If your best friend's eye has been looking a little red and runny lately, there may be a sty budding. A sty (known medically as conjunctivitis) is identified by a yellowish discharge, redness, swelling (oedema) and tearing. The dog may be unable to open that eye fully; he might have a squint. Being that the problem is in the eye, you don't want to wait to long to go to the vet. But there are some home remedies you can try to keep the pain and swelling down.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Clean washcloth
- Sterile saline solution
- Teabag (optional)
Inspect the eye carefully. If you are dealing with a sty in the early stages you may be able to avoid it altogether. The sty will be red with some swelling and discharge. There will also be puffiness, and the dog may be constantly pawing at it or squinting the eye. Look for, and remove, any foreign objects, like fibres, sand, hair or fur that may be causing the problem. Removing irritating matter may be uncomfortable for your dog and dangerous if done wrong. If you see, but cannot easily remove the object with your fingers or by gently touching a wet cloth to it, consult a vet. Attempting to remove an object that is embedded in the eye or eyelid could result in permanent injury to the eye.
Wipe the area of irritation gently with a clean cloth that has been dampened with warm water. Gently remove any visible sand or discharge. Continue to do this until the area is clean and free of discharged matter. This secretion is your dog's eye attempting to protect the area by sending white blood cells. If the discharge is heavy, distinctly yellowish or green, it means there is an infection brewing and you will need to call your vet for antibiotic treatment.
Flush the dog's eye carefully with a normal saline solution. There are specially compounded saline solutions being marketed for dogs, but any saline solution is fine as long as it is sterile. Begin by washing your hands well. Holding a cloth under the eye, gently part the upper and lower eyelid and flush the solution into the eye. Give the bottle a firm but not hard squeeze so as to create sufficient force to dislodge the pus and irritants. Do this several times until the eye appears to be cleansed of all discharge.
Place a clean, warm, damp cloth over the dogs eye and hold it there. When the cloth cools, moisten it again with warm water. This will help draw out the secretions and relieve pain. Continue to do this for as long as your dog will allow, or about 15 minutes. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times daily.
Check your dog's eye several times a day for signs of healing or increasing inflammation. If the sty does not appear to be resolving on its own, call your veterinarian immediately. Eyewashes that contain herbal solutions are on the market and may be of some help. They contain herbs like chamomile and goldenseal that will calm the area. Giving your dog an immune booster such as echinacea may also help with healing.
Tips and warnings
- Some people prefer to use a warm, wet teabag in place of the cloth. If you find this works better for you, use it as an alternative to the cloth.
- Keep your carpet clean and free of dust. If your dog is small, his eyes are bombarded with dust and debris from carpets and the ground.
- Never use eye drops meant for people on your dog. The Ph level is not compatible. Never let a sty go untreated or permanent injury may develop.
- It's best to use a commercially-prepared saline solution instead of preparing one at home with your own salt and water. This is fine for other things calling for saline, but the chlorine and other additives in your tap water will further irritate your dog's eye.
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