If you are struggling to get your dog to sit still for their much-needed eyedrops you have come to the right place. Here are tips, tricks and all the information you’ll need to get the job done.
Why Do Dogs Hate Eye Drops?
Dogs hate eye drops because all animals will instinctually protect their eye from any foreign substances and we are unable to tell them that their eye drops are meant to help them.
How Do I Train (Counter Condition / Desensitize) My Dog To Not Hate Eye Drops?
The most effective way to administer eye drops to a dog that is less than keen is to sit behind them and do it with them facing away.
This is because they have less fear when they can not see you approach with the eye drops and have less time to react and get upset or anxious.
So here is how you do it:
- Sit down with your dog with them facing away from you, make sure they are comfortable and relaxed.
- Then, as quickly as you can without scaring them, gently but firmly grab their chin and squirt the intended amount of solution into each eye.
- After this be sure to give them ample amounts of treats and affection for being so brave and overcoming their fear after they have calmed down.
What Not To Do With A Dog Who Hates Eye Drops?
Don’t do anything that will frighten or hurt them any more than necessary, as this will make them more likely to lash out when they need to be administered.
An example of this would be trying to hold them down in an uncomfortable position. Or keeping them constrained even after you have applied the eye drops
At the same time, you have to find the right balance between not making them uncomfortable but also getting the job done.
If you let them get away with squirming out of their eye drops it will only make it more difficult for you in future.
Should You Comfort A Dog Hates Eye Drops?
Unfortunately, it isn’t a very good idea to comfort your dog after getting their eye drops.
This is because when you comfort a dog when they are scared or nervous, to them, it feels like you are rewarding them for that behaviour.
This means that they are far more likely to act that way in order to gain treats and affection instead of knowing that overcoming those behaviors will be rewarded.
What Exactly About Eye Drops Does My Dog Hate (The Smell? Look? Noise? Sounds? Vibrations?)
Dogs like most of the rest of us hate eyedrops because anything going in your eyes is uncomfortable and goes against every self-preservation instinct we have.
They also do not like them simply because they don’t know what they are or why they are getting put in their eyes. They don’t understand that eye drops are supposed to help them.
My Dog Is Getting An Increasingly Dislike Of Eye Drops?
If your dog’s fear or dislike of eye drops hasn’t improved even though they have been getting them for a while it may be time to change tactics.
Instead of trying to put in the eye drops from behind them, you can try the good old chin in lap method.
For this method, you lure their head into your lap using treats, and then when they have laid their head down, you come in from the side with their eye drops.
This can work for more wary dogs as they can still see you out of their peripheral vision but it’s not as intimidating as the eye drops coming in from the front.
Are Eye Drops Dangerous To Dogs?
Eye drops given by your vet will be perfectly safe for your dog and will help clear up whatever eye issues they may be having.
However, you should never give your dog eye drops made for humans as ingredients in them can be dangerous for dogs.
Giving your dog human eye drops can result in serious pain, significant damage and even blindness.
Another way that eye drops may be dangerous for your dogs is if you don’t apply them properly and hygienically or use expired eye drops.
Best Alternative To Eye Drops For Dogs?
The best and really only alternative to eye drops for your dog would be a topical ointment for the eye.
These can be a little easier and less stressful for both the owner and the dog as a topical ointment doesn’t have to be applied as often.
How Do You Give Eye Drops To An Uncooperative Dog?
It takes a lot of patience and care to give an uncooperative dog eye drops.
You can still follow them from behind or from the side methods like before but you may have to be a little sneakier and have a lot more treats on stand by.
When your dog starts being uncooperative or tries to get away hold them in position but don’t try to give them their eye drops while you do this.
After they have calmed down give them a long-lasting treat (like a chew stick) and then quickly try again, this will hopefully distract them enough to be able to get the eye drops in
How Do You Give An Aggressive Dog Eye Drops?
The best way to give an aggressive dog eye drops is to not do it yourself if you don’t have professional training, bring them to a vet or someone who specialises with aggressive dogs.
If the vet is closed or you can’t bring them to a professional your best bet is to muzzle your dog so you can administer the eye drops.
It may not be very comfortable but it is better than them biting you and having to be put down.
How Can I Get Medicine In My Dogs Eye?
