Medicated Eye Drops For Dogs – When, Why, And How?

Last Updated on January 20, 2022 by Гризельда М.

Dog eye problems can sometimes catch us off-guard – that’s just not the type of issue we think about when wondering about a canine’s health. Yet, eye problems are quite common in some breeds such as the Labrador Retriever. This necessitates some good eye care medication and prevention.

So, let’s go over-medicated eye drops for dogs – when, why, and how to use them.

When Should You Use Medicated Eye Drops For Dogs?

Dogs’ eyes actually have more protection than you might suspect. Like us, they have two main lids designed to protect the eye from wind, dust, and debris. They also have tear ducts that help wash out the eye of anything that might get stuck on it. However, dog eyes also have a third eyelid called a nictitating membrane, hidden under the main lower eyelid.

medicated eye drops for dogs

The nictitating membrane is very helpful for protecting the eye even further from anything that might harm it such as the smallest pollutants and allergens. Even then, however, dogs’ eyes just aren’t immune to problems, hence we sometimes just need to use eye drops and other medication. Some of the common issues to watch out for include:

These and other eye issues can often necessitate the use of medicated eye drops for dogs. Of course, you should never self-prescribe your dog’s eye drops yourself and you should always consult with your vet first.

Read more about What Does It Mean If A Dog’s Nose Is Dry And Should You Worry?’

Different Types Of Medicated Eye Drops For Dogs

As with us, dogs need different types of eye drops for their different possible health problems. If your dog has needed eye drops for a problem before and then develops a different issue a year later, the same eye drops may not work. Hence why you should always talk with a vet before giving your dog anything. Here are the main types of dog eye drops you can be prescribed by your vet:

  • Antibiotic eye drops for dogs – often prescribed for Keratitis and Conjunctivitis.
  • Steroid eye drops for dogs – good for severe allergies and infections but should never be used if the eye’s cornea is damaged.
  • Saline eyewashes – safe and available over the counter, such eyewashes are used to wash out dust and debris from the eye and to hydrate it when necessary.
  • Eye drops for canine glaucoma – as the term suggests, these are used for glaucoma. The most commonly used ones include dorzolamide and timolol.
  • Antibacterial eye wipes or drops – sold over the counter, these are used for various eye irritations and cleansing. Talking with a vet first is still strongly recommended, however.
  • Others – there are quite a few other types of eye drops such as ophthalmic medicated eye drops and others. These are usually designed to replace the tear film and increase tear production.

As you can see, the differences between all these types of dedicated eye drops for dogs are quite major. So, always keep a close watch on your dog’s eyes to try and notice any problem early, and then just call your vet instead of prescribing your dog anything yourself.

Can you use standard human eye drop medicine for dog eye infections and other issues?

Using basic human eye drops such as eyewashes can feel intuitive at first but is very ill-advised. Even stuff as simple as natural tears can lead to problems due to certain ingredients that dogs just can’t tolerate. And that’s on top of the risk of you misdiagnosing your dog’s eye condition.

Some of the simplest yet nasty ingredients include naphazoline or brimonidine which can be outright poisonous to your dog, especially if it already has blood pressure and/or heart issues.

So, you should never use human eye drops or other medications for your dog. There are exceptions but only a vet is qualified to tell you which medications are acceptable and which aren’t.

How To Use Medicated Eye Drops For Dogs?

As with any other type of medication, getting the right dosage is very important with eye drops. Even simple stuff like eyewashes should be administered carefully and up to a certain dosage. This can be tricky with eye drops, especially if your dog is new to the experience and isn’t cooperating. So, here’s a quick step-by-step for how to go about this:

  • Wash your hands well before you try giving your dog eye drops.
  • Clean the area around your dog’s eye well with a warm and wet washcloth.
  • Get a family member or a trusted friend to hold your dog’s head firmly. If you’re alone try to cradle the dog’s head yourself. It’s important to make sure that the dog is calm and isn’t getting too stressed out and wiggly.
  • Gently pull your dog’s lower eyelid down with the thumb of your non-dominant hand. With your other hand, hover the eyedrops bottle over the dog’s eye. Use the remaining fingers of your non-dominant eye to help keep the dog’s jaw and head steady.
  • Get the bottle as close as possible to the dog’s eye without risking an accidental touch. Aim for the center of the eye then gently and slowly squeeze the appropriate amount of eye drops into the eye.
  • Your dog will naturally start blinking after you’ve administered the eye drops. This is good as it will help the medication spread evenly across the eye’s surface. Do make sure that your dog isn’t shaking its head at first, however, as that will shake off parts of the eye drops.
  • Pet and praise your dog before, during, and after administering the eye drops. Throw in a couple of treats too. It’s important that your dog associated this with positive emotions as that will help with its behavior the next time.

eye drops for dogs

In Conclusion, How Big Of An Issue Is Giving Your Dog Medicated Eye Drops?

All things considered, eye drops are fairly easy to give to dogs as long as you do it right. Most dogs will be weirded out at first which is why it’s important that your pet trusts and listens to you. If you know how to calm your dog you can even make the whole experience outright pleasant.

Read more about Why Do Dogs Have Black Spots On Their Tongues And Is It Dangerous?

Linda Richard

I know that all dog breeds are different, but Labradors exude a special energy, don’t they? I believe everyone deserves the unconditional love of a pet, so my main goal is to make sure you can experience it.