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How to give a dog eye drops

Giving your pet eye drops can be quite challenging-even for a veterinarian!

Woman holding a dogA dog or cat feels these eye medications dropping into the eyes exactly as a person would. One recommendation is to lift the upper eyelid and place the eye drop or ointment about the level of the sclera or “white of the eye” as this technique can sometimes make things more comfortable for pets.  When giving ointments, applying a small strip to the outside corner of the eye can also be helpful.  In this case, use a clean finger to apply the ointment and try letting the medication “melt” into the eye (don’t touch the tip of the tube or bottle).  Some dogs don’t like the cold feel of drops that have been refrigerated, and warming them by gently rolling the bottle between your hands for a few moments might help ease this discomfort.  Never use over-the-counter human eye drops for pets unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian.  “Red-eye” drops rarely contain the active ingredients necessary to treat a dog or cat’s eye problem and may actually make things worse.

When eyes are first treated for infection or other conditions, they may be easily irritated by the prescribed medication.  The drops meant to help can cause pain when initially used.  If this is the case, the irritation should decrease over a few days as healing occurs.  Always call your veterinarian to make certain that your dog’s reaction is expected and not cause for concern.  He or she may prescribe a different medication or formulation which may not produce the same effects as the original drop.  On occasion, there may be other processes at work, such as allergies or other sensitivities, which cause itchiness or pain when you instill your dog’s eye medication.  If the eyes look redder or otherwise worse after the drops or if your dog continues to paw at the eyes, call your veterinary hospital immediately.  The doctor may want to perform a recheck examination to ensure that there are no true reactions to the medications and that your dog is getting the full benefit of the eye prescriptions.

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