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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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How To Administer Eye Drops To Pets

Administering eye drops to dogs and cats can be tricky. If you struggle with keeping your pet still, you may find it hard to make sure the medication actually enters their eyes without wasting it. Use these tips to quickly and easily give your pet eye drops.

How To Give Your Pet Eye Drops
Before grabbing your pet, lay out everything you’ll need: their eye drops, bottle capped until just before you use it, an old towel to catch any drips, and your pet’s favorite treat. Lickable treats are easier for your pet to enjoy while you administer the drops. Peanut butter or Kong Easy Treat works best for dogs, while creamy lickable treats and broths are popular with cats.
Wash your hands before and after administering eye drops to your pet. Avoid allowing the tip of the dropper to touch any surface, including the eye, and replace the cap before storing in a cool, dark place.
Depending on the size and temperament of your pet, you may need to try a few different positions until you find one that works.
For dogs, you can snuggle a small dog in your lap. If your dog is too large for your lap, you can have them lie down next to you.
For cats, it may be easiest to have them lie down on a table or other elevated surface, or they might be just fine in your lap. If they’re known to scratch, it’s best to wrap them up in a towel to keep you safe from their claws.
Gently lift your pet’s chin with your non-dominant hand. Use that same hand to pull down the lower eyelid to make a pocket.
You’ll use your dominant hand to apply the drops. Rest the heel of your hand against their head to help keep the eye open. Aim the drops at the white part of the eye, as it’s less sensitive than the cornea. When applied correctly, the drop will land just inside the lower eyelid. When your pet blinks, the medication will spread across the surface of the eye.
If you have trouble medicating your pet, reach out to your veterinarian. They may recommend a cream or ointment, which may be easier for you to apply. Or, there may be an oral medication you can use instead of eye drops.

Can You Use Human Eye Drops For Pets?
All eye issues are an urgent healthcare matter. If you notice squinting, redness, cloudiness, a scratch, discharge, or a foreign body in the eye, you should seek immediate veterinary care either with your regular veterinarian or emergency vet hospital.
Under the guidance of a veterinarian, you can may use ophthalmic solution eyewash to rinse away hair, dirt, or debris from your pet’s eye.
Do not apply any made-for-humans medicated eye drops, whether prescription or over-the-counter, without a diagnosis from a veterinarian.