Can Dogs Get Pinkeye From Humans? (What Causes Pink Eye)

How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

A Pink eye is horrible. One day you’re fine, and the next, you wake up with bright pink swollen eyes. If you’ve ever gotten pink eye, you know how painful and uncomfortable it is.

Your eyes play tag with dryness and tears, and you can’t even scratch that one persistent itch. All in all, having pink eye is not a pleasant experience.

If you’re a dog owner, you might have seen your dog scratching at its eye. At first, you play it off as your dog just being itself. But you look closer and find out your dog’s eye is pink.

Now you’re worried. A dog scratching and pawing at itself is one thing, and a dog scratching a bright pink eye is another.

How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye

Surely, your dog doesn’t have pink eye? Can dogs even get pink eye? And if yes, how do dogs get pink eye?

Before you panic, take a breather because, yes, dogs can get pink eye and your pupper could have it; but we’re here for you, and we’ll help you figure out what to do next.

What is Pink Eye?

Let’s talk about pink eye. As you can tell, it’s an eye condition. But why do we call it pink eye, and how severe is it?

Pink eye is an eye infection in which the white part of your eye appears bright pink or reddish. Pink eye irritates the eye and can make blinking uncomfortable. Keeping the eyes open is irritating and often painful because pink eye can dry your eyes.

There are a lot of things that can cause pink eye; viruses, bacteria, and even allergies can trigger pink eye. However, one of the most common forms of pink eye is viral and contagious.

Is Pink Eye and Conjunctivitis the Same Thing?

You might have heard people and doctors say the word conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis sounds like a complicated and severe disease, but is it? Surprisingly, it’s not.

Many people don’t know that Conjunctivitis is pink eye; they are the same thing. Conjunctivitis is just the fancier or official name for pink eye.

Why is Conjunctivitis Called Pink Eye?

If the eye infection is called Conjunctivitis, why do so many people call it pink eye?

In Conjunctivitis, the white part of your eye becomes pink or red, as if you had pink eyes. Because the pink color is noticeable from afar, Conjunctivitis is called pink eye. Sometimes, you’ll even hear people call Conjunctivitis zombie eyes because of the bright pink color.

What Happens in Conjunctivitis?

To understand what happens during Conjunctivitis, you’ll need to learn a little bit about the eye.

A membrane-like covering outlines your eyeball, and its primary functions are to protect your eye and help your eyelid glide smoothly over the eye. This membrane-like covering is called the conjunctiva.

Sounds familiar, right? Conjunctivitis gets its name from the part of the eye; an eye infection that causes inflammation of the Conjunctiva is Conjunctivitis.

Your conjunctiva contains hundreds of small blood vessels, which aren’t visible to you most of the time. When something damages or irritates the conjunctiva, these blood vessels swell or inflame and become visible on the white part of your eye.

In Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis, your eye doesn’t paint itself pink, but because of swollen blood vessels suddenly covering the white layer, it looks like your eyes are pink in color.

What Causes Pink Eye in Humans?

Can Dogs Get Pinkeye From Humans? (What Causes Pink Eye)

There are a couple of things that can cause pink eye in humans, including:

●    Viruses

If you get viral Conjunctivitis, the most common cause is an adenovirus. In other cases, herpes simplex virus, the Coronavirus, and varicella-zoster virus can also trigger Conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis caused by a virus is called Viral Conjunctivitis.

●    Bacteria

Certain bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause Conjunctivitis.

If a bacteria is the cause behind Conjunctivitis, it is called Bacterial Conjunctivitis.

●    Allergic Reactions

Any allergen to which your body reacts negatively can cause Conjunctivitis. In case of an allergic reaction, your body’s immune response causes inflammation of the Conjunctiva.

Conjunctivitis caused by an allergy or allergic reaction is Allergic Conjunctivitis.

●    Foreign Objects

Sometimes, a foreign object like dirt, debris, or glass can get in your eye and trigger inflammation of the Conjunctiva. Chemicals, dust, and smoke can also cause Conjunctivitis.

●    Improper Hygiene

Often, if you don’t take care of your hygiene, you can get Conjunctivitis. Your body collects dust and can catch bacteria and viruses from public places, which can later attack it.

If you don’t wash your hands or sanitize frequently and touch your eyes, you can transport the virus/bacteria from your body to your eyes, triggering Conjunctivitis.

●    Incompletely Opened Tear Duct

In babies, a tear duct that doesn’t open properly can cause Conjunctivitis.

Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Can Dogs Get Pinkeye From Humans? (What Causes Pink Eye)

Now that you’re up to speed on the pink eye, let’s talk about the more serious question: can dogs get pink eye?

Unfortunately, your furry little friend is not safe from pink eye. Dogs can get pink eye, which is a very uncomfortable, irritating, and contagious condition

If your dog gets pink eye, you must treat it immediately because it can spread to other dogs and can put your dog in discomfort and pain.

Is Pink Eye in Dogs Contagious?

Yes and no. Many factors can cause pink eye in dogs, which may or may not be contagious. In some cases, pink eye in dogs is not infectious; in others, it is.

Calling Sherlock Bones! What Causes Pink Eye in Dogs?

A dog gets pink eye out of nowhere. A dog owner often feels confused because they do not know what exposed their dog to pink eye. Similar to Conjunctivitis in humans, there are many causes of pink eye in dogs:

●    Foreign Particles

Dogs love to slam their bodies against the couch, sniff between covers or play in the mud. While these are harmless dog activities, they can trigger infections like Conjunctivitis because of dirt and debris.

Dirt, debris, and other foreign objects like chemicals, smoke, and cement can enter a dog’s eye and cause inflammation. Sometimes, a dog’s eyelash can also enter and trigger inflammation in the eye. How eyeronic, I Know.

Since dogs can’t do much except paw at their eyes, they cannot pull out any foreign objects as we can and make the situation worse because they’re constantly touching the irritated eye.

●    Parasites

Common causes of Conjunctivitis in humans are bacteria and viruses. But parasites like nits, fleas, bugs, and mites can attach to a dog’s body and cause an allergic reaction, triggering Conjunctivitis.

However, parasites commonly enter the dog’s eye and cause the eye to flare up, leading to Conjunctivitis.

●    Bacteria and Viruses

Certain bacteria and viruses can cause Conjunctivitis in dogs. Outdoor areas like parks, beaches, and other sandy/muddy areas where dogs play are among the most common places where viruses and bacteria can attach to a dog.

Your dog can also contract a virus or bacteria from other dogs and, in some cases, you.

●    Dryness

Dogs can get pink eye if their eyes are dry.

●    Tumors

In rare cases, eye tumors can cause Conjunctivitis.

●    Defects of the Eye

Sometimes, a dog’s eye won’t develop properly in the womb, which can later lead to eye defects. In such cases, eye defects can cause Conjunctivitis.

●    Trauma

An accidental or traumatic injury can damage a dog’s Conjunctiva and lead to pink eye.

How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Many doggie parents will wonder where their dog caught pink eye, especially if they shelter their dog. Sometimes, dogs can get pink eye from different triggers in the environment.

Often, dogs can get pink eye from other animals and humans. Let’s discuss this in detail:

From Where Can A Dog Get Pink Eye?

Your dog can contract pink eye or Conjunctivitis from public places and at home.


Dogs love parks. Your dog probably gets excited just by hearing you’re going to the park. Little do you and your dog know that a park can be dangerous.

Parks have a lot of visitors (both humans and animals), which is why they are the most common breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Your dog can catch a bacterial or viral infection from the swings, sand, or people/other dogs at the park.

Some forms of bacteria and viruses which cause Conjunctivitis or pink eye can attach to your dog from the park.

Dirty Places

Muddy and dirty places contain a lot of bacteria and viruses, which can cause infections. Moreover, dirty and unkempt areas have a lot of dust and debris, irritating a dog’s eye and causing pink eye.

Can a Dog Get Pink Eye from Other Dogs?

Conjunctivitis in a dog is rarely contagious, but it is still something that can happen.

If your dog contracts Conjunctivitis or pink eye from dirt, debris, or other irritants, it won’t spread to another dog. However, some bacterial and viral forms of Conjunctivitis are contagious and can spread from dog to dog.

Can a Dog Get Pink Eye from Other Animals?

It is almost impossible for other animals like cats to transfer pink eye to dogs. However, an animal with pink eye can trigger minor infections in your dog.

Can a Dog Get Pink Eye From Their Hooman?

If you’re wondering how do dogs get pink eye, chances are it might be from you!

Not all forms of Conjunctivitis or pink eye are contagious from humans to dogs, but in rare cases, bacterial Conjunctivitis can transfer from you to your dog.

Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye in Dogs

You can’t just take the pink color of a dog’s eye as its symptom. Pink eye presents several symptoms in dogs; some signs can tell if your dog has pink eye.

