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Is Saline Solution Safe for Dog’s Eyes?

Is Saline Solution Safe for Dog’s Eyes?

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Dog eye problems can have any pet parent worried out of their mind.

Perhaps you went with your doggie to the park during a hot and dry summer day.

As he played and interacted with other canines, a tiny leaf made its way to the eye.

Now, his eye is inflamed, red, and teary.

See, the eye is an incredibly sensitive organ. Something as simple as piece of dust can cause a lot of issues.

Whether your doggie has a mild eye infection, a full-blown cataract, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, or inflammation, he needs help to alleviate the problem.

Can you use saline solution?

We investigate…

What Is Saline Solution?

In simple terms, a saline solution is a blend of water and sodium chloride or as we know it, table salt.

This solution has been used in the field of medicine to treat and manage various conditions for millennia.

It is utilized to clean wounds, irrigate the bladder, treat dehydration, flush out the eyes, treat a sore throat, and clear sinuses.

Normal saline solution uses 0.9% salt, which is similar to the concentration in blood and tears.

In canine world, saline solutions are utilized for minor eye problems.

If your pup has an eye allergy, for instance, you can get rid of the itchiness and irritation by splashing a drop of the saline solution.

It also flushes the eye and eliminates loose objects like debris and grass seeds.

When you rinse your dog’s eyes with the saline solution, you remove tears that could otherwise discolor part of the eye.

Finally, this product also generally cleans out the eye.

But Is Saline Solution Safe For Dogs?

When prepared correctly, saline solution is equivalent to distilled water.

Plus, it contains the components found in tears in just the right amounts.

This means it is gentle and totally safe for your dog.

The salt concentration is so low that it does not burn or sting. As long as you use distilled water and the right salt concentration, it should be dog-safe.

In fact, using saline solution to flush your dog’s eyes has other benefits, including:

  • It can help soothe irritation and itches caused by allergic reactions.
  • It can prevent tear stains by flushing away your dog’s tears before they discolor the areas around his eyes.

BUT…

While the saline solution flushes the eyes and cleans them, it is not a wholesome solution.

Do not rely on it to disinfect the eye or treat complicated conditions such as conjunctivitis, cataracts, and severe eye infections.

If your pup has any of these problems, you need to see the vet for medical assistance.

Also, never use the solution for a painful or red eye. In case he has an ocular disease, the solution will harm him.

How Do You Flush A Dog’s Eye With Saline Solution?

To flush your pooch’s eyes with the saline solution, all you have to do is apply generous drops of the solution in or around your dog’s eye.

Follow the following steps to do it safely:

Step 1: Wash Your Hands

Before you handle the dog, wash your hands to ensure that you don’t transfer bacteria and other contaminants to your dog.

Remember that you goal is to help your pup’s eyes heal completely by getting rid of bacteria and other irritants in his eyes.

Step 2: Contain the Dog

Next, find a way of containing the dog safely so that he’s not distracted when you will be flushing his eyes with the saline solution.

There are many strategies you can use to contain the dog:

  • You can place the doggie in between their legs with the tummy on top. This position exposes the eye well while making sure the tail and half of the dog’s body is tucked away. You can use your feet to keep him contained.
  • You can also put him against a wall or furniture to limit his movements.
  • If he’s a small dog breed, you can also wrap him with a towel hold him in position.
  • Alternatively, get somebody to help you hold the dog in position. The best way to do this is to let your helper wrap his arm under the dog’s neck while holding the head (dog’s) over his/her shoulder.

(You are in luck if your fur baby cooperates during the process).

Step 3: Flushing with Saline Solution

Once he is in position, tilt his head backwards a little and open his eyes.

Using an eyedropper, drop the saline solution on the dog’s eyes.

(Be careful not to poke your dog’s eyes with the dropper or applicator during this stage. Hold the dropper at an angle and not perpendicular to the eyes).

For the best results, apply the saline solution at the corner of the eye or outside close to the eye.

Let the dog blink to spread the solution.

