How To Use Dog Eye Drops (Owner’s Guide)

How To Use Dog Eye Drops (Owner’s Guide)

As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy. Unfortunately, some responsibilities, such as using dog eye drops, can be challenging for most to master. However, knowing how to use this type of medication properly is a crucial piece of knowledge in every dog owner’s arsenal, as it often is the only way to preserve your companion’s sensitive eyes.

Here's how to safely use dog eye drops:

  • Use the resting chin method.
  • Don’t approach your dog from the front.
  • Restrain the dog.
  • Don't fret if the process of using dog eye drops is something you struggle with. After understanding the concept gets easier for both you and your dog. In the following sections, I’ll take you through three fool-proof approaches you can use to administer dog eye drops the right way.

    1. Use the Resting Chin Method

    As the name suggests, this is a method where you apply the dog's eye drops with the dog's chin lying on your lap. To do so, you’ll need to bring your dog to a calming position with their chin facing upwards then:

    1. Lure them with a treat while positioning them on your lap until you finally get them where you are most comfortable.
    2. Get the eye drops bottle closer and take off the cap.
    3. Administer the drops as prescribed, remaining careful not to touch the dog's eyes with the bottle or your fingers.
    4. Try using the treat to lure the dog into position every time it seems to get restless.

    This method may take up to 30 minutes, especially if you have a stubborn dog. Before starting, make sure you have enough treats to lure the dog throughout the whole process to facilitate it. Don’t panic if it takes longer to administer the drops the first few times. AS time goes on, your dog will get used to the process.

    2. Don’t Approach Your Dog From the Front

    It’s generally recommended to use the behind-the-dog method when administering dog eye drops. As the name suggests, you’ll have to position yourself behind your dog and administer the eye drops by turning up their face when using this method.

    This is usually the most preferred approach, as unlike in its face-to-face counterpart, your dog can’t see what you’re about to do, which could help immensely as far as nerves and anxiety go. Here are the steps you’ll want to follow with this approach:

    1. Sit on a comfortable chair and hold the dog on your lap.
    2. Lift its head to a position where you can see the chin from behind.
    3. Ensure that the dog is comfortable; you can comfort and encourage your companion by rubbing its back or giving treats throughout the process. You could ask someone else to lure the dog with a treat to make it remain in its position.
    4. Pull up the eyelid and administer the drops as prescribed.
    5. Hold the bottle at a reasonable distance when administering the eye drops. It should be far enough so that it doesn’t touch either eye. However, be careful not to place it too far, as, otherwise, the drops could create a splash.
    6. Praise the dog and give it a treat for getting into a position to help ease the process and make your pet more prone to cooperate the next time.

    3. Restrain the Dog

    Introducing a foreign substance to your eyes can be an uncomfortable experience for any species, which explains why dogs become restless when receiving eye drop treatments. This means you'll sometimes have to restrain a stubborn dog to make it easier to administer the drops.

    Additionally, the technique might come in handy even in those cases where the dog is too small to be held in position naturally. Here are some of the practical considerations you’ll want to keep in mind for a successful restraining process:

      • Use a leash or harness tied to a tight object to secure the dog. This is an excellent approach for large dogs. However, if your pet is miniature-sized, you might have to ask a family member or friend to hold them into position. If you have to go through the process yourself, place your dog on a flat surface and constrict it using your arm.
      • Approach your restrained dog from behind and administer the drops. The dog might feel safer and be more relaxed when you approach it from the back since it can't see what you are about to do.
  • Raise the dog's head to a position where you can see the chin and gently pull down the eyelid.
  • Create a pouch of the eyelid and administer the drops on this pouch created.
  • The dog will start blinking, thus spreading the eye drops in the eyes.
  • Although this method may feel like a punishment for your dog, it may be your only option, especially if your dog is aggressive.

    Practice rewarding your dog after administering the eye drops. This will help it associate the process with a treat, increasing the chances of a peaceful cooperation next time. After a while, you likely won’t have to restrict your pet at all.

    How To Make the Eye Drop Administration Process Easier and Safer

    Administering dog eye drops is not an easy process regardless of the method you’re using. Some dog owners opt for alternative medication for their dogs in case of an eye infection to avoid the hassle of going through this process. 

    To make the process easier and safer for both you and your furry friend, you can:

    Prepare in Advance

    Getting your dog in position for dog eye drops without being prepared will worsen an already complicated situation. For instance, if it's a struggle to have the dog positioned on your lap, make sure you remember to bring the eye drops and other tools beforehand so you don't have to start the process all over again. Get everything you'll need and prepare your dog mentally by having a bonding session in advance to simplify the process further.

    Ask for Assistance

    If there’s a family member or friend that you think could help you administer eye drops, consider asking them for assistance. They can help lure the pet with treats as you administer the drops.

    Additionally, they can help you tie the dog if you intend to use the restraining method. 

