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Can dogs get pink eye from humans?

Updated on June 28, 2010

We do so love our dogs. Human’s best friends are considered as family member.  As such they are well cared for and provided with utmost comfort. Families would commonly share what they have with the pet. Dogs are always hugged, petted and even allowed to share the bed with the family. Unfortunately, in doing so, a contagious medical concern that afflicts a family member can be transmitted to the pet. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a highly contagious disease. Is it possible to transmit this eye infection to the dog? Regrettably, the answer is yes.

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What is pink eye?

Conjunctivitis is also known as sore eyes or pink eyes. In this medical condition, the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that covers the white portion of the eyes (sclera) and lines the inner part of the eyelids is inflamed due to a foreign body in the eyes, due to an allergic reaction to pollens, grasses and other allergens. The inflammation can also be due to a bacterial or viral infection. Because of the inflammation of the conjunctiva, fluids will buildup causing the enlargement of the blood vessels and the reddening of the eyes.

How is pink eye transmitted?

Pink eye…sore eyes…or conjunctivitis is not a life threatening disease but it is highly contagious. Humans with this kind of eye infection are advised to isolate themselves. Once a family member has sore eyes it is highly probable that other members of the family will be infected too. This includes the dog. Pink eye that is caused by a foreign body in the eyes, by chemicals and substances in the environment and by an allergic reaction is not infectious. Pink eye that would spread easily is one that is caused by the bacteria and viruses that are also responsible for colds, sore throat and other infections. Because of the ache and the itch, an infected person can’t help but touch the infected eye. The hand that touched the eye will naturally touch other objects and surfaces. The surface or object contaminated by the bacteria will be touched by another person thus the infection will be transmitted.


As the name suggests, this eye infection is manifested by the redness of the eyes. There will be a gritty feeling on the eyes and extreme itchiness will be felt around the area of the eyes. Excessive tearing and yellowish and greenish discharge will be seen as well. “Glued eyes” is another symptom of this eye infection.

Keeping the dog comfortable

Pink eye caused by bacteria or virus many not need treatment especially it is caught early on and the dog is prevented from scratching or rubbing the infected eye. This can be done by fastening a conical collar on the dog. The dog must be kept comfortable. Flush the dog’s eyes with artificial tears or lukewarm water to remove the gunk. A washcloth soaked in lukewarm water and wrung out and used as compress would ease the itch and the pain


Although not considered to be a serious condition, a vet’s consult may be necessary to prevent the infection from causing serious and permanent eye damage. The vet may prescribe topical ointments, eye drops and oral antibiotics.


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