Day: December 11, 2019

Can You Use Human OTC Eye Drops for Dogs?Can You Use Human OTC Eye Drops for Dogs?

The post Can You Use Human OTC Eye Drops for Dogs? by Melvin Peña appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

One morning last summer, I spotted a troubling green discharge in the corner of my dog, Baby’s, right eye. I spend the best part of each day thinking, researching and writing about other dog owners’ canine health and behavior questions. Weirdly, this means I often take my own dog’s hardiness and well-being for granted. For several heartbeats, I experienced the same mixture of indecision and panic that I imagine drives most dog owners straight to use their own human eye drops as eye drops for dogs.

I’ve written enough about dog eyes to recognize the verdant hue of the sludge accumulating in Baby’s eye should be a source of concern. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I marched instinctively to see what over-the-counter eye wash I might have to try and deal with it. Should I reach for Visine or whatever human eye wash or ointment I might have ready at hand? Can human eye drops be used as eye drops for dogs?

For simple dog eye problems, a simple solution

A closeup of a dog eye.

Can you use human OTC eye drops as eye drops for dogs? Photography ©fotokate | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

If you’re reading this, then we’ve both remembered that Google can be our friend and ally. Reading through a number of trustworthy sites, I began to see the same solution: a simple, no-frills, saline solution that is applied with nothing more complex than cotton balls. Over the course of a few days, Baby’s right eye cleared up, and the sleep that accumulated in the corners of her eyes took on their customary white coloration. There was no need for medicated eye drops.

The easiest or most convenient choices, the medicated OTC eye drops and ointments you keep at home, are not the best things to use as eye drops for dogs! In fact, using these as eye drops for dogs can exacerbate the issues at hand, or create new ones that may ultimately cost you more at the vet’s office or cause your dog needless additional pain. Let’s take a look at three of the most common dog eye problems for which you might need to use eye drops for dogs:

  1. Dog eye infection
  2. Conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eye) in dogs
  3. Dog eye allergies

1. Treating a dog eye infection

Minor dog eye infections can arise from any number of causes. My dog doesn’t have long hair on her head, and there was no prolapse of the eyelid, so I could rule out hair as a potential irritants as well as cherry eye. It was a hot and dry summer, and there was plenty of loose sand at the park when we hiked. Any kind of foreign body, down to a stray piece of dust blowing into her eye and getting caught there, might’ve led her eyes to produce green discharge.

Couldn’t you just use your basic human over-the-counter eye drops as eye drops for dogs? Well, the active ingredient in Visine is Tetrahydozoline hydrochloride, which narrows the eye’s blood vessels. If your object is to dislodge a bit of mobile debris from your dog’s eye, drugs of any kind are not called for. Use human eye treatments only if and when you get veterinary approval. If you have half an hour or so, you can even make your own saline eye wash for a true home remedy!

2. Conjunctivitis in dogs

Baby’s eyes are always a little red or pink when she first wakes up from a long nap or first thing in the morning, so it’s not usually a reason to get anxious. The most common form of pink eye in dogs is serous conjunctivitis, also called “dry eye.” Similar to the kind of eye infection described above — and frequently a cause of it— is an environmental irritant that prevents a dog’s eye from producing the tears needed to flush it out naturally. There was no swelling or inflammation in Baby’s eye, and the greenish goo was inconsistent with pink eye.

You might be tempted, as I was, to grab your own over-the-counter eye drops out of instinct or force of habit. According to Dr. Kathryn Primm, however, “you will have done nothing to address the reason” for the dog’s ocular discomfort. Basic saline solution and cotton balls, the kinds you can get for about $4 to $5 total at your nearest drug store, constitute a safe and reliable preliminary approach. If the symptoms persist, the discharge takes on the look or scent of pus, and you notice your dog pawing at their face frequently, seek a vet’s advice before turning to medicated eye drops for dogs — or any sorts of washes or ointments.

3. Dealing with dog eye allergies

As Dogster‘s own resident veterinarian, Dr. Eric Barchas has written, “allergies are not a terribly common cause of eye problems in dogs.” Nonetheless, they can occur, and, like my own dog’s eye health issue, tend to be most frequent in the summer months. Like the two conditions we’ve described above, inflammation, redness and watery discharge in one or both of a dog’s eyes might be the result of an environmental allergen or irritant.

Dr. Barchas also notes that the vast majority of canine allergies are, in the first place, caused by fleas, and, in the second, manifest themselves in irritated skin and relentless scratching. Have you started using a different kind of cleaner in the house? Just switched to a scented cat litter in a room where your dog also spends time? Did you just give your dog a bath using a new shampoo? For dogs dealing with a newly arisen eye problem, try to rule out external causes before potentially causing the dog extra difficulties with medicated eye drops or washes.

The bottom line: Don’t use your eye drops as eye drops for dogs and consult a vet with questions!

After three years of writing about dog health issues, I’ve learned two essential things that every dog owner should internalize at the earliest opportunity: Take a moment every day to really look at your dog. During one stretch, I did so many pieces on dog digestive problems, that I made a habit of watching Baby poop as a barometer of her overall health. It wasn’t until I noticed the warning signs of a possible eye infection that I started doing a quick check on her ocular health every morning, too.

