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How Dogs Get Pink Eye and What to Do if Your Pet Has It

Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is a zoonotic infection. This means it can be transmitted between humans and animals. Most dog owners are aware that their pets can get pink eye, but they may not know how dogs get pink eye. They also may not know what to do if their pet has it.

Pink eye in dogs is caused by the same viruses and bacteria that cause pink eye in humans.

It can be just as contagious – and transmittable.

This means you can catch it from your dog and they can get it from you.

Here’s what you need to know.

How Dogs Get Pink Eye and What to Do if Your Pet Has It

How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

The ways that your pooch can contract pink eye are numerous.

The most common is through contact with another infected animal – usually another dog. But it could also be a cat, horse, or any other animal that has the infection.

It can also be passed on between people and animals. So if you have conjunctivitis, it’s important to avoid contact with your pet until the infection has cleared up.

Likewise, if you discover your dog has pink eye, it’s important to keep them away from other pets, children, seniors, and anyone who might have a compromised immune system.

Other Ways Dogs Contract Pink Eye

  • Contact with contaminated surfaces – if an infected animal has been in an area, the virus or bacteria can be left behind on surfaces like bedding, toys, food and water bowls, and so on. Your dog can then pick up the infection by coming into contact with these contaminated surfaces.
  • Allergies – Dogs can develop allergies to anything from pollen and dust to shampoo and cleaning products. These allergies can cause the eyes to become irritated, leading to conjunctivitis.
  • Respiratory infections – If your dog has a respiratory infection, this can lead to conjunctivitis.
  • Injuries – Any kind of injury to the eye can cause inflammation and lead to conjunctivitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Pink Eye?

The symptoms of pink eye in dogs are similar to those in humans, and can include:

  • Red, irritated eyes or excessive tearing
  • Green or yellow discharge from the eyes
  • Crustiness around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light or squinting
  • Rubbing or scratching at the eyes

Dog getting eye drops put in eye

What Should You Do?

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to take them to the vet for an eye examination as soon as possible.

Pink eye can be uncomfortable for your dog. If it’s left untreated it can lead to more serious problems like corneal ulcers.

Vet looking in a dog's eye

How is Dog Pink Eye Treated?

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

If the conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, it will usually clear up on its own within a week or two.

However, if it’s caused by bacteria, your vet will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.

There are also many dog pink eye products on the market that you may be able to get from your local pet store.

Allergies can be treated with antihistamines, and injuries will need to be treated according to their nature.

Vet putting drops in a dog's eye

In all cases, it’s important to keep your dog’s eyes clean and free of discharge.

You can do this by wiping them with a clean, damp cloth several times a day.

Your vet may also recommend using a special eye rinse or ointment to help keep the area clean and lubricated.

Pink eye is a common infection in dogs, but with prompt treatment, it’s usually not serious.

If you think your beloved pooch may have pink eye, be sure to take them to the vet for an examination and treatment.

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