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How to give eye medication to dogs

Before you administer the medication to your dog, make sure you are familiar with how to make the drops or ointment come out as the design of bottles and tubes can vary

One of the most common ways to treat eye conditions is by using eye drops or ointment. 

Only use the products your vet has advised in your pet’s eyes as some drops and ointments, over-the-counter medications for humans can make some eye problems worse.

Before you administer the medication to your pet, make sure you are familiar with how to make the drops or ointment come out as the design of bottles and tubes can vary. Also check how much you need to apply. 

If your pet’s eye is painful or itchy, they might not like anyone touching the area. If they are anxious or defensive and moving away from your hands, or trying to bite or scratch you, it can be difficult to apply eye medication precisely. If you’ve ever had eye medication yourself, you’ll know that it can feel strange to have drops or ointment in your eyes, and pets can feel the same way. 

You can ask your vet or nurse to show you how to give your pet eye medication before you return home to do it by yourself.

How to put ointment into dogs’ eyes

As part of their general training, and ahead of the need to give any form of medication, it’s a great idea to use positive reinforcement to teach your pet that handling them to administer treatments isn’t anything to worry about. 

  1. If you haven’t already taught your dog to let you give them eye medication, you might need to use mild restraint to keep them still. If you have a helper who can give your dog treats to keep them focussed, that may be enough. Make sure your dog is wearing their lead, just in case they move away. If your dog is nervous or if you think they might try to bite you, pop a suitable-sized muzzle on them. It’s safer to use a well-fitting muzzle, get the treatment done quickly, and then return to normal activities, than it is to try to administer eye ointment to a dog who’s snapping at you when you get close to their face. 

  2. Stand or kneel beside your dog, on the side as their affected eye and facing the same direction as your dog. Place one hand gently under their chin to keep them steady and raise their nose slightly

  3. Hold the open tube or bottle of medication in the other hand using the same grip you would use to hold a pen. Rest the base of the hand holding the medication on top of your dog’s head, with the tip of the tube or bottle poised above the eye requiring treatment. 

  4. With the same hand, gently draw the skin above the eye towards the top and middle of their head. This will raise their upper eyelid up and expose more of the surface of their eye. You won’t need to touch the eyelid.

  5. Keeping your hand still, gently squeeze the tube or bottle and allow the prescribed dose of medication to drop gently onto the surface of the eye. 

  6. Immediately reward your dog with something tasty or offer them something fun to do.

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