. Other types of bacterial illnesses are leptospirosis, ehrlichiosis, plus tick-related bacteria such as Lyme disease. All of these bacteria are dangerous to dogs as well as humans, and they can compromise a dog’s immunity to eye infections.

3. Fungal Infections

There are various types of fungus that animals can be exposed to, and some can create a higher risk for eye infections in dogs. Blastomycosis is a yeast-like fungus that is caused by a microscopic organism commonly found in decaying wood.

It can also live in the soil for many years where wood has rotted away. While Blastomycosis is most prevalently an issue with male dogs, females have also been diagnosed with the infection. Since the fungus can get on your dog’s paws or nose, they are easily transmitted to the eye area.

4. Environmental Irritation

Things that irritate your dog’s eye can come from a number of different places and are often hard to pinpoint. Certain shampoos can cause eye infections in dogs when they have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the shampoo. Always avoid using shampoo for people.

5. Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke is also a common cause of eye infections in dogs. Smoke permeates the air in the room at all levels but settles undetected to the floor area where most dogs live. Since second-hand smoke, causes the same health issues in dogs as it does to humans, you should try to avoid smoking in the same room as your pets. Dogs who live in smoke-filled tobacco homes are very prone to eye infections.

6. Foreign Objects

Dogs can get dirty, and if they are prone to shedding, hairs can easily get in their eyes. Dirt, grime, pollen and hair all attract a little moisture when they build up in your dog’s eye. The dirt itself may not be enough to set off an eye infection, but the combination is.

7. Trauma and Damage

Scratches or cuts on your dog’s eye can make them very susceptible to infections. Traumatic blows to the eye region can also cause eye infections in dogs.

Prevention of an Eye Infection in Dogs

a dog's eye, having an infection

#1. Shots and Immunizations

Follow your veterinarian’s schedule for all shots and vaccinations. Most of the viruses that cause eye infections in dogs are prevented with the proper immunization and shots. As part of your dog’s vaccination schedule, be sure to keep them on a regular tick and flea preventative.

#2. Proper Diet

Keep your dog on a strict, pet food only diet. While it might be nice to give dogs human treats, they can compromise their immune system making them more susceptible to all types of fungus and bacteria. Feed them only dog food and dog treats, adhering to a regular schedule.

#3. Cleanliness

Don’t bath your dog excessively, but keep them clean. Especially wipe around their face and eyes to help prevent eye infections. Wipe their eyes with a warm, damp washcloth when they’ve been exposed to a lot of dirt, or as a regular cleanup if they are prone to a lot of eye buildup.

Be extra attentive to clean your dog’s face and eyes if they have been out hiking in the woods. Wipe their paws also when you bring them home. This can help prevent fungus spores from being transported to the eye region. A clean eye and eye area are far less prone to being infected no matter what the cause.

#4. Environment

As mentioned, second-hand tobacco smoke is bad for animals, plus it can be an irritant that causes eye infections in dogs. Try to avoid smoking in the same room as your pets if possible. Also, be very mindful of the floor areas where they live. Vacuum floors regularly to limit the dirt and hair, plus keep all bedding areas as clean as possible.

Treatment of an Eye Infection in Dogs

a cute rottweiler puppy

Understanding the causes and all the best preventive measures may not be enough to keep your dog from getting an eye infection. If you see any signs of irritation, redness, or swelling begin to address the issue promptly. Do not wait to see if it goes away.

Wipe the area with a clean, warm damp cloth. You can rinse your dog’s eye with saline solution multiple times a day to clear away any mucus. Anything like dirt, mucus, or hair left in your dog’s eye, can compound the infection.

Once you notice an unusual redness, or abnormal discharge, set an appointment with a veterinarian. Allowing an eye infection in dogs to remain unattended can decidedly worsen the problem. Eye infections in dogs can lead to blindness or your dog’s eye being removed. Do not waste time trying home remedies.

Be mindful that eye infections in dogs can be caused by a number of things. Even if you do everything you can to try to prevent an infection, they can still happen. Practice sound prevention and if your dog does get an eye infection seek the consultation of a veterinarian.