    Always Ensure That Your Dog Is Well Held

    As you try to administer the eye drops, your dog will most likely be trying to break free. This could lead to the dog harming itself or someone else around. Therefore, it’s essential that regardless of the method you're using, to always make sure that the dog is well held to avoid accidents. You can either hold them yourself or have someone else do them for you.

    Conditions That Could Make Your Dog Need Eye Drops

    Your dog's eyes are well protected with the nictitating membrane, also known as the third eyelid. This eyelid is hidden under the lower lid and helps protect against debris and other harsh conditions.

    Unfortunately, even if you provide optimal protection, your dog is still at risk of some eye problems that may demand eye drops as a treatment. Some of these common eye problems are:

    • Allergies: Like humans, dogs' eyes are affected by allergies. These allergies are triggered by sensitivity to products like detergents or other environmental irritants. It is possible to stop the allergy reaction by eliminating the allergen in some cases. Otherwise, you’ll need to use some eye drops for a while, especially if the reaction is severe.
    • Dry eye: This is a common dog condition called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. The state of dogs having little or no tears in their eyes is crucial for cleaning and lubricating the organ. When your dog has dry eyes, you'll notice signs such as pawing at the eye, blinking, and redness. If left untreated, it could cause ulcers and scratches, among other eye problems. Eye drops are an effective way of treating dry eyes.
    • Cataracts: Cataracts are more prevalent in older dogs and are usually signs of an underlying sickness. When your dog has cataracts, you’ll quickly notice that its eyes are cloudy and white. Cataracts can cause blindness if not treated. One way vets administer cataract treatments is through eye drops.
    • Pink eye: This results from a bacterial or viral infection and has symptoms like eye redness, gooey eye discharge, and inflammation. Allergies can also cause pink eye symptoms. The vet may administer dog eye drops to help clean out the allergen causing the symptoms. Additionally, the dog may need to take some antibiotics along with eye drops if the cause is bacterial.
    • Glaucoma: This condition occurs if the tears in the dog's eyes fail to drain correctly. This causes pressure on the eyeballs, which results in tearing, dilated pupils, redness and cloudiness. The force also causes pain in the eye. Eye drop medication can help heal the condition, but the dog may need surgery in severe cases.
    • Cherry eye: Cherry eye occurs when the ligaments that hold the dog's eyelid weaken and fail to hold it as expected. As a result, the eyelid sticks out at the corner of the dog's eye like a red cherry. Cherry eye is mainly treated through surgery, and you may need to use eye drops after the procedure to help your dog recover.

    The Most Common Types of Eye Drops

    Many eye drops are available on the market today to help treat different health issues. However, be careful when choosing, as the wrong eye drops can end up causing more harm than good.

    Some of the common dog eye drops on today’s market are:

    • Lubricants: They help lubricate the eye, especially when the dog is suffering from a condition such as dry eye.
    • Antibiotics: They are given to dogs for conditions such as keratitis and conjunctivitis
    • Eyewashes: These are ideal for cleaning debris and allergens that could be causing eye problems
    • Antibacterial: Perfect for cleaning debris and solving any eye irritation.
    • Ophthalmic medications: They are ideal for tear production

    These Plush Paws Advanced Care Eye Drops are among the best alternatives on today’s market. They’re naturally produced, extensively tested, and offer excellent value for their price. Not only do they help with preexisting conditions, but they also help promote and improve overall eye health.

    Dog Eye Care Tips

    Although some dog eye problems are unpredictable, it’s possible to avoid most of them with the right care tips. In the following sections, I’ll share some of the most effective approaches you can take to help keep your dog's eyes healthy and avoid using eye drops almost every time.

    Learn Common Dog Eye Problems

    As a concerned dog parent, it's wise to learn the most common dog eye problems your pet may suffer from, primarily based on their breed. For instance, dog breeds like cocker spaniels and bulldogs are prone to cherry eye disease. Being well-informed about your pet’s health dispositions will help you better protect your dog and take the necessary precautionary steps before it is too late.

    Keep Your Dog's Eyes Clean

    Regularly use damp cotton cloths to clean the corners of your dog's eyes to prevent infection and irritation. You can also use eye drops for a more effective cleaning approach while moistening the eyes. However, consult your vet before using any eye drop variety you are unfamiliar with.

    Do a Daily Inspection

    Whenever you’re around your dogs, inspect their eyes to confirm that all is well. It is easier and better to treat eye problems after being detected as early as possible. In case you see anything unusual, don't hesitate to consult your vet, even if the issue seems small.

    Some of the signs you should look for in the daily inspection are:

    • Redness
    • Cloudiness
    • Tearing
    • Scratching their eyes
    • Crusty discharge
    • A distended third eyelid
    • Squinting
    • Frequent blinking
    • Vision loss for your dog. You can notice this through signs like failing to focus and bumping into things.

