Dog Conjunctivitis Home Treatment

Medically reviewed by James Edward, PharmD

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I've got bad news. One of the most wretched kinds of irritations that human beings can suffer can also affect dogs.

Anyone who has ever gotten pink-eye knows how miserable it can make a person, and for dog's it's no different, if not worse since they don't know it's a (hopefully) temporary condition.

Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as "pink-eye," can affect dogs as well as people. It can cause no end of distress for your pooch, so in this blog we're going to explore some home treatments that might offer your dog some much needed relief.

What is Conjunctivitis in dogs?

Conjunctivitis is more commonly known as pink-eye, and can affect humans and dogs alike. It is painful inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva, a membrane at the inner corner of each eye.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Dogs typically have discharge around that their eyes that builds up but is minimally irritating. You'll probably notice when there is something unusual going on by looking for these symptoms in your pooch:

  • Pawing at the eye
  • Inflammation of inside corner of eye or eyelids
  • Unusual/increased discharge (yellow or white)
  • Squinting
  • Watery/red eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Swelling
  • Light sensitivity

If your dog is suffering from any of the above symptoms, you should consider taking him to a veterinarian. It may be that he has an infection which can cause lasting damage to his vision.

Which Dogs are Prone to Conjunctivitis?

Some breeds are more prone to developing conjunctivitis than others. These include:

  • Beagles
  • Terriers
  • Collies
  • Spaniels
  • Schnauzers
  • Bulldogs
  • Poodles
  • Some Brachycephalic Breeds (flat-faced dogs)

Dogs whose eyelids droop like Droopy's are more prone to developing conjunctivitis. The droop of the eyelids is called ectropion.nn

Types of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

  1. Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

    This is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in dogs. It itself is a secondary condition which refers to the inability for a dog's eyes to properly produce tears. This lack of tears leaves the dog's eye susceptible to more irritants and damage.

    It can be caused by certain medications with sulphonamides, hyporhyroidism, viral infections, inner ear infections, and immune-mediated diseases.1

  2. Allergic Conjunctivitis in Dogs

    This form of conjunctivitis can affect any breed, and especially those which are hypersensitive to environmental allergens.

    This could include dogs whose head shape does not offer any natural protection against irritants, such a brachycephalic dog breeds.

    Allergic conjunctivitis also occurs in the case of foreign irritants getting into a recess in your dog eye. You can read more about allergic conjunctivitis here.

  3. Viral Conjunctivitis in Dogs

    Canine distemper or canine herpesvirus can potentially cause conjunctivitis in dogs. Canine herpesvirus (CHV) is especially common in pups and should be watched out for to preempt lasting damage to their eyesight or further complications.

  4. Bacterial Conjunctivitis in Dogs

    While relatively rare, Streptococcus (strep) and Staphylococcus (staph) infections can both cause conjunctivitis in dogs. Bacterial infections can potentially be trasmitted from dog to dog, so take care that your canine companion doesn't get any face-to-face time with other dogs while he's infectious.

  5. Parasitic Conjunctivitis in Dogs

    Some parasites can cause conjunctivitis in dogs, as well as in humans. Toxocariasis and Leishmaniasis can both cause conjunctivitis in dogs and humans, and are inter-transmissible.

You can read more about common causes and treatments of conjunctivitis here.

When to see a Vet for Conjunctivitis in Dogs

If your dog is prone to seasonal allergies and does not have a history of serious issues arising from such allergies, you may be able to address the conjunctivitis using one of the home remedies listed below.

If your dog has sustained an injury to the eye that has caused conjunctivitis, your should bring him to be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Injuries to such a fragile–yet important–part of the body can cause long-term adverse effects that would seriously detract from your pup's quality of life.

If your dog has excessive discharge and irritation of the eyes, you should consider bringing him to a veterinarian for a check-up. A veterinarian will be able to determine if your dog has an underlying condition which is causing the conjunctivitis, and what treatment should be administered to address the condition.

Treatments for Conjunctivitis in Dogs

  1. Natural Conjunctivitis Remedies and Prevention in Dogs

    The most effective preventative measure against conjunctivitis in dogs is to regularly clean the area around their eyes. This is where any detritus or debris can accumulate and become a problem for your pup's peepers.

    Using a paper towel dampened by warm water, gently wipe at your dog's eyes to get all the stuff that gets stuck there out, leaving your dog's peeper's bright and shiny.

    1. Natural remedies for conjunctivitis in dogs:
      1. Saline eye drops

        To make your own saltwater rinse for your dog:

        1. Bring a cup of water to a rolling boil
        2. Turn off the heat
        3. Add a half a teaspoon of salt to the water
        4. Allow the water to cool to room temperature

        Use a sterilized cotton ball to gently wipe the corner of your dog's eye to clean any discharge accumulating there. Doing this three times a day should bring some relief to your dog.

      2. Cold compress

        As with any inflammation, a cold compress may yield some much needed relief. Several times a day, use a soft wetted washcloth to press against your dog's closed eyes for 3 minutes a time.

      3. Artificial tears

        Commonly prescribed to dogs suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome, artificial tears contain a lubricant to moisturize your dog's eyes.

        Please note that these have different ingredients than the contact solution for human contact lenses, which should not be used on dogs.

      4. Elizabethan collars for dogs with conjunctivitis

        Even though they have funny names and look strange, elizabethan collars may be helpful if your dog has conjunctivitis. While they will not directly address your dog's condition, they will prevent him from rubbing at it, which could cause further irritation.

      5. CBD for dogs with conjunctivitis

        There is no evidence to support CBD as a potential treatment for dogs with conjunctivitis. Although CBD for dogs has been shown to be effective in the treatment of pain caused by inflammation of the joints of dogs suffering from osteroarthritis, it has not been shown to be effective at treating conjunctivitis.

  2. Medicine for Conjunctivitis in Dogs

    If your dog has an ongoing issue with conjunctivitis, consulting with your veterinarian will be the best course of action. She may prescribe anti-histamines to be given through eyedrops for allergic conjunctivitis. She may potentially prescribe anti-biotic drops in the case of a bacterial infection causing conjunctivitis.


Using an elizabethan collar and cold compresses should reduce your dog's irritation from conjunctivitis, but they will not be effective in addressing the underlying condition. For that, consult with your veterinarian to find a regimen that will return your dog's eyes to normal.

Your dog's eyes are, as they say, a window into your dog's soul. So when he's afflicted with conjunctivitis, it can really dampen his mood. So if your dog's suffering this affliction, hope that some of the options for home remedies can give him some relief so you can get back to looking through those soul windows and finding happiness!

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