- Take the ointment or drops in between your index finger and thumb and find a comfortable position on the dog’s head to rest the rest of your hand in order to stabilise it.
- Use the thumb and index finger on your other hand to gently hold open both the upper and lower eyelids.
- (A) If you are using an ointment place the prescribed amount in the inner eye near the lower lid.
- Give your dog a treat to reward them for being so brave during what is a very scary experience.
(B) If you are using eye drops aim for the center of the eye when applying the prescribed amount of drops. In both cases be sure you never actually touch the eye with thé bottle or tube.
Can You Buy Antibiotic Eye Drops For Dogs Over The Counter?
If you are treating your dog from home for conjunctivitis or other eye infections you can get Terramycin ointment for dogs over the counter without a prescription from a vet.
Terramycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can also be used to treat things such as corneal ulcers, keratitis and blepharitis.
What Is Dog Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as ‘pink eye’ in humans, is an eye infection in the conjunctiva, a mucus membrane that covers your dog’s eye and eyelid.
It can present in a number of ways, including pawing at the eye, excessive blinking or squinting, redness, eye swelling and green or clear discharge coming from the eye.
If left untreated conjunctivitis can cause permanent damage to the eye and vision problem, so if you notice these symptoms please see your vet immediately, even if the case is very mild.
What Kind Of Eye Drops Can I Use On My Dog?
Here is a list of the most common eye treatments used for dogs and their purpose:
- Eyewashes – While not a drop or an ointment, eyewashes are saline solutions sold over the counter to wash dirt or debris that can end up in the eye and soothe them.
- Steroid eye medication – This is prescribed to help with inflammation, swelling and dryness in the eyes, a vet prescription is needed for these.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops – also prescribed to treat inflammation, these are usually used in recovery for a multitude of conditions as opposed to being a treatment in itself.
- Antibiotic eye drops/ointments – These are used to treat infections in the eyes, like conjunctivitis.
- Combination eye drops – These are used when a dog needs a multitude of treatments so they are combined into one solution to minimize stress for the dog regarding the application, they are usually a mix of antibiotics and steroidal eye drops.
Dog Tries To Bite When Giving Eye Drops?
Dogs can end up trying to bite or lash out when they are scared, this is a normal fear reaction in dogs and doesn’t necessarily mean that a dog is aggressive.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the necessary precautions when handling a dog who may bite while trying to give them their eye drops.
It is best to see a professional to have this done or at least have a professional teach you the safe way to administer the eye drops at home to the bitey dog.
How To Hold A Dog For Eye Drops
You will want to rest the palm of the hand that is holding the eyedrops on the top of their head while cupping the other side of their face and under their chin with your other hand.
If your dog is squirmy it may be a good idea to kneel behind them with your knees on either side of their body with slight pressure.
You shouldn’ät be applying enough pressure to be squeezing them or making them feel very constrained but just enough pressure to be firm.
Is It Safe To Use Eye Drops For A Dog?
Unmedicated eye drops that are designed specifically for dogs are completely safe to use as long as they are in date unless your vet says otherwise.
Medicated eye drops are different in the sense that yes they are safe for your dog but they shouldn’t be used unless necessary and prescribed by your vet.
Under no circumstance should you ever use eye drops that are designed for humans or any other animal though, only eye drops made for dogs are safe for dogs to use.
What Happens If I Put My Eyedrops Into My Dog’s Ear?
Thankfully eye drops are usually just a saline solution and a few drops will do no harm to your dog.
Excess water in the ears can be a problem for dogs though so if you accidentally make this mistake do not try to rinse out the eye drops.
Just a few drops of the solution will make their way out on their own so you don’t have to worry, if you are concerned though you can use a cotton ball to very gently clean out their ear.
If you pout any sort of medicated eye drops in your dog’s ear that you are uncertain about though, bringing them to the vet will do no harm.
How Can I Restrain My Dog (Eye Drops/Ointment)?
If you really can not get your dog to sit still no matter how hard you try and they have to be given too often to have your vet do it, you may have to resort to restraining your dog.
You can do this by using something like a groomers helper (A very short lead with clips on either side so you can secure the dogs head from moving around).
Just attach one end of the groomer helper to their collar and the other end to something sturdy and use your knees from behind to secure their body.