Giving Your Pet Eye Medication: Step-by-Step Instructions

Estimated Reading Time 3 minutes
Giving Your Pet Eye Medication: Step-by-Step Instructions

You’ve just returned home from the vet, and fortunately, your furry friend is going to be just fine! But, your vet prescribed two different eye drops for your cat’s conjunctivitis. And the bad news? She’s currently hiding in the corner and very unhappy about your attempts to follow the vet’s instructions. What next?! Don’t worry! Keep reading for some helpful, step-by-step advice for administering your pet’s eye medication.

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Preparing to Administer Your Pet’s Eye Medication

First...Relax! You can do this! Your pet is a master at knowing what you’re thinking. If you’re worried, they will be too…

Wash your hands to avoid transferring dirt and bacteria to your pet’s eye. When preparing the eye drops, remove the lid carefully and avoid touching the top - again, we want to keep the bottle germ-free. If you’re concerned that the bottle has been contaminated, contact your vet for advice, and don’t attempt to clean the applicator with normal disinfectants.

Methods for Applying Your Pet’s Eye Drops

From behind:

  1. Sit your dog/cat in a corner or on your lap so they can’t wriggle away
  2. From behind, put one hand under their chin, gently lifting it upwards
  3. When their eye comes into view from behind, use the other hand to administer drops.
  4. Use the palm of that hand gently on the eyelid to prevent it from blinking and use finger and thumb from the same hand to squeeze the bottle

From the front:

  1. Again, sit your pet in a corner so they can’t wriggle away
  2. Support your pet’s head with one hand under the chin. With the same hand, use your thumb to gently pull down the lower eyelid to create a small pocket.
  3. Take the bottle of eye drops in the other hand, resting your hand against the pet’s head before applying the drops to the eye.
  4. Avoid touching the eye with the applicator tip.

Gently release the eye and allow it to close, which will spread the medication across the eye.

Give yourself and your pet a little reward when it’s all over. You both did great!

Helpful Hints for Applying Your Pet's Eye Drops

  • Keep the dropper a safe distance away from the eye to avoid contact and contamination
  • If you have multiple eye drops, leave at least 5 minutes between drops to prevent the second application from washing away the first. If one drop is more viscous (thick), put this in last.
  • If you have a choice, request eye drops over eye ointments -these are generally easier to apply.
  • If you are prescribed an ointment that won’t break off as it squeezes from the tube, you can gently move the eyelid across the eye to spread it.
  • A little note about smaller patients: The same technique can be used to apply drops to any species of animals. Guinea pigs have very low sensitivity in their eyes so they may not blink after application.
  • Lastly, please handle the eye very gently, if it needs treatments, it’s probably very sensitive.

Dogs and cats will rarely beg for eye drops but can be taught to tolerate them, particularly if a little treat is available afterward. For more information and to learn about preparing your pet for eye exams and treatments, check out our article.

Read more:

First Aid for Your Pet’s Eye

Anatomy and Function of Your Pet’s Eyes

Why do my dog’s eyes look cloudy?

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Published: 9/3/2020
Last updated: 10/27/2021

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