Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

4 Tips for Using Eye Drops for Dogs

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Eye Drops for Dogs

Trying to medicate your dog’s eyes from the front can make this a battle. There is an easier way.

The woman wrote me, her dog was snapping at her and running away. Why? Eye drops. I can guess the problem. How to use eye drops for dogs is not intuitive. Most people grab the eye drops and, facing the dog, attempt to get the drops into the eye. The dog, seeing the bottle coming at their eye gets uneasy and pulls away. Soon, we have a battle royale with the dog assuming that every time he sees that little bottle in his human’s hands his human is about to attack him with it. Luckily, there is an easier way (for everyone). Here’s the trick:

  1. Sit behind your dog. With your dog sitting between your knees or on your lap facing away from you. Pet them for a bit. Let everyone relax. Keep the bottle out of sight.
  2. Then, as part of stroking your dog’s head, gently pull the top eyelid back a bit revealing the white part of the eye ball. Put the drop (or ointment) there. Your dog will never see it coming. After the drops, praise warmly and continue stroking his head.
  3. If you have a helper, have them stand in front of your dog with a really yummy treat in their hand (maybe a small hunk of cheese or meat). They hold that treat to the dog’s nose but slightly up so the dog must raise their nose to lick at it.  Once the drops are in, the hand opens and the treat is given. No helper? A small smear of peanut butter on the fridge door can keep your dog focused and relatively stationary, assuming, as always, your dog is not food aggressive.
  4. As this is all being done, remember to praise your dog happily. Your helper, too. Few dogs have ever had an issue with a human who was praising them so happy praise tends to relax an anxious/suspicious dog.

Done this way,  your dog will come away thinking he just won a prize, not that he has to defend himself. I hope this makes using eye drops for dogs easier— for everyone.

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