Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Alexandr Jitarev/Shutterstock

Eye issues are always a big nuisance, for both dogs and their owners alike. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is one of the more common ailments that affects the eyes and can happen to any of us. But can it affect dogs as well? Yes – conjunctivitis is quite common in dogs, and it causes red, inflamed eyes. In this case, it is called canine conjunctivitis. It can be caused by various factors including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, foreign objects in the eye, or other irritants, and it is manifested in several different ways – this is what you need to know if you suspect your pet has pink eye.

Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

There are different types of conjunctivitis in dogs, and some are more dangerous than others. Either way, all dog owners should be well informed about all the potential issues that this inflammation can lead to, as well as the potential causes behind the different types of pink eye.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

This form of conjunctivitis in dogs is often characterized by a yellow or green discharge from the eye, along with redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, transparent membrane covering the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be connected to other conditions such as respiratory infections or trauma.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Certain viral infections such as  canine distemper virus or canine adenovirus can also lead to conjunctivitis in dogs. These infections may cause watery discharge, redness, and inflammation of the eye. Viral conjunctivitis can sometimes be more challenging to treat and may require supportive care to manage symptoms.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Just like us, dogs can also experience allergic reactions that affect their eyes. Common allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or certain foods can trigger allergic conjunctivitis in some dogs. Symptoms may include itching, redness, and watery discharge.


Sometimes, foreign bodies and irritants in the eye can cause conjunctivitis. Things such as dust, sand, or grass can irritate the eyes and if not treated, lead to conjunctivitis. The same goes for certain airborne chemicals and smoke which can lead to further problems. 

Conjunctival Hyperemia

Somewhat rare, this condition involves dilation of blood vessels in the conjunctiva membrane, resulting in redness of the eyes. It can be caused by various factors, including irritation, trauma, or systemic diseases.

Treating and Preventing Pink Eye in Dogs

Treatment for canine conjunctivitis typically involves addressing the underlying cause. This may include topical or oral medications such as antibiotics for bacterial infections, antiviral drugs for viral infections, or anti-inflammatory medications for allergic reactions. In some cases, supportive care such as eye rinses or lubricating drops may be recommended to alleviate discomfort and promote healing.

Of course, it pays to do anything you can to prevent the inflammation from occurring in the first place. Be wary of potential irritants and things that could hurt your dog’s eyes and lead to conjunctivitis. If you live in an area with plenty of dust, pollen, smoke, or anything similar, it might be wise to invest in  special protective gogg l es for dogs.

This is also great for dogs recovering from eye surgery, or for traveling and hiking in areas with irritants. This also helps with the glare of the sun. 

In the case that your pet has conjunctivitis and is recovering, or their eye has been irritated or hurt, a  single protective eye patch for dogs will work great to prevent further irritation. 

Naturally, it goes without saying that regular veterinary check-ups and prompt attention to any signs of eye irritation or inflammation can help prevent complications and ensure the well-being of your dog's eyes. So don’t wait too long before visiting the vet’s office after you notice something’s amiss with your pet’s eyes!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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