Eye problems are surprisingly common in dogs. From conjunctivitis to eye ulcers, dogs are prone to various eye conditions that require treatment. As such, it’s helpful to know which human eye drop brands are safe for dogs — and how to use them correctly.
While it is crucial to consult your veterinarian, pet owners should be aware of safe remedies for common illnesses in dogs when veterinary advice isn’t readily available.
This comprehensive guide will discuss what human eye drops are safe for dogs and how they can be administered to temporarily relieve your beloved pet.
Can You Use Human Eye Drops on Dogs?
You may be tempted to administer human eye drops to your dogs if you see their discomfort from itchy, red eyes. After all, if human eye drops provide relief to your eyes from the same allergies your dog suffers from, the drops must be safe, right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most common and over-the-counter (OTC) human eye drops are not safe for dogs. Most human eye drops contain an ingredient called Tetrahydozoline hydrochloride.
This compound is safe for humans but not for dogs, as it contracts their blood vessels and can lead to severe (and costly) health complications.
Medicines containing Tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride are also not FDA-approved for animals, including dogs. Another common ingredient in human eye drops is naphazoline which is also toxic for dogs.
Generally speaking, pet owners must refrain from giving human medication to their dogs without the explicit approval of their veterinarian.
If your dog contracted an eye illness in the past and your vet recommended specific human eye drops, then you can use that brand in an emergency. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid using OTC human eye drops.
Which Human Eye Drops Are Safe for Dogs?
Saline eye drops and artificial tears are inexpensive and easy ways to temporarily relieve your dog from mild conditions like dry or itchy eyes.
Saline drops are over-the-counter drops readily available from any pharmacy. Families likely have saline drops in their medicine cabinet as they are used to treat stuffy noses and conjunctivitis in children.
You can also make your own saline drops by mixing a pinch of table salt with warm water. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and use it to wipe your dog’s eyes gently. You can repeat this process several times throughout the day for quick relief.
Artificial tear eye drops are gel-based drops used to lubricate eyes when they have become itchy and swollen. Almost all artificial tears contain ingredients safe for humans and dogs. Therefore, they are safe to use if your dog has dry eyes from allergies, heat waves, or similar afflictions.
Ozone-based eye drops are also safe for dogs. Studies claim that ozone-based human eye drops are safe for treating viral, bacterial, and allergic infections in dogs and are useful in promoting corneal health.
These drops greatly reduce discomfort and pain. However, you must consult your veterinarian before administering any drop to your dog.
Human Eye Drop Brands That Are Safe for Dogs
1. Viscotears Liquid Gel Eye Drops
As the name implies, Viscotears is an artificial tear eye drop designed to lubricate eyes when they have become dry. While it is intended for humans, it is safe for cats and dogs.
Viscotears will not treat viral or bacterial eye infections; they will only relieve itching, redness, and pain caused by dry eyes. Viscotears is available over-the-counter and does not require a prescription.
2. Refresh Eye drops
Refresh eye drops are another option to consider if you’re looking for over-the-counter eye drops to treat your dog’s dry eyes. This brand claims that its eye drops are preservative-free and can help hydrate and soothe irritation caused by dry eyes in humans and dogs.
3. Miracle Care Sterile Eye Wash
If your dog’s eye has minor irritation, rinsing their eyes with a sterile eye wash can help get rid of the dirt or debris inside and provide relief. Miracle Care Sterile Eye Wash is a safe option available over the counter anywhere in the country.
4. Ozodrop Eye Drops
Ozodrop is made of ozonated vegetable oil and is popularly used for lubrication to soothe irritated eyes. While these eye drops have been manufactured for humans, they are safe for dogs in a pinch.
5. Terramycin Antibiotic Ointment
Terramycin antibiotic ointment is an antibiotic explicitly designed for dogs and is readily available in pharmacies. It contains active ingredients such as oxytetracycline hydrochloride and Polymyxin B Sulfate that help treat eye infections in dogs.
Other diseases it helps treat include conjunctivitis, blepharitis, keratitis, pink eye, corneal ulcers, and bacterial inflammatory conditions. You will need a prescription from your vet to get the ointment.
