Can Dogs Catch Pink Eye?

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You've probably suffered from pink eye a time or two in your human life, and let's face it - it's pretty miserable. The itchiness, the puffiness, the downright uncomfortable terribleness that comes with it, pink eye is no fun! You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, and you certainly wouldn't wish it on your doggo! 

Unfortunately, your pup can definitely catch pink eye, and what's worse, he can't even tell you how bad it is! Because of that you, you have to be an astute pet owner and pay attention to your dog's well being - do you notice his eyes looking a little different lately? Is it possible he's suffering from the awfulness of pink eye? 

If you want to stay in-the-know about how to check up on your doggo's eyes, prevent him from contracting pink eye, and what signs you should look for if you think your dog has pink eye, then you should definitely read on! We've laid out everything you need to know about your dog contracting pink eye, how you can heal it, and what you can do to prevent it! 

Signs Your Dog Might Have Pink Eye

If your poor pup has pink eye, it's likely that he's got all the tell-tale signs of it. You just need to know what to look for. If your dog has pink eye, there's definitely some signals you can't miss. For example, your pup might be extra, extra squinty if he's got an infected eye. We don't mean he's blinking and giving you soft eyes, we mean he'll probably struggle to see out of his infected eye. 

Additionally, his eyes might be watering a bunch. If you have a dog with light-colored fur, you can often see tear stains on his face. That also means he might have a hard time leaving his eyes alone. If he's pawing at his eyes or trying to rub them on furniture, floors, or toys, it's probable that something is bothering him. His eyelids also might stick together and his eyes might be giving out a stringy, gooey discharge. It's important that at the first signs of pink eye, you take your pooch to the vet. If left untreated, pink eye can aggravate into other conditions and could even cause serious things like blindness!

Body Language

Here's some body language cues you should look out for when it comes to your doggo's eyes:
  • Scratching
  • Twitching whiskers
  • Drooling
  • Averting eyes
  • Ears back
  • Whale eye

Other Signs

But that's not all you should watch out for. Make sure you're taking a good, hard look at your doggo's eyes every so often to ensure he's not suffering from pink eye. Look for things like:
  • Excessive Tear Stains
  • Eye Goop
  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Pawing or Rubbing Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Squinting
  • Puffy Eyelids

Historic Causes of Pink Eye in Dogs

Pink eye is an inflammation of the eyes known as conjunctivitis. It's also called red eye and it's fairly common for dogs! It's an itchy flare-up of inflammation of the tissue that coats the eye and the lining of the eyelid.

Typically, there are specific reasons that conjunctivitis happens in animals. Often, with dogs, causes are often seasonal and not contagious. They can come from dust mites, pollen, and mold, but they can also stem from things like dander, cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs. 

Typically, treatment isn't serious and after consulting with doctors, you can typically treat it with cold compresses, artificial tears, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamenes, and steroid eye drops. 

The Science Behind Conjunctivitis

The first step in understanding how to combat conjunctivitis is to learn about how it works. Also known as pink eye or red eye, conjunctivitis is an itchy inflammation of the lining of the eyelids, called the conjunctiva. This can happen at any age, on its own, or in conjunction with another eye issue. 

Typically, it only affects one eye at a time, though it is possible for it to spread to both. Breeds that tend to have allergies are more likely to get pink eye, and they're also more likely to have dry eyes. 

What's important to realize about pink eye is that it is transferable from dogs to humans. So, if you have pink eye, you can spread it to your dog, or vice versa. Sterilization and isolation are the two best ways to handle pink eye when you or your dog catch it.

Training Your Dog to Deal with Pink Eye

If your dog contracts pink eye, don't worry - it's a fairly common, harmless condition that heals with time and the right treatment. 

First, you'll want to contact your dog-tor to make sure you're going about his healing the right way. Next, you'll want to get your pup used to new bedding, toys, or keep him comfortable while you sterilize all of his old bedding and toys. Pink eye is terribly contagious, so it's important to clean everything he comes into contact with thoroughly. 

You'll also likely need to train him to take eye drops or other medicines without stressing him out. Use treats and affection as positive reinforcement methods to train your pup to let you put doggo eye drops in his eyes, cold compresses on his face, and to take pills. You can train your dog to take medicine out of a syringe, eat it with his food, or simply play a throw and catch game with his pills to make sure he's getting the medicine he needs.

How to React If Your Dog has Pink Eye

  • Call your dog-tor for treatment!
  • Use medicated eye drops.
  • Use artificial tears to help clear his cloudy eyes.
  • Use cold compresses on his eyes.
  • Try doggy antihistamines.
  • Try to leave him be as much as you can while not leaving him alone, as pink eye is terribly contagious.
  • Sterilize his bedding, toys, and other things he comes into contact with.

Tell Us About Your Pup's Experience with Pink Eye!