Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Nov 6, 2023 | Dogs & Puppies | 1 comment

As a pet owner, you’re likely no stranger to various health concerns your furry companion might face. One question that often arises is whether dogs can get pink eye. The short answer is yes, they can. 

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is not limited to humans – our canine friends can experience it too. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of what pink eye is, its symptoms in dogs, possible causes, and how to manage it with care.

What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye in dogs, medically known as conjunctivitis, is a condition that might sound familiar since it’s not uncommon among humans. But did you know that our four-legged pals, like dogs, can also experience this eye irritation?

Imagine that thin, clear layer covering the front of the eye and the inside of the eyelids – the conjunctiva. Pink eye occurs when this normally calm and composed conjunctiva gets all fired up and inflamed.

Now, inflammation is a sign that your eye’s immune system is having a tiff with something it doesn’t agree with. This can result in redness, discomfort, and sometimes a watery or gunky discharge for dogs.

So, pink eye in dogs is like a little eye uproar caused by various factors like bacterial or viral infections, pesky allergens, irritants like smoke or chemicals, and even unwelcome guests like foreign particles. It’s like their eye’s way of showing that they’re not too thrilled with the current situation.

dog conjunctivitis

What Are the Symptoms of Pink Eye in Dogs?

Pink eye, medically known as canine conjunctivitis, is a common ocular condition that can affect our beloved furry friends. While it may not be a life-threatening ailment, understanding the symptoms of pink eye in dogs is crucial for timely intervention and ensuring your pet’s optimal eye health.

  • Redness and Irritation: One of the telltale signs of pink eye in dogs is the noticeable redness and irritation in their eyes. Keep an eye out for bloodshot eyes, excessive tearing, and persistent blinking, which indicate inflammation in the conjunctiva—the delicate tissue lining the eyelids and covering the eyeball.
  • Eye Discharge: If you notice an unusual discharge from your dog’s eyes, it’s a potential pink eye symptom. The discharge can vary in consistency, ranging from watery to thick and mucus-like. Be attentive to any green or yellow discharge, as these colors could signal an infection.
  • Squinting and Rubbing: Dogs experiencing pink eye may squint their eyes or rub their faces against surfaces to alleviate discomfort. Excessive scratching and rubbing can further exacerbate the condition, potentially leading to secondary infections. If you observe such behavior, consulting a veterinarian is advisable.
  • Swelling and Puffiness: Swelling around the eyes is another common symptom of pink eye. If your dog’s eyelids appear swollen or puffy, it could be due to the inflammation of the conjunctiva. In severe cases, the swelling might cause the eye to close partially.
  • Change in Eye Color: Pink eye can sometimes cause a noticeable change in the color of your dog’s eyes. Keep a watchful eye on any shifts in pigmentation, as it might signal an underlying issue that requires medical attention.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Light: Dogs suffering from pink eye might become more sensitive to light than usual. They may avoid well-lit areas or squint in bright environments, showcasing their discomfort.
  • Behavioral Changes: Just like humans, dogs can exhibit changes in behavior when they’re unwell. If your typically energetic and playful dog becomes lethargic or less active, coupled with other pink eye symptoms, it strongly indicates that a vet’s evaluation is warranted.

What Causes Pink Eye in Dogs?

Understanding the underlying causes of this eye disease will help us prevent it from occurring and provide timely care for our furry friends. Let’s look at the reasons why it occurs and speed up the treatment of your pet:

  • Bacterial Infections: One of the primary culprits behind the pink eye in dogs is bacterial infections. Various types of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, can infiltrate the conjunctiva—a thin, transparent membrane covering the eye’s front surface and lining the inner eyelids. These bacteria can trigger inflammation, resulting in the characteristic redness, swelling, and discharge associated with pink eye.
  • Viral Infections: Viruses, such as the canine adenovirus and canine distemper virus, can also be responsible for causing pink eye in dogs. Viral infections can spread through contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects, leading to conjunctivitis and other ocular symptoms.
  • Allergic Reactions: Like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies that affect their eyes. Allergic reactions to pollen, dust, mold, or certain chemicals can lead to pink eye. The immune system’s response to these allergens can cause inflammation in the conjunctiva, resulting in the classic symptoms of pink eye.
  • Environmental Factors: Dogs are exposed to various environmental irritants, such as smoke, wind, and dust, that can contribute to pink eye. These factors can lead to eye dryness, irritation, and redness, especially in breeds with protruding eyes like Pugs and Bulldogs.
  • Foreign Bodies: Dogs’ curiosity can sometimes lead to foreign objects, such as dust particles, grass seeds, or debris, getting trapped in their eyes. These foreign bodies can irritate the eyes and trigger a pink eye episode.
  • Trauma or Injury: Physical trauma or injury to the eye area can also lead to pink eye. Scratches, bites, or any other form of trauma can introduce bacteria or irritants, sparking an inflammatory response.
  • Poor Hygiene and Tear Production: Dogs with poor tear production are more susceptible to pink eye. Tears lubricate the eyes and contain enzymes that help fend off infections. Insufficient tear production can leave the eyes vulnerable to bacterial or viral invasion.eye infection in dogs


Dogs can indeed get pink eye, much like humans. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the potential causes can help you provide the right care for your furry friend.

If you suspect your dog has pink eye, it’s recommended to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Addressing this condition promptly and carefully ensures your dog’s eyes remain healthy and comfortable.


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Can my dog’s pink eye spread to other dogs?

Yes, pink eye can be contagious among dogs, especially in cases caused by infections.

Can I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dog’s pink eye?

It’s best to avoid using human medications without veterinary guidance, as some ingredients might not be safe for dogs.

Will my dog’s pink eye resolve on its own?

While mild cases might improve independently, it’s advisable to consult a vet to ensure proper treatment and rule out any underlying issues.

Can allergies cause pink eye in dogs?

Yes, allergens like pollen or dust can trigger conjunctivitis in dogs, leading to pink eye symptoms.

How can I prevent pink eye in my dog?

Regularly cleaning your dog’s eyes, avoiding exposure to irritants, and maintaining overall eye hygiene can help prevent pink eye.


1 Comment

  1. Charlie Barkington

    My furry friend recently had a bout of pink eye, and I was worried sick. This article really clarified the symptoms, especially the eye discharge part. That was a clear sign! Thanks a ton for sharing!

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