Dog Pink Eye : Diagnosis &
Natural Treatment

Dog pink eye, or “dog conjunctivitis” if you want to sound cool, affects the eye of the dog exactly the same as it does a human eye. It can be quite a bothersome and unsettling experience for your dog.

Fortunately, the symptoms are often easy to read which makes diagnosing and treating the affliction a much simpler and faster process.

Symptoms of Dog Pink Eye

Overall health and wellbeing of a dog's body are mirrored in the eyes. So when the eyes are suffering from infections, it is very important that the root of the issue is discovered and treated along with the eye infection itself. 

dog pink eye

And don’t be fooled!  

Many of the symptoms found with dog pink eye can also be found when debris or foreign bodies enter the eye area.  Check the eye thoroughly for anything that does not belong.  

Common symptoms of dog pink eye include:

  • Abnormal amount of discharge coming from the dog’s eye, often collecting around the eye area and limiting the dog’s ability to blink or open the eye fully
  • Pronounced pink color of the dog’s eye area
  • Severe bloodshot appearance may also be observed
  • Surrounding eye tissue, including the eyelid, will be inflamed
acupuncture dog

If you're not sure whether your dog has pink eye or not, send a picture of your dog's eye along with the details of the problem to our holistic veterinarians via My Online Vet. (your dog's age, gender and breed,  how long the problem has been going on, what you have done for the problem in the past, etc.). They'll get back to you right away to let you know if your dog has it along with the best course of action.

You can also check out related questions from others here: Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Eye Problems Section

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Difference Between Dog Pink Eye and Other Dog Eye Problems

There are a few ways that dog pink eye sets itself apart from other dog eye problems:

  1. Dog pink eye often causes severe itching of the entire eye area.  You may notice your dog attempting to find relief by rubbing her eye on the corner of the couch or carpet.  Dogs with pink eye also tend to use their paws to scratch the eye and to attempt to remove excess discharge, which can be very irritating for the dog.  This violent rubbing could cause serious damage to the dog’s eye and should be prevented.
  2. Dog pink eye can have an affect on your dog’s spirit and daily routine.  You may notice that your dog’s new favorite spot is a dark corner of your kitchen or living room and that less time is being spent playing in the sun.  This happens because the infected eye becomes very sensitive to light.
  3. Lastly, pay close attention to the amount of tears your dog’s eye is producing.  While normal tear production can vary from one animal to another, you should be able to tell if your dog is producing more tears than usual.  Again, make sure a foreign object is not the cause before jumping to conclusions.
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What Causes Dog Pink Eye?

Did you know that humans carrying the bacterial form of pink eye can actually transmit the infection to dogs?

So if your toddler comes home from pre-school with a pink, swollen eye, don’t just think of protecting your human family from transmission. Keep your dog away as well!

There are a few other ways that our dogs contract dog pink eye:

  • It can begin with a small, foreign body entering the eye area of the dog.  This can be anything from a piece of bark to a small insect, and if it remains in the eye area for too long, it can cause an irritation which can lead to pink eye.  If you notice that your dog’s eye is looking irritated, you might want to try rinsing out the eye with water or an eye wash.
  • When dogs roll around and play together, it is not uncommon for small injuries to occur.  The eye of a dog is very sensitive and can be easily scratched with the paw of another dog.  This injury can commonly lead to pink eye.
  • The bacterial form of dog conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is the most common form.  This form is spread by contact and that means human to dog, dog to dog or even insect to dog.
  • The viral form of conjunctivitis is airborne and is more commonly transferred in the winter months when the air is damp and humid.  You’re best bet is to keep your fingers crossed, knock on wood, find a four-leafed clover…well, you get the idea.  Not much you can do to fight against the viral form.
  • Another very common cause of dog pink eye is an allergic reaction.  Your dog may be suffering from an allergy to something in the environment, and that allergy can cause sinus irritation along with inflammation of the mucus membranes of the eye.  If this occurs in your dog, attempt to treat or eliminate the allergen along with the pink eye.
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Treating Dog Pink Eye

Since the eye is one of the most sensitive and delicate areas of the dog’s body, it is recommended that herbal remedies be used to treat eye infections ONLY after being diagnosed by your holistic vet.  There are many options for you to try and one of them should clear up the issue and keep the eye area healthy.

The first step in treating your dog’s pink eye is making sure the eye and the eye area are clean.  Use a soft, fresh cloth to wipe away excess dirt, discharge and foreign bodies.

If you think that there might be something lodged in the back of the eye, try flushing out the eye with lukewarm water.  If you do see something lodged in the eye, take the dog to the veterinarian to have it removed.  

The following are natural therapies recommended to treat common forms of Conjunctivitis by the Pet Lovers Guide to Natural Healing for Cats and Dogs:

Dog dietary supplements can be fed directly or mixed with food to help fight off infection and keep the dog’s eyes healthy:

  • Quercetin
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

Herbal medicine for dogs can be administered orally or inserted into the eye in a liquid form:

  • Aloe vera (clear gel)
  • Chamomile tea wash
  • Eyebright tea wash
  • Green tea wash
  • Herbal eye tonic (given orally)

If you are trying to raise your dog using the homeopathic approach to health, the following treatments are recommended.  

  • Apis mel for mild conjunctivitis
  • Pulsatilla for green-yellow discharge
  • Silicea for swelling
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Holistic Routines to Maintain Good Eye Health

  1. Keep the eyes very clean, trimming the hair around the eyes often and wiping away excess discharge and dirt.
  1. Supplement your dog’s diet with:
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Pycnogenois
  • Vitamins A, C and D
  • Zinc
  1. As soon as you recognize redness or discomfort in the eye of your dog, try bathing the eyes with one of the following:
  • Calendula tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Eyebright tea
  • Rosemary tea
  • A product called Eye-Heal contains several natural ingredients known to contribute to eye health, including rosemary, burdock and meadowsweet.  If you can plan ahead and have this blend on hand, it is better than using one of the teas above by themselves.
  • If you're in a bind and have none of the above available, you can get by with...
    • Artificial tears (regular saline solution eye drops can be purchased at the drug store).  Do NOT use eye drops such as Visine or Clear Eyes as they could be harmful to your dog's eyes.  They may "get the red out" temporarily, but could have negative long-term effects.
    • Salt water: 1 tsp in 1 cup of water
  1. Dog acupuncture can also be used to help treat and prevent eye problems in dogs.  It can help to relieve discomfort and can also correct imbalances in the body that could be the root of the eye issues.
  1. A good diet is always helpful in maintaining overall health.  Foods such as green vegetables, parsley, purple or blue berries, carrots, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are all known to be good for the eyes.
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