How to Clean a Dog's Eye Infection

Medium
5 - 10 Minutes
2 Day

Introduction

Eye infections in your dog can be caused, or contributed to, by any one of a number of factors, including foreign objects, viruses, bacterial contamination, glaucoma or allergies. Add to the many possible causal factors of eye infections the fact that your dog has no compunction about rolling in dirt and manure or wallowing in dirty water, and the likelihood your dog will experience an eye infection at some point in their life is quite high. 

Most infections affect the outer membranes of your dog's eye, often referred to as “pink eye” or conjunctivitis,  but more serious conditions can affect inner structures. Symptoms include inflammation and discharge, redness and itchiness. Treatment may involve medication such as antibiotics or steroids or home remedies, depending on the severity and cause. Along with treatment, cleaning your dog's eye and the area around the eye to clean away discharge and help healing of the eye membranes is usually necessary.

Dog's Perspective

Most canine conjunctivitis does not impair vision and discomfort is minimal. You may notice your dog pawing at his eye in an effort to relieve irritation, itchiness or discomfort, this should be discouraged as grubby paws will only contribute to infection and can damage delicate eye structures. More serious eye conditions can cause more discomfort and require veterinary attention. Cleaning the eye and eye area when your dog has an infection can be an upsetting process for your dog who is already experiencing irritation in the eye and may be protective of this delicate area.  Working around the eye requires some patience and understanding on your part to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Be careful around your dog's eyes when working at cleaning and treating so your dog does not develop an aversion to the process from unnecessary unpleasantness or fear.

The Simple Eye Cleaning Method

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Step
1
Provide sterile cleaning
Before cleaning your dog's eyes, make sure your hands are clean and any materials like cloths or cotton balls are clean and sterile. You can wear surgical gloves to ensure sterile hands if required.
Step
2
Rinse eye and area
Rinse your dog’s eye and eye area with simple saline solution, which can be purchased from a veterinarian or pharmacy, or made with a teaspoon of salt water in a cup of warm water. Carefully instill into the corner of your dog's eye and dip a cotton ball in the solution and wipe away discharge from around the eye. This can be done several times per day or use artificial tears or a commercial eye scrub product.
Step
3
Wipe area
Twice a day, wet a clean soft cloth with lukewarm water, squeeze out and wipe away discharge from around eye area.
Step
4
Remove hair
Carefully trim eye hair to prevent contamination from building up around eyes and allow discharge to drain. Smooth hair around the eye away from the eye area. This can prevent reinfection.
Step
5
Apply compresses
Apply a damp warm cloth over your dog's eyes and hold for 5 minutes to soothe infected irritated eyes. Clean the cloth before applying to other eye if both eyes are affected.
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The Special Eye Cleaning Solutions Method

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Step
1
Access eye with sterile handling
If your dog's eye infection proves particularly messy, uncomfortable, or irritated you can provide relief with a number of commercial and homemade preparations. When cleaning eyes, be careful to keep tools and hands clean and sterile and be careful with applicators around the eye. If necessary, gently place a finger under the eye to pull back the lower eyelid and instill drops for cleaning or above the eyelid and pull the upper lid back to allow drops to cover eyeball.
Step
2
Use chamomille tea
Prepare a cup of Chamomile tea and let cool with tea bag in it. Once cool, apply the tea bag over your dog's eye. Your dog will close his eye, hold the tea bag over his lid and allow some liquid to seep into the corners of your dog's eye. This both cleans area and the tea counteracts infection.
Step
3
Make natural eye cleaning solution
Make a solution with 10 drops or red clover, chamomile, St, john's Wort and eyebright or calendula added to saline solution. Instill into your dog's eye with an eye dropper 2-3 times a day to clean and counteract infection.
Step
4
Apply collodial silver
Apply a few drops of colloidal silver, available at pharmacies and pet supply stores to your dog's eyes to rinse out eyes.
Step
5
Use aloe vera gel
Apply aloe vera gel in and around the eyes to act as a moisturizer and reduce inflammation. It also contains antibacterial properties to reduce and prevent future infections.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Clean cloths, materials, and hands before working with your dog's eyes.
  • Be very careful when instilling eye drops or substances into the eye not to poke the eye with the applicator or dropper. Hold the applicator at an angle to the eye, not perpendicular.
  • Instill drops in the corner of the eye to avoid injuring the eye and to allow drops to wash over the eye.
  • When pulling back eyelids, be careful to use clean hands. Do this as little as possible--usually, your dog will blink and distribute drops. However, if excess discharge builds up under the lids, some manipulation may be required.
  • Be sure to seek veterinary advice for eye infections that appear severe and do not clear up quickly, they may require antibiotic or steroid treatment.
  • Be careful when removing hair or cleaning around eye area not to injure the eye.  Work slowly and carefully.

Conclusion

Dogs get dirty, and dirt can mean eye infections. Some infections resolve on their own with a little cleaning of discharge around the eye, while some require homemade or prescription medication instilled into the eyes. Be sure to seek veterinary attention if your dog's eye infection is causing substantial discomfort or if your dog shows photosensitivity, which could indicate a more serious condition. Always be sure to clean your materials and hands carefully when working with a dog's eyes. Be very careful to work slowly and carefully around a dog's eyes to avoid injuring these delicate structures. Several homemade and over the counter eye wash solutions can be very helpful in cleaning your dog's eyes and eye area when combating an eye infection.

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