●    Pink Eyes

Of course, we have pink eye on top of the list. Sometimes, Conjunctivitis or pink eye can present in one or both eyes. If your dog’s eye’s swollen and red, it might have pink eye.

●    Discharge from the Eye

Irritation from pink eye can cause a dog’s eye to become watery and leak. The discharge or leak from a dog’s eye can be mucous or watery.

●    Swollen Eyelids

A dog with Conjunctivitis or pink eye may experience swollen or puffy eyelids.

●    Constant Pawing

If a dog’s eye is swollen, irritated, or infected, the dog will feel an itch over the eye. Dogs with eye itches will try to scratch them by pawing at their faces.

●    Splashing in Water

Dogs love water, but if your dog frequently splashes its face in the water, it might indicate that your dog’s eyes are burning or irritating.

How to Diagnose Pink Eye in Dogs?

If your dog has pink eye, it may or may not present all symptoms. Sometimes, a dog with Conjunctivitis will feel irritation before it shows pink eye. In this case, it might become difficult for the doggo’s pawrent to know what’s wrong.

If you think your dog is experiencing irritation, pain, or discomfort, or if your dog’s eye is swollen and red, seek the vet. The vet will run some tests and perform a physical exam to check if your dog has pink eye.

Physical Examination

The vet will carefully examine your dog’s eyes and eyelids with an ophthalmic lens to see if your dog has pink eye or not. Depending on the type of Conjunctivitis your dog has, the vet will conclude the physical example.

For example, vets can’t tell if it’s a viral or bacterial Conjunctivitis, so they will order tests. However, if the vet sees a foreign object like an eyelash, glass, dirt, or debris, the vet will try to eliminate the cause.

Since a dog can also get Conjunctivitis or pink eye from physical trauma or illness, the vet will perform various examinations to ensure there is no pressure or damage on the eye.

Culture Test

If your vet can’t figure out the cause of the pink eye in your dog or if the vet wants to see the type of allergen/bacteria/virus causing Conjunctivitis, they will order some culture tests.

Culture tests can help find out what’s causing Conjunctivitis.


A biopsy of the Conjunctiva can show whether the cause of Conjunctivitis is viral/bacterial or from a tumor or injury.

How Can Eye Treat a Dog’s Eye Allergy?

When your dog gets a pink eye or Conjunctivitis diagnosis, treatment and recovery will depend on the cause and type of the Conjunctivitis. If a bacteria or virus is causing Conjunctivitis in your dog, you can treat it through medicines.

If a foreign object is the cause of pink eye, the vet will wash and cleanse the eye. And if your dog has Conjunctivitis due to a traumatic injury or tumor, you might have to invest in surgical or chemotherapy measures.

Treating Pink Eye in Adult Dogs

Can Dogs Get Pinkeye From Humans? (What Causes Pink Eye)

A puppy’s pink eye may not have the exact cause as an adult dog’s, which is why treatment for the two may differ.

●    Flushing

If your dog has a foreign object in its eye, the vet will flush the eye with sterile water to help remove the foreign object. Dirt, dust, debris, and eyelashes easily slide out of the eye through flushing.

●    Physical & Surgical Removal

In case the cause of Conjunctivitis in your dog is a stuck object like glass, the vet might remove it physically by administering anesthesia. If the Conjunctivitis is due to a removable deformation or treatable injury, you can get surgery for your dog.

●    Eye Drops

Depending on the cause of your dog’s pink eye, the vet will prescribe topical or antibiotic eye drops.

●    Medicines

In order to beat bacterial or viral infections which trigger Conjunctivitis, the vet will prescribe medication.

A Puppy’s Pink Eye Treatment

Although treating a puppy’s pink eye is similar to treating an adult dog’, because puppies have lower immunity than adult dogs, more complex ways of treatment may be necessary.


Puppies can get dirt and debris even if their eyes haven’t yet opened correctly. The vet may flush the dirt/debris out.

Eye Drops

If your puppy’s pink eye is due to dryness or bacterial/viral infection, the vet will prescribe topical/antibiotic eye drops to treat it.

Physical & Surgical Removal

Puppies may need surgery if they have a foreign object stuck in their eyes.

Surgical Correction

Sometimes, a puppy’s tear duct won’t open correctly, which causes Conjunctivitis. The vet may perform tear duct surgery to treat it.