Dorzolamide is a prescription eye medication used for dogs and cats with glaucoma. However, it is only available by prescription, so you’ll need to speak with your veterinarian.
Understanding Common Eye Conditions in Dogs
Dogs of all ages and breeds are prone to eye illnesses.
Eye conditions can affect a dog at any stage of life, and if left untreated, they can lead to severe concerns including vision loss. Therefore, dog owners should prioritize preventative care and timely treatment.
Eye infections, injuries, and other eye-related issues can be excruciatingly painful for dogs and often rapidly progress. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for eye-sickness symptoms like infected discharge to cause secondary infections, worsening your dog’s health and intensifying their discomfort.
Experts recommend that dog owners take the first signs of eye-related illnesses as their cue to book an appointment with the veterinarian.
Here are a few common eye ailments in dogs:
1. Dry Eyes
Dry eyes, also referred to as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, are an autoimmune condition commonly found in dogs as well as humans. Dryness happens when the tear ducts do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eyes. This can occur when the tear gland’s ability to produce enough tears is blocked or hindered.
Symptoms include irritated, red, and painful eyes. Your dog may also squint or blink excessively. You might notice a thick, yellowish, and mucoid discharge. If left untreated, chronic dry eye can cause ulcers and infections.
Saline water, artificial tears, and ozonated liquid gel eye drops are safe options to treat dry eyes in dogs. Moreover, we recommend preventative measures, such as dog goggles for the outdoors.
2. Eye Infections
Typical symptoms include your dog’s eyes weeping, excessive watering, swelling or redness in the eyes, or white, yellow, or green discharge from the eye.
In this case, your veterinarian will prescribe dog eye infection drops that may need to be applied every hour to eliminate the infection. If left untreated, eye infections can spread or even lead to vision loss.
So, make sure you consult with your vet if you suspect your dog has an eye infection.
3. Eye Allergies
Allergic conjunctivitis refers to the inflammation of the eyes caused by allergens.
Dogs can be allergic to various things, such as certain foods, dust, pollen, or mold. Symptoms of eye allergies in dogs include redness, swelling, itchiness, and tearing up more than usual.
Since there are so many causes of eye allergies in dogs, treatment may vary depending on the cause. However, treatment usually includes removing irritants, antihistamine eye drops, topical anti-inflammatory eye drops, or in some cases, surgery.
Consult your vet, as these are all prescription medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
We do not recommend giving your dog human eye drops without consulting a licensed veterinarian. Most human eye drops are not safe for dogs, so it’s best not to make assumptions.
Yes, Refresh eye drops are safe for dogs. They are used to soothe dry eyes by providing moisture and are made of safe ingredients like purified water and boric acid.
Artificial tears, saline water eye drops, and ozone-based eye drops are generally safe for dogs.
Visine eye drops are commonly prescribed to humans for redness and itchiness in their eyes. While this product is effective for humans, it is not safe for dogs. It contains Tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, which is harmful to dogs and can lead to permanent eye damage.
No, most human eye drops are not suitable for dogs. They can cause further complications, which may lead to vision loss. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has eye problems.
Conclusion for “What Human Eye Drop Brands Are Safe for Dogs”
Most human eye drops are not safe for dogs. Pet owners must take their dogs to the veterinarian at the first sign of eye-related problems. If your dog’s eyes are watery, red, itchy, and swollen, and you see gunk accumulating in the corner of their eyes more than usual, it is time to take them to the vet.
Don’t be tempted to administer over-the-counter human eye drops to your dog. Some ingredients in human eye drops are toxic for dogs and can lead to severe complications. Saline water, artificial tears, and ozone-based eye drops are safe alternatives that can relieve the symptoms of dry eyes in dogs.
As a rule of thumb, you should never give your dog any medicine without consulting your vet first. If you notice any symptoms of eye disease in your consultation, book an appointment with your vet immediately for timely diagnosis and treatment.
If you find this guide, “What Human Eye Drop Brands Are Safe for Dogs” helpful, check out:
- Lazy Eye in Dogs: What is it and How to Fix it? (2023)
- Why Is the White Part of My Dog’s Eye Brown? (2023)
- Do Dogs Open Their Eyes Underwater? (2023)
Learn more by watching “Can I Give My Dog Human Eye Drops?” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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