The second: Human medications, even “baby” or “child” varieties of popular, name-brand, over-the-counter formulas, can do more harm than good to our dogs. For any minor health issue lasting two days or fewer, there is almost always a simpler, non-medicinal solution that dog owners can turn to. If there’s a longer-term problem your dog is dealing with, or one you fear is developing, your dog’s vet will be glad to suggest the proper eye drops for dogs or eye medications for dogs — ointments, wipes, antibiotics or whatever is prudent— and their proper usage, or direct you to a canine ophthalmologist!

Having trouble giving your dog eye medication? Head here for tips >>

Thumbnail: Photography by fotoedu/Thinkstock.

This piece was originally published in 2017.

About the author

Melvin Peña is a writer, editor, and social media manager who spends most of his time in Durham, North Carolina. His interests include his dog, Baby (of course!), art, hiking, urban farming and karaoke.

Read more about dog eye issues on Dogster.com:

The post Can You Use Human OTC Eye Drops for Dogs? by Melvin Peña appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Help! My Dog Ate ChristmasHelp! My Dog Ate Christmas

The post Help! My Dog Ate Christmas by Dr. Catherine Ashe appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Winter holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year for humans and canines alike! Despite the seasonal merriment however, be aware of particular hazards that can occur. Dogs are curious and love to try out new, tasty treats (food and otherwise), and this season has an abundance of them. Unfortunately, some of them can turn your holiday into a disaster.

Not-so-tasty treats

Chocolate is a beloved holiday tradition. It’s not uncommon for a well-meaning loved one to wrap chocolates and place them under the tree. Your dog WILL sniff them out and devour them! Keep all food gifts well out of reach.

Fruit cakes containing raisins, sultanas and currants are not for canine consumption! Raisins, grapes and dried versions of them can cause kidney failure and should never be fed to dogs.

Xylitol is a commonly used artificial sweetener for humans. In dogs, it causes a severe drop in blood glucose and can also cause liver failure. Xylitol can be found in candies, gums and baked goods.

Turkey carcasses and ham bones are frequent leftovers from holiday festivities. Dispose of these safely to avoid accidental ingestion, which can lead to GI upset or, in more severe cases, pancreatitis and obstruction. While it’s tempting to include our dogs in the holiday meal, many foods are too fatty, salty or otherwise unhealthy for canines. As a result, it’s better to let them enjoy their own foods. If you must share a bit of the festive feast, skinless turkey meat, egg, green beans, peas and carrots can all be offered safely.

Problem plants

Poinsettia, mistletoe and Christmas trees are not as toxic as frequently advertised, but they can cause irritation and ulcers in the mouth and GI tract. The symptoms may include drooling and reluctance to eat due to mouth pain.

Holly berries, while technically toxic, are not life-threatening. In most cases, they cause self-limiting vomiting and diarrhea.

what dogs can't eat

Dangerous decorations

Salt ornaments are a particularly serious risk. Ingestion of one of these can lead to dangerously high sodium levels. This is a true emergency.

Christmas lights, glass ornaments and hooks are all at risk of being eaten by the curious canine. Surprisingly, many of these can pass through the gastrointestinal tract and cause no damage. Despite this fact, any ingestion of these objects requires an immediate trip to the veterinarian.

Ribbons on gifts can pose a surprising threat. If ingested, they can cause obstruction of the stomach and/or small intestine. Keep all wrappings, particularly ribbons, away from your dog.

Preventing and solving holiday disasters

So, if you’re enjoying Christmas morning, and you notice your dog has ingested something, what should you do?

While a quick Google search is perfectly fine, do not let it replace professional help. And, do not attempt to induce vomiting at home. Hydrogen peroxide is a frequently recommended emetic, but administered incorrectly, it can lead to severe ulceration of the mouth, throat and stomach. Further, some objects such as glass, hooks and caustic substances, should NOT be vomited.

The ASPCA offers the poison control hotline for pets (888-426-4435). For a fee, you will be connected with a veterinarian who can recommend next steps. If veterinary care is advised, keep in mind that most general practice offices are closed on Christmas day. As a result, you will be seeking care at an emergency hospital. The fees associated with emergency hospitals are often higher than day practices, as a result of 24/7 availability and staff trained in handling a variety of emergencies.

With a little preparation and forethought, most of these unfortunate accidents can be avoided.

Helpful holiday tips:

  • Do not put dog crates near trees, Christmas decorations or gifts that could be reached through the bars.
  • Do not place any wrapped food items underneath the Christmas tree. Keep these on the counter,
    out of reach.
  • Floral Christmas décor should be high enough that canine noses
    can’t encounter it.
  • Only share lean meats and vegetables from the table, if you must. Avoid sugary and salty foods, and never offer raisins, grapes, currants, onions, garlic or chocolate. 

Read Next: Can Dogs Eat Onions? If Your Dog Ate Onions, What Do You Do?

The post Help! My Dog Ate Christmas by Dr. Catherine Ashe appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

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