If your dog is suffering from an eye infection or irritation, you can pick up an over-the-counter eye ointment for your pup. However, it is never a good idea to treat eye conditions without first consulting your vet. While over-the-counter eye drops for dogs aren't likely to cause harm, they may not be the correct treatment for your pup's problem.
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Veterinary diagnosis of eye conditions
It can be tempting to try an over-the-counter eye ointment for your dog to see if it works before taking him to the vet. While this may seem like a cost-saving and time-saving option, it can cause long-term problems depending on the cause of the eye condition. For example, acute glaucoma can come on suddenly, and if your dog doesn't receive proper treatment during the first 12 to 24 hours, he may lose his vision completely.
Avoid complications and vision loss by always consulting with your veterinarian about any eye problems to make sure that an over-the-counter option is the best treatment for your pup.
Terramycin for dogs
Terramycin is an antibiotic eye ointment for dogs. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that contains oxytetracycline hydrochloride and polymyxin B sulfate and eradicates both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. This ointment is a common dog conjunctivitis treatment that you can get over the counter without a veterinary prescription. It may also be prescribed to treat corneal ulcers, blepharitis, keratitis, and eye infections that occur along with other diseases, such as distemper.
Saline eye drops for dogs
Saline eye drops or eyewashes are safe to purchase over the counter and use on your pup, but they won't treat infections and may do little to reduce redness or dryness. The best way to use a saline eyewash is to clean dirt or debris from your dog's eye. This is especially useful if you hunt with your dog or participate in other activities where your pup runs through brush and vegetation. Occasionally washing the eyes with saline can also help to clean the normal eye gunk that dogs get in the corners of the eye.
However, if your pup continues to have irritation after using saline, be sure to take him to the vet. The problem may not be dirt in the eye but rather a scratch on the cornea that needs additional treatment.
Human eye drops for dogs
In general, you should not use eye drops or ointments formulated for humans on your dog. Human eye drops contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog, even in small amounts. Other products may be safe but always check with your veterinarian before using them on your pup.
How to apply eye ointment
Putting eye ointment or drops in your dog's eye can be a challenge. An easy way to secure your dog's head is to position yourself behind her. With one hand, hold the eye ointment applicator and rest your wrist or arm on top of your pup's head. Wrap your other hand under her chin with your fingers extending toward the eye so that you can pull the lower lid down with your thumb or fingers.
With the lid pulled down, apply the recommended number of drops inside the lower lid. Follow the package instructions or your veterinarian's recommendations for the dosage. The eye drop or ointment is distributed across the eye when your dog blinks.
Make sure that this process is a positive experience for your pup, as administering eye medication is rarely a one-time event. Ask for help holding your dog if necessary, as you don't want to cause further irritation or injury by poking her eye with the applicator. Stay calm and patient and once you apply the eye ointment, offer loads of praise and even a treat as a reward.