How to Use Contact Saline in a Dog's Eyes

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Get your dog to look up when rinsing with saline.
Get your dog to look up when rinsing with saline. (Image: Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images)

The saline you use to rinse your contacts can make a good emergency rinse for your dog as well. It’s just as safe for your dog as it is for you. You can use contact lens saline to flush debris or hydrate your dog’s dry eye. The Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia (FACE) of Indiana even recommends using contact lens saline to rinse surgery incisions as they heal. The biggest challenge may be getting your dog to accept the saline.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog treats
  • Contact lens saline
  • Dog leash

Ask your dog to sit or lie down and stay in that position. If necessary, have a second person feed your dog treats in small bites to keep your dog still. If you need to, put your dog’s leash on to help keep it near you and to control it.

Stand or sit at the side of your dog and wrap one arm around the top and side of your dog’s neck. Place your hand under its chin and gently point the nose up. This will help you control your dog's head and give you a good view of the eye.

Hold the contact saline bottle over the eye, near the top, with your other hand. Do not touch the eye or your dog with the tip of the saline nozzle.

Squeeze the bottle to flush out the eye as much as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may now want to purchase a new bottle of contact saline for yourself and label this one "for the dog." Even if you were careful, you don't want to use the saline in your eyes if the nozzle touched your dog in any way.
  • If your dog's eye appears injured or infected in any way, call your veterinarian immediately.

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References

  • "The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Dog's Symptoms"; Michael S. Garvey. D.V.M., Ann E. Hohenhaus, D.V.M., Katherine A. Houpt, V.M.D., Ph,D., John E. Pinckney, D.V.M., Melissa S. Wallace, D.V.M. and Elizabeth Randolph; 1999
  • FACE: Post-operative Guidelines for Dogs
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