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Recover from an Eye Infection?

When your dog has an eye infection, it is important to monitor your dog frequently to track recovery. For minor infection, monitor your dog during the first few days and observe any differences. If there are negative changes, consult your vet. If the inspection does not heal, seek the advice of your veterinarian. The deeper the injury or infection in the eye, the greater chance of loss of vision. The time for recovery from an infection will depend on the severity of the infection.

How Can I Treat My Dogs Eye Infection at Home?

Dog eye infection can be dangerous when left untreated. It can trigger discomfort and pain to your canine and even pose a danger of permanent damage on the eyes. In severe cases, an eye infection can cause blindness and even spread to other body parts such as the brain. There are various treatments for an eye infection. Below are some of the best home remedies to help your furry friend.

Saline Rinse

One of the best natural home remedies for dog eye infection is a saline solution. This remedy is also great for conjunctivitis. It is particularly beneficial for eye infections caused by irritants and allergens as it aids in flushing out the allergens from the infected eye. Performing a saline rinse is one of the first remedies you can give to your dog as soon as you observe an eye infection. The effectiveness of this remedy in clearing out infection will depend upon the proper usage.

Chamomile Tea Herbal Remedy

The use of chamomile tea as a homemade remedy is one of the simplest and effective ways of treating an eye infection. This herb is particularly recognized for its anti-irritant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

How Do You Clean Around a Dog’s Eye?

Keeping your dog’s eyes clean is very important. It is a task that must be rendered carefully because eyes are sensitive. The first thing to do is make sure that this gunk is not brought about by a medical issue.

It is true that dogs have excessive discharges around their eyes, but it can likewise be an indication of a more serious problem. Some of the tell-tale signs that your furry friend has an eye infection and other serious complications are inflammation, cloudiness, and redness. The presence of these symptoms suggests that you should not attempt cleaning your dog’s eyes until your veterinarian provides an appropriate treatment plan.  

If there is debris or dirt in the dog’s eye, flushing it out using an eyewash helps. Do not attempt to take the Visine. Take into account the dog’s comfort and safety by buying an eyewash for your dog alone. EyeClens is a dog-friendly solution accessible at various pet stores.

The most effective way of using the eyewash is by placing the bottle near the dog’s eye and squeeze it gently. The bottle should be in a downward angle so that the gravity helps in clearing out the debris. Because this procedure can be stressful for your canine, a good treat can help ease the stress.

If your dog dislikes anyone cleaning or touching their eyes, there are various products including treats that have calming ingredients that can be of help to remedy such situations. Products with calming scent range from diffusers and sprays to scented collars and a calming jacket.

If your furry friend is quite the aggressive type when it comes to cleaning their eyes, get help from a muzzle usage. Another way to deal with aggressive dogs is to get the service of a groomer to help in cleaning their eyes. Groomers have a customized table that aids in holding your canines in place to avoid hurting them with a scissor when they start wiggling.  

The same concept can be applied at home. Place the leash on your dog’s collar and tie the leash to a door near a place where their movement is limited. Extra caution is needed when performing this procedure. The leash should not be too short or taunt that the dogs become uncomfortable.

If the dog has tear stains, an ongoing treatment is required. Nevertheless, if you simply need to keep the eyes of your dog free from gunk, there are various ways to decrease the danger of eye irritation.

  1. Refrain from bringing your pet on a lawn when mowing, or doing activities such as dusting that bring about excessive particles or debris in the air.
  2. Avoid letting your furry friend hang his head outside the car window. While this looks cute, the wind can transmit objects that could cause damage or serious infection.  
  3. Keep your dog away from household chemicals or places where you keep the household chemicals, such as in a cabinet or on a shelf, and avoid bringing your dog in places where there are toxic cleaners, including ammonia and bleach.
  4. Cut your dog’s fur if it already reaches his eyes. Seek the help of a professional groomer if you are not comfortable trimming your pet’s fur on your own.
  5. Cleaning the eye is a simple procedure and there is no specific time as to how frequent it should be rendered. Monitor your dog as well as his behavior and clean his eyes when needed.


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