Dog Eye Allergies: Home Remedies and Natural Treatment Options


Medically reviewed by Nicole Wanner, DVM

Key Takeaway: Dog eye allergies can have a variety of causes, and are characterized by redness, itchiness, and watering. Home remedies include natural saline drops, Benadryl®, and steroid eye drops.

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Many new dog owners (or even seasoned ones) are surprised to learn that dogs, too, can have eye allergies.

Dogs can develop allergies that affect the eyes or skin at any point in their lives, just like humans.

When suddenly your dog starts getting red, itchy, and watery eyes, they may be suffering from allergies.

WHAT CAUSES DOG EYE ALLERGIES?

There are things your dog is exposed to in our everyday environment that can cause them to have eye allergies. Such as:

  • Certain fabrics and materials
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Colognes and perfumes
  • Dander, hair, and feathers
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Fleas
  • Household cleaning products
  • Medications (i.e., Flea treatment and insecticidal shampoo)
  • Mold and mildew
  • Tree and grass pollen

HOW TO IDENTIFY DOG EYE ALLERGIES

When your dog has an allergic reaction affecting their eyes, the most common symptoms you’ll notice are their eyes will become red, watery, and itchy.

This irritation often will make your dog rub their eye, causing inflammation that can lead to an eye infection.

Since there are so many reasons why your dog may have allergies, getting a screening (skin or blood test) done by your vet is the best thing you can do as a first step to identify the source and help your pooch.

DOG EYE ALLERGIES VS. INFECTION: HOW TO TELL THEM APART

The main difference between dog eye allergies vs. infection is that dogs can get allergies from environmental factors (i.e., food, pollen, house fleas).

In contrast, a dog can get eye infections from bacteria, viruses, fungus, or trauma to the eye.

Allergies are often mistaken for an eye infection due to the similarity in their symptoms. You can read more about how to tell them apart in our post on conjunctivitis in dogs.

Symptoms Allergies Infection
Watery (translucent) X
Watery (with pus-like discharge) X
Inflammation X X
Excessive tearing X X
Squinting X X
Redness X X
Itchy X X
Light Sensitivity X
Swelling X

HOME REMEDIES AND MEDICATIONS

Here are a few of the best home remedies and medications to treat dog eye allergies:

Natural Saline Eye Drops

Natural Saline eye drops are a safe option to try and flush the allergens from the eyes at home as a first treatment. Use enough saline to the point where the fluid runs freely from the eye. If you do not see improvements after 48 hours or condition worsens, you should take your dog to the vet.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Diphenhydramine ( Benadryl ) is an over-the-counter antihistamine proven to be effective in treating allergies in both dogs and humans. The production of histamines causes allergy symptoms like itchy and watery eyes. This medication works by reducing the effects of natural histamines.

It might take a week or two before you see results. The recommended dosage is 1mg per pound of dog.

Always check with your vet before purchasing to make sure that the brand you choose is safe for dogs to avoid potentially harmful side effects. Your vet can also tell you your dog’s age, medications, illnesses, or other factors might make diphenhydramine less safe for them.

Steroid Eye Drops

Your vet may prescribe steroid eye drops if the eyes are very inflamed. Long-term steroid use can cause eye damage. Therefore, it is essential to use it as directed by your vet.

ARE THERE ANY NATURAL TREATMENT OPTIONS?

While eye allergies in dogs are usually not life-threatening, the symptoms can make your dog very uncomfortable. So, are there any natural treatment options?

CBD oil works with your dogs endocannabinoid system, which influences many bodily functions, and can help keep a dogs system in balance.

Furthermore, CBD oil for dogs often has minimal side effects, according to most users. Common side effects of CBD oil are drowsiness, dry mouth, and lowered blood pressure.

While research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, there are no studies on CBD for allergies in dogs so far. Never stop or replace your dog’s medications without contacting your vet.



References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

https://www.aafa.org

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