    Trim the Hair Around Their Eyes and Clip Their Nails

    Long hair around the eyes can cause inflammation, itchiness, and irritation by scratching the cornea. Therefore, use a pair of scissors to trim the area around the eyes, being extra careful not to injure the dog with them.

    Likewise, you’ll want to keep your pet’s nails clean and trimmed to prevent them from scratching their own eyes. Long nails could also carry debris that they can easily transfer to their eyes, which could quickly cause an infection.

    Close Windows When Driving

    Although dogs love having their heads out of the window when onboard a moving car, this can be risky to their eyes; otherwise, they’ll collect a lot of debris, which could settle and cause a wide range of problems in their eyes. Even if the dog's head is not outside the window, there’s still a possibility they can be affected by the moving debris. Therefore, ensure that your car windows are closed when driving around with your dog to protect their eyes.

    Schedule Checkups

    Even if you do a daily inspection of your dog's eyes, some signs might go unseen under your untrained judgment. For this reason, take your dog to a professional for eye checkups from time to time. The vet can detect any growing conditions and administer medication before they progress. The sooner the treatment for dog eye problems starts, the easier it will be.

    Give Foods That Support Eye Health

    Just like with humans, certain foods can help boost the health of your dog's eyes. First, make sure that they consume a balanced diet containing all necessary vitamins and nutrients.

    Secondly, their diet must contain Vitamin A, C, and E, which help boost vision. Antioxidants are also paramount in boosting your dog's sight. When buying commercial dog food, confirm their ingredients to ensure that they are adequately balanced for not only their eyes but overall health.

    Keep the Dog Hydrated

    Dehydration can have many adverse effects on a dog's health, and their eyes are no exception. Dehydration may lead to a lack of tear production, which is crucial for the normal functioning of a dog’s eyes. Therefore, avoid dehydration and ensure your pets have a cool place to rest.

    Watch Their Locations

    You must check the condition of the places you intend to visit with your dog before actually going there. For instance, an area with spiny or thorny vegetation can injure dogs' eyes. Additionally, dogs living in river valley areas are at risk of blastomycosis, a fungal infection affecting their sight.

    Consult your vet to protect your dog if you live in high-risk areas. Otherwise, if you’re only visiting for a few days, consider leaving your dog at home to ensure its safety.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Eye Drops (FAQs)

    How Do You Administer Eye Drops If Your Dog Is Violent?

    If your dog is violent, you may need assistance when administering eye drops. Consider getting a muzzle and putting it on the dog to reduce its resistance. You can get a closed, open, or basket-style muzzle for normal-sized faces. 

    Even if you’re using a muzzle, you might still need a second person to help you restrain the dog if it’s still uncooperative. Make sure that your dog is comfortable when administering the eye drops to make it less violent. 

    Can You Use Human Eye Drops for Dogs?

    You can never use human eye drops for dogs, even if they target the same condition. Some of the constituents of human eye drops are dangerous for a dog's eye.

    Additionally, the dog may ingest human eye drops containing brimonidine or naphazoline, which are harmful even when taken in small amounts. Likewise, humans also shouldn’t use dog eye drops for similar reasons.

    Where in the Eye Should You Apply a Dog Eye Drop?

    You should usually apply a dog eye drop in the center of your pet’s eye. However, as long as the drop falls in the eye, you won’t have to worry much about its exact position. The dog will blink, instantly spreading the drop all over the organ.

    How To Apply Eye Ointments on Dogs?

    Here’s how you can apply eye ointments on dogs:

  • Restrain the dog.
  • Get the ointment tube.
  • Squeeze some ointment between the eyes.
  • Pull the ointment down against the lower lid.
  • Detach the ointment from the tube.
  • Avoid contacting the eye with the ointment nozzle.
  • Why Do Dogs Resist Eye Drops?

    Dogs resist eye drops because they are uncomfortable, not in pain. However, some dog eye conditions may cause pain, which should stop after using the dog eye drops several times.

    What To Do if You Can’t Administer Dog Eye Drops Yourself?

    If you can’t administer dog eye drops yourself, you should inform your vet to get a different drug, for instance, one that can be given orally or through injection.

    Additionally, you could get a nurse to help administer the eye drops or admit the dog to the animal hospital until it gets better. If you don't administer dog eye drops because you find the process too complicated, practice more, and it will get easier with time.


    Proper use of dog eye drops is paramount for the quick recovery of any eye problem. Remember to wash your hands before and after administering dog eye drops to avoid spread and contamination. With enough time and practice, both you and your pet will be able to go through the process effortlessly.

    If your dog doesn’t show improvement after several days of using the eye drops, consult your vet. Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you are uncertain about eye drops, such as how much and how often you should use them. 

    Here at Plush Paws, we know how important your furry friend is. No dog should have to endure lengthy, painful eye issues, which is why we’ve gone to great lengths to provide you with high-quality eye drops intended to help restore your dog’s eye health quickly and effortlessly. Check them out today!


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