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First Aid for Canine Eye Injuries

If your dog’s eye looks abnormal, action is required.

Eye injuries in dogs require immediate attention. Waiting can jeopardize your dog's eyesight. Below are a few situations you may encounter involving your dog's eyes and what you can do to render first aid until you can get to a veterinarian.

Signs of Eye Problems in Dogs

The following signs all indicate that your dog has a problem with his eye(s) that needs attention:

  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Redness of the whites of one or both eyes
  • Abnormal ocular discharge of any kind
  • Excessive tearing from one or both eyes
  • Pawing at the eye(s) or rubbing the face on items
  • Bulging eyeball(s)

First Aid for Debris in a Dog's Eye

If you see foreign debris in your dog's eye, you will need to try and flush it out if your dog is cooperative.

If your dog appears to be threatening to bite by putting his ears back, snarling, pulling his lips back, or snapping, do not proceed. Take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic. Sedation may be required.

  • Wrap your pet in a towel or blanket to help restrain him.
  • Flush the affected eye(s) copiously with sterile saline solution (do not use contact lens solution).
  • Call your veterinarian right away. Your dog's eye will need to be checked for corneal ulcers caused by the foreign debris.

First Aid for a Cut on Your Dog's Eyelid

If your dog's eyelid has been lacerated, you can gently cleanse it before heading to the veterinarian if your dog is cooperative.

  • Wrap your dog in a blanket or towel to help keep him calm.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the affected eyelid with clean gauze soaked in sterile saline. Don't rub on the wound.
  • If the eyelid is so severely lacerated that part of it appears to be hanging off, you may use a clean piece of gauze and some tape to cover the eyelid with the eye closed.
  • Do not put any ointment on the wound or in the eye.
  • Head to the veterinary clinic.

Never place any medication into or around your dog's eye without speaking to a veterinarian. Some medications can be harmful during certain eye conditions.

First Aid for Canine Eyeball Laceration

If your dog's eyeball has been cut or there is an object protruding from it:

  • Wrap your dog in a thick towel or blanket for restraint.
  • Place a paper cup over the eye and tape it in place if your dog is cooperative. If he is not, don't attempt first aid.
  • Don't flush or otherwise touch the eye or the foreign object if there is one. Get your dog to a veterinary clinic immediately.

You can learn more about eye conditions here: "Common Eye Conditions in Dogs."

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Common Eye Conditions in Dogs

Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

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Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Glaucoma in Dogs

Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

Horner's Syndrome in Dogs

Entropion in Dogs

Cataracts in Dogs

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