The vet will prescribe medicines according to your puppy’s health and pink eye. The vet may even prescribe additional supplements to help relieve pain and discomfort for puppies.

Treatment of a Dog’s Allergic Conjunctivitis

If an allergen or allergic reaction triggers pink eye, your dog has allergic Conjunctivitis.

Treatment of allergic Conjunctivitis may differ from bacterial/viral Conjunctivitis because your dog could be allergic to anything, and management is equally important as treatment.

To treat your dog’s Allergic Conjunctivitis, you must administer a course of steroids and antihistamines. The vet will prescribe eye drops containing dexamethasone or other steroids to treat Allergic Conjunctivitis.

If your dog is allergic to something it contacts daily, like bedding or a particular food, you might need anti-allergic medicines.

Antibiotics for Conjunctivitis in Dogs

You can treat Bacterial Conjunctivitis in dogs with antibiotics, there are a lot of OTC antibiotics that you can easily get from the pharmacy, or your vet may prescribe your dog’s special antibiotics.

Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Chloramphenicol, and Oxytetracycline are common antibiotics to treat Conjunctivitis in dogs.

Home Treatment for Pink Eye in Dogs

Pink eye isn’t something that you can magically treat at home since you never know what’s causing it. You should not try to treat your dog’s Conjunctivitis at home since you could cause more damage.

However, if your dog’s eye is swollen and red, you can use salt water to soothe the eye. Saltwater isn’t a treatment, but it can temporarily soothe and moisten your dog’s eye until you visit the vet.

Mix half a teaspoon of salt and one cup of boiled water to make this saltwater. Don’t pour hot salt water into the dog’s eye; allow it to cool, and then run a few drops on your dog’s eye.

Paw Patrol: Preventing Pink Eye in Dogs

There are a few ways you can prevent pink eye in dogs:

●    Vaccinations

There aren’t any vaccines for Conjunctivitis, but routine vaccinations can prevent contamination. Routine dog vaccinations prevent the transmission of infections from other dogs and even other animals.

●    Sanitation

Dirty and unkempt places are one of the most common places where your dog can contract Conjunctivitis. Keep your kennels neat and clean.

If you’re a breeder, sanitize birthing kennels regularly.

●    Regular Grooming and Hygiene

Ungroomed dogs can easily catch bacteria, so you should bathe your dog daily. Don’t grow out your dog’s hair, especially if it droops over the eye, since hair can also trigger Conjunctivitis.

Inspect your dog’s coat regularly to pick out fleas and bugs.

How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Conclusion | How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

How do dogs get pink eye? Your dog can get pink eye from allergies, irritants, bacteria, viruses, and other dogs. Conjunctivitis or Pink eye is a condition in which the eye of the dog swells and becomes red.

There isn’t any home remedy for Conjunctivitis, and you should immediately contact the vet if you think your dog has Conjunctivitis. Keep up to date with routine vaccinations, vet visits, and grooming sessions to prevent Conjunctivitis/pink eye.

Frequently Asked Questions | How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?

How to Treat Bloodshot Eyes in Dogs?

If your dog’s eye is swollen, red, pink, or bloodshot, it may or may not have an eye infection. You can use salt water (a half teaspoon in one cup of boiled water) to soothe your dog’s eyes, but don’t try to treat them at home.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as you spot redness in your dog’s eye.

Why Are My Dogs Eyes Swollen?

Allergic reactions, injury, tumors, insect bites, or eye infections can cause your dog’s eyes to swell. If your dog’s eyes are swollen, immediately contact the vet.

Does a Dog’s Pink Eye Go Away?

Yes. with proper treatment, a dog’s pink eye goes away in a few days.

Can Humans Get Pink Eye from Dogs?

Not all pink eye cases are contagious, but your dog can pass a pink eye to you in rare cases. However, pink eye in humans is treatable.

Can Dogs Get Pink Eye from Humans?

Yes, your dog can get pink eye from you. Unless an allergy triggered your pink eye, you could pass Conjunctivitis to your dog.

Is Pink Eye in Dogs Contagious?

Pink eye in dogs may or may not be contagious. There are some variations of pink eye which can transmit from one dog to another, but most of the time, your dog won’t get pink eye from another dog.

However, it is best to vaccinate your dog against routine viruses in order to prevent contamination.

Is Pink Eye in Dogs Serious?

You can treat pink eye in adult dogs quickly. Puppies may take longer to recover because of their weak immunity.

Unless a contagious virus or a tumor caused pink eye in your dog, you don’t have to worry.

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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