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Are Visine and OTC Eye Drops Safe for My Dog?


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As humans, we use Visine and any number of OTC (over the counter) eye drops to help with dry, red, and irritated eyes. But, before you use any of these products on your four-legged friend, it is important that you know about the possible problems with doing so. Remember that in most cases, medications and personal care products that are made to be used on humans are not considered to be safe for use on dogs.

If you believe your dog has allergies or an eye infection that is causing problems with their eyes, you need to take your pup in to see the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. This way, the treatment your dog receives will not only help to take care of their problem but also will not do any harm.

Visine is Not FDA Approved for Use in Dogs

The FDA has not approved the use of Visine for treating dogs. Before you try to treat your dog with Visine or any other OTC eye drop, you should take them to see the vet for a proper diagnosis. Visine and many of these products contain tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, which helps to constrict blood vessels within the eyes and, in doing so, helps to reduce dryness and redness.

It is always the wisest move to have the vet take a look at your furry buddy's eyes if redness or discharge lasts more than a day. In the interim (unless the eye looks particularly sore and possibly injured), you could do an ocular rinse with simple saline solution. But if in doubt, leave it alone and consult the vet.

What Can Cause Eye Issues for Dogs?

If your dog has dry, itchy, red eyes, there can be several different causes that should be evaluated by the vet. Among these are:

  • Conjunctivitis – a common eye inflammation
  • An eye condition like glaucoma or cherry eye
  • Allergic reactions to things like grasses, pollens, chemicals, or other substances
  • Some type of foreign body like dirt or an insect in the eye
  • A scratched cornea

If your dog displays symptoms of an eye condition, such as excessive tearing or the secretion of pus or other discharge, it is very important that you take them in to see the vet immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment. The veterinarian may be able to diagnose the problem or may send you to a veterinary ophthalmologist who has specialized training to help diagnose the reason behind your dog's eye problems.

The Vet Knows Best

A good rule of thumb to follow is to have any issues with your dog's eyes or adjacent tissues evaluated by your pup's vet as soon as possible, preferably within 12 hours in order to reduce the risk of further damage. This gives the vet more time to diagnose and treat the problem and helps to increase the chance that any treatment he offers can take care of the problem and restore your dog's eyes to good health.

Human Medications may do More Harm Than Good

The big takeaway is that human medications, even those intended for babies or children, are not typically safe for use on your dog and, in fact, may do far more harm than good. The best way to treat any health issues such as dry, red, itchy eyes should be determined by your vet to ensure the treatment does not cause complications or permanent damage to your dog's eyes. Play it safe with your dog's vision, talk to your vet before attempting any type of treatment. Your pup is sure to appreciate it.

Eye conditions in dogs can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has an eye condition or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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