You can also ensure that the saline solution evenly spreads over your dog’s entire eyeball by opening and closing the eyelids (see Occy’s Vet video below).

You are free to use as much of the saline solution as you deem fit.

Remember that saline solution is just a cleansing agent, so you don’t have to worry about overdose issues.

Your goal is to properly flush off dirt and contaminants inside and outside your pup’s eyes.

In fact, you can even pour the saline solution directly inside and outside the dog’s eyes (see the video).

As a word of caution, resist the temptation of getting rid of debris embedded in the dog’s eye with the solution.

Doing this may do more harm than good. Instead, let the vet take care of the issue professionally.

(This step has to be quick before the dog wiggles out of your legs).

Step 4: Compressing With a Damp Cloth

The next step is to wipe the contaminants off your pup’s eye area.

Use a warm, damp cloth to do this. Hold the cloth over the dog’s eyes for about 5 minutes to soothe the irritated eyes.

Before you move to the other eye (in case both eyes were affected), clean the cloth to avoid cross-contamination.

You can also use a new cloth for the other eye.

Tip: To boost the procedure’s efficacy, repeat it a number of times throughout the day considering that the saline is constantly being washed away by the dog’s tears.

Step 5: Consider Removing Hair around the Eyes

This step is optional and only recommended if your pup has tear stains or long hairs around his eyes.

Consider trimming long hairs around the eyes to prevent build-up of contaminants around the eye area and to allow any discharge from the eyes to drain seamlessly. This can go a long way in preventing reinfection of the eyes.

Be careful to avoid injuring the eye during the process.

Step 6: Consult Your Vet

If the issue doesn’t subside after flushing with saline solution or if it gets worse, consider going to the vet to ascertain whether the problem is serious or not.

Sometimes, a mild eye infection can signify a deeper problem that requires early medical intervention.

Which Commercial Saline Solutions Can Use In Your Dog’s Eyes?

The best saline solutions for dog’s eyes are those that are formulated to be used on the eyes—and not those meant for injections.

We highly recommend these two:  

1. Burt’s Bees Saline Solution for Dogs

This is an all-natural formula that flushes debris from your pup’s eyes without hurting him in the process.  

It is devoid of toxic chemicals such as sulfates, fragrances, and colorants.

The formula mimics his tears and will not cause any discomfort.

We love that it is pH-balanced specifically for adult dogs and puppies.

With 2-3 drops into the eyes, your dog will feel so much better.

2. Beaphar Sterile Saline  Solution for Dogs and Cats

The Beaphar Dog Cat Eye Lotion is a sterile solution that cleans a dog’s eyes effectively.

Formulated with Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM), it is perfect for use around the sensitive membranes in your dog’s eyes.

It has a user-friendly nozzle that makes application very easy.

Use it on a regular basis to clean the eyes and keep them free from infections.

Homemade Saline Solution for Dogs Eyes

Although the above commercial saline solutions are great, none beats a good old homemade product.

Here is how to quickly make a saline solution for your pup’s eyes at home.

Caution: Always remember that the solution should have the right amounts of salt and water. It should also be free of any contaminants.

What You Need

  • 2 teaspoons of non-iodized salt
  • 4 cups of distilled water. If you don’t have distilled water, boil the normal tap water for at least 20 minutes to sterilize it.
  • A mixing tool
  • An airtight bottle

Instructions

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Throw the bottle and mixing tool in a pot of boiling water for sterilization purposes
  • Pour the water into the bottle
  • Add the salt in bits while mixing it in until it has dissolved
  • Allow the mixture to cool before administering it to the dog

Here is also a great, informative video of how to flush your dog’s eyes with saline solution (as described in previous section) as well as quick tips on how to make your own homemade saline solution.

Parting Thoughts

Your dog may have the cutest eyes in the world but when they are oozing discharge because of a foreign body, they will look unsightly.

The eyes are also very uncomfortably painful for your furry friend.

This is where a saline solution comes in.

It is a natural way of flushing out anything that shouldn’t be in the eye.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4