Every dog owner or lover will tell you the same thing: that their dog is part of their family and will do anything to keep it happy and healthy. Man’s relationship with dogs is a very, very long one, dating back to the dawn of humanity. We trained dogs to be our guards and hunting partners, but ended up with life-long friends and partners, which would go to extreme lengths to ensure our well-being. Which is why when something ails our furry house mates, we try to find quick and painless remedies.
One of the diseases dogs face today is conjunctivitis. And when our dog gets it, our first reaction is to rush to the vet. But there are other, more natural ways, to treat this ailment, easier and using home-made remedies. But before we list them here, we need to answer a few questions regarding the disease itself, in order to better understand what we and our four-legged buddies are up against.
- Can dogs get conjunctivitis? It might seem redundant, but the truth is very few people know about this disease in dogs and even less can recognize it. That’s partly due to the fact that we don’t normally tend to associate human diseases with dogs. But they do suffer from it and on a much larger scale than you think. It’s also called ‘pink eye’ and affects dogs at any age, normally in one eye, but it can spread to both. And while we’re on the subject, conjunctivitis affects cats as well.
- Is it transmittable to other dogs/humans? That depends on the type of conjunctivitis your dog has. See listed below the different types. This means that if he has the viral type, it won’t be contagious to you, but it will be to other dogs, so you will need to keep him in quarantine. If your dog has the bacterial kind, it will be contagious to both humans and other dogs. This is why it’s best to know all about the disease and its forms.
- What are the symptoms and consequences? The most common symptoms to watch for when you suspect your dog might be suffering from pink eye are: redness, puffy eyelids, discharges, unusually watery eyes, squinting, eyelids that stick together or simply if the animal keeps pawing at his eyes, which is a clear sign something is definitely wrong, he is itchy or in pain. As far as consequences go, if treated it will go away soon enough, but if left unattended, it might lead to blindness.
- What breeds are most prone to dog eye infection? No definitive researches have been made and the disease itself is not forgiving, meaning that it affects all dogs. However, there are some breeds that seem to get it more than others. Dogs with sagging skin have this problem, because their eyelids are naturally deformed. Some breeds in this category are pugs, shar peis, bulldogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs, bloodhounds, Pekingese or bullmastiffs. In the same way, long and narrow faced breeds suffer from this issue more than others. Collies, Afghan Hounds, Greyhounds or Irish Wolfhounds are some of them.
There are several types of conjunctivitis, caused by different factors and which manifest in different ways. Make sure to do some research online before you start the treatment. Read articles and look at pictures.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction and it’s usually seasonal. It’s the least worrying strain of this disease and it’s not contagious at all. The allergy is caused by pollen, house dust, mold, dander, certain cosmetics and perfumes that are not suited for dogs or by drugs. It can also be follicular, as certain dogs can get hairs in their eyes, which they can never remove. This will cause infections and pink eye.
- Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and, unfortunately, it spreads with extreme ease. Also, it takes up to three weeks to get cured, so be on the look-out from the first symptoms. It may be the result of a cold, a sore throat or an upper respiratory infection
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is also a highly contagious type, caused by either a streptococcus or a staphylococcus.
When it comes to treating the disease itself, it’s best to take into consideration all the different types. That’s because they require different treatments. Also, try to stick to natural remedies, as opposed to drugs and chemicals, except for the bacterial type which needs antibiotics. Apart from that, here is how to treat conjunctivitis in dogs, while at home.
- Cold compresses – works as a dog conjunctivitis treatment for both allergic and viral types. They’re very important as they solve a whole array of issues: they calm the itching and reduce the scratching, they can ease the pain, reduce irritation and lessen the swollen eyelids, as well as cleaning the eye of impurities, tears and puss. Natural ingredients you can use to make cold compresses for your dog’s affected eye are black tea, calamine or horsetail. You must remember to do your homework before you apply anything plant-based to the little furry one’s eyes, because, unlike us, a lot of plants are actually toxic to them. Clean the affected areas three times a day using a clean piece of cloth every time. Try to make your dog keep them on for at least five minutes so that they can be effective.
- Vitamins – There are a number of vitamins which can be used as a dog conjunctivitis home treatment. Quercetin, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C and Zinc are among them. They also help prevent diseases such as pink eye, so inserting them in your dog’s food is always a good idea. You can also add Bioflavonoids and Pycnogenois, which will ensure your dog stays healthy and happy in a simple and natural way.
- Herbal medicine – just like anything that comes from nature is better for us humans to get healthy again than something cooked up in a lab, it’s the same way with dogs. Instead of introducing pills into their system when you spot the pink eye symptoms, try administrating orally or squirting into their eyes liquid forms of remedies such as: aloe vera, chamomile tea, green tea, eyebright tea or herbal eye tonic, which is given orally. You may, for example, use artificial tears rich in aloe vera extract. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, which make it perfect for treating such ailments as conjunctivitis.
- Homeopathy – This approach has gained more and more followers in the past years. It’s natural, home-made and inexpensive, so it’s easy to understand why. But, just the same way you would use it on yourself, you can use it on your dog who is currently suffering from the pains associated with conjunctivitis. There are three homeopathic treatments recommended in this case: for mild conjunctivitis, you can use apis miel. It’s a natural compound, produced by Honey Bees, which can be successfully used to treat swellings, insect bites, red eyes, burning, stinging pains, hives or snake bites. 85 per cent of the people who have used it say it has worked wonders on their ailments. The second homeopathic treatment for you to try is destined for the yellow-green discharge that can leak out of your animal’s eye and it’s called pulsatilla. It’s a group of plants that includes the most famous one, the Pasqueflower or Windflower. The first time this plant was proven efficient was back in 1805 and since then it has been successfully used to treat a wide range of disturbances, such as: night terrors, menstrual cramps, PMS, venous problems, the flushes associated with menopause and discharges. The idea behind the plant is that it has mild sedative effects, and that it fights off bacteria. That’s why it’s perfect for conjunctivitis. And the third homeopathic treatment for conjunctivitis in dogs you can use is Silicea, which helps against swelling of the eyelids. Also called the “homeopathic surgical knife” in veterinary medicine, it will push foreign bodies and splinters to the surface, suppurate and then cure boils and abscesses in animals, unblock tear ducts, salivary glands and sties. You can purchase a piece of silicea, which comes in the shape of a rock formation, and use it on your dog if he displays signs of pink eye.
- Mixes and concoctions – there are different concoctions you can easily make at home and successfully use to treat your dog’s pink eye. For example, here is one of those recipes. Boil two cups of filtered water. Pour 1 cup of chamomile in and let it cool down until it reaches room temperature. After that, strain the tea, while making sure no debris is left behind. Take two shot glasses, pour the chamomile tea in one of them and apple cider vinegar in the other. Make sure they’re both very clean, because you don’t want any more germs in your dog’s eyes. Dip a cotton ball in each. Rub the one dipped in chamomile tea on the animal’s eyes making sure some drops get in there and the one dipped in vinegar on his paws, neck and behind the ears. The vinegar is too strong to be applied directly to the eyes, but by rubbing, the dog will make sure the right amount of the bacteria killing vinegar will find its way towards the infected eye in a natural way.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about dog conjunctivitis, complete with home remedies. Remember that it can be prevented as well, by not exposing your dog to pollen, copious amounts of house dust or cosmetics meant for humans and not for him.