If you’re a parent, then you know how gross pink eye is. Not only is it visually unappealing, it’s also very uncomfortable, and adults who have gotten it claim it feels like they have sand stuck in their eye. There are definitely some viruses and bacteria we’re able to transmit to our dogs, but is pink eye one of them?
What is Pink Eye?
First, to understand the transmission of pink eye, it’s important to know what it is. Pink eye, aka conjunctivitis, is caused by bacteria or a virus, and it results in red, itchy, watery eyes with green or yellow discharge. The discharge is pretty significant and it’s why kids with pink eye wake up with their eye(s) matted shut. It’s highly contagious, and it’s not uncommon for everyone in the household to get a case of it when someone brings it home.
Do Dogs Get Pink Eye from Humans?
Yes, dogs can get pink eye from you because dogs are susceptible to the viruses and bacteria that cause pink eye. Conjunctivitis is typically spread through eye rubbing and then touching communal household surfaces like door knobs and faucets. Bacterial conjunctivitis is easily spread because bacteria lives on surfaces longer than viruses do.
How To Know if Your Dog Has Pinkeye
You’ll notice similar symptoms in your dog and children. If your dog has contracted pink eye, you’ll see them:
- Rubbing their face on furniture, the floor, or with their paws
- Yellow or green discharge in the eyes
- Red, inflamed eyes
Treating Pink Eye in Dogs
Pink eye doesn’t just look painful; it is painful. Getting your dog treatment is important. It’s not considered a serious ailment when it’s treated, but leaving it untreated means you’re risking your dog’s eyesight. When someone in your house has pink eye and you notice your dog’s eyes are getting red or your dog is rubbing their face on everything, it’s time to make a visit to your vet.
They’ll examine the eye with an ophthalmoscope and stain it with fluorescein stain to rule out any potential injury to the cornea. If there isn’t any injury, your vet will prescribe antibiotic eye drops if it’s a bacterial infection. If the conjunctivitis is viral, your dog will have to wait it out with an e-collar and eye drops to keep the eyes moist and relatively pain free.
Preventing Pink Eye Transmission
The best way to keep anyone–human or dog–from contracting pink eye is to have everyone wash their hands frequently. Regardless of who has pink eye, it’s incredibly important everyone’s hands stay clean. Remind the family not to rub their eyes, and if they touch their face to immediately wash their hands. As tempting as it is, nobody should cuddle, hug, or kiss the family dog until the pink eye has cleared up. Disinfect your common areas (the kitchen, bathrooms, doorhandles, etc) frequently and wash sheets and pillowcases every day with hot water.
Conjunctivitis is a normal childhood ailment, and it clears up very quickly once treatment begins. Good hygiene and a temporary ban on hugging/cuddling should prevent your dog from getting it, but if that isn’t enough, ensure you take them to their vet to get it checked out.