Home Remedies for Styes on Dogs' Eyelids

Most of us have had a stye on our eyelid at one time or another. It's amazing how something so small can hurt so much. You just want it gone. Whether the stye is on your eyelid or your dog's eyelid, care must be taken to help it heal naturally. The best thing you can do for your dog is to keep his eyes clean. The worst thing you can do is to try to pop his stye.

Close up of unrecognizable vet putting medical drops into dog's eye.
Home Remedies for Styes on Dogs' Eyelids
credit: skynesher/E+/GettyImages

Dog eye styes

A dog eye stye is pretty much the same as a human eye stye. It's an infection that shows up as a red, painful bump on your dog's eyelid or looks like a pimple on your dog's eyelid. A stye won't impair your dog's vision, but it will hurt a lot.

One important difference between a human stye and a dog stye is that a dog eye stye is not contagious. However, human eye styes are highly contagious. Neither pets nor humans can get a stye from a dog who has one.

Some signs that your dog is in pain are antisocial or aggressive behavior, not eating, shaking, or trembling. Your dog may rub his eye with his paws or rub his face against the floor or furniture. While most styes heal on their own, there are some home remedies you can use to speed up the process and alleviate the pain.

Home remedies

Warm compresses can help reduce swelling and therefore pain. They soften the stye and the pus inside it, which can encourage drainage. Soak a soft washcloth in warm water, squeeze enough out so that it's not dripping, and gently hold it on your dog's eyelid. Do this for about five minutes three or four times a day. Talking or singing softly and rubbing her belly will help keep her calm and still while you do this. You might even lull her to sleep.

Another type of compress is the tea bag. A tea bag compress is applied when the soaked tea bag is cool to the touch. Chamomile is a good choice because it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Fifteen minutes a couple of times a day is optimal, but if your dog won't be still for that long, try doing it three or four times a day for five to 10 minutes. You can also just dip a cotton ball in a cup of cooled brewed tea and apply it to her eyelid for several minutes four times a day.

A coriander seed infusion can help soothe the sore eyelid. The ratio is one teaspoon of whole coriander seeds to one cup of water. Boil it and then let it cool. Use it as an eyewash four times a day. Coriander contains cineole and linoleic acid, which can help reduce swelling.

Tumeric contains curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can actually use a tumeric mixture as eye drops if your dog will let you. Add one tablespoon of tumeric powder to two cups of water. Boil it and keep boiling it until you have about a cup of liquid left, and then let it cool. It is very important to strain it through cheesecloth before you use it.

In addition to any of these remedies, try rinsing the eye with over-the-counter artificial tears like Systane or Refresh Tears. Styes are often reactions to irritants like bacteria and dead skin cells. Rinsing this stuff away can only help.

What not to do

Never try to pop a dog's eye stye. It will cause him an enormous amount of pain. He could wind up with a worse problem if you don't get all of the pus out and some of it retreats further into his eyelid.

Don't force any treatment on your dog. Be sensitive and responsive to his level of tolerance for any home remedy. For example, he may not tolerate the coriander or tumeric remedies simply because of the smell.

The part of a dog's brain that controls smell is 40 times larger than the part of our brain that controls smell. Their sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than ours. Something that smells mild to us may be overwhelming to him.

Don't despair if your dog won't let you near his eye at all. With no treatment, a stye will heal on its own somewhere between four and 14 days.