Eye infections are common in dogs, and although some will require a visit to the vet, others can be treated at home. Here are some tips on how to treat eye infections with natural, home-made remedies:
Signs that your dog has an eye infection
Most eye infections cause irritation and discomfort, so you'll probably notice your dog pawing at their eye more than usual. You may also notice some watery discharge - this is a pretty good indicator of an infection. If the discharge has a slight colour then don't worry too much. However, if you see any brightly coloured puss oozing from the eye, then call the vet immediately. The same goes for any recent trauma to the eye. Other less serious symptoms include cloudiness in the eye, squinting, and a reluctance to let anyone touch the area around the eye.
If your dog appears to be in severe pain or discomfort then seek the help of a veterinarian. But if they appear OK in themselves, you may be able to treat the infection yourself. Here are some of the most effective home remedies:
- The first thing you can do is clean the eye. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Stir well, soak some cotton wool in the solution, then wipe away any discharge from around the eye.
- Chamomile tea can also help clear up an infection. Brew some tea, wait for it to cool down, and then apply it to the infected area using a cotton wool swab. Other herbal rinses have been found to have a positive effect. These include calendula, red clover and eyebright.
- You can also make an eye-wash using apple cider vinegar. It's great for cleaning any discharge from around the eye. Apply the solution 2-3 times a day; this will clear up most minor eye infections.
- You could also try loosening their collar. This might sound a bit strange, but a tight collar can contribute to eye infections. It can lead to a build-up of fluids in and around the eye, another common cause of eye infections. Dr Peter Dobias is a vet and dog blogger who advises switching from a lead to a harness.
Try these home remedies for a maximum of three days. They should work really well on less serious infections like pink eye. They will also help reduce any swelling or irritation associated with allergies. However, if you don’t see any improvement within a few days, take your dog to a specialist.
Preventing eye infections
Dr Peter Dobias suggests that diet and the right supplements can help clear and prevent eye infections. He feeds his own dog a diet of raw or cooked natural ingredients and warns owners about the poor nutritional value of most processed dog food. He tells them that a better diet leads to a healthier digestive and immune system, which in turn reduces the risk of eye infections. Focus on boosting your dog's vitamin A and C intake by introducing some of the following foods:
- Turkey and chicken liver are rich in vitamin A. Cook on a low heat and drop a few pieces into your dog's bowl once a day.
- Green leafy vegetables will also boost their natural defences. If your dog's a fussy eater then mix a few leaves into their dinner. The same goes for dried herbs like basil and parsley.
- Introduce natural supplents. Dr Dobias recommends multivitamins, omega 3 oils, and probiotics.
And stop letting your dog lean its head out of the window on car journeys! It might look like a lot of fun, but debris and dirt can get into their eyes, leading to more common infections like pink eye and conjunctivitis. Or you could always get them some googles.
Certain eye conditions like conjunctivitis can be passed from animals to humans. They’re also highly contagious so make sure you wash your hands and dispose of anything you’ve used to clean the dog's eye. And never use the same cotton-wool swab on both eyes; this could pass the infection from one eye to the other.
When should I take my dog to a vet?
While home remedies can treat minor eye problems, anything more serious will need a vets attention. Again, if you see any puss leaking from the eye, call the vet. Any infection lasting more than 3 days will also need expert treatment, and the same goes for reoccurring infections. And look out for other associated symptoms: lethargy and loss of appetite might be indicating the presence of something more serious.
Home remedies for dogsSmelly farting? Here are the best home remedies for dog gas
Home remedies for dogsBest home remedies for ear mites in dogs