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How to Administer Eye Drops

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Cleaning Your Dog's Eyes, How to 
Eye Care for Dogs FAQs 
How to Administer Eye Drops 
Step-By-Step Tips for Administering Eye Drops

How to administer eye drops

Administering eye drops to your pet is generally not difficult, but care must be taken to do it properly. We have made it easier by providing the following step-by-step directions of how to give these medications. If your veterinarian prescribes eye drops for your pet, it may help to have one of the veterinary staff show you how to apply the drops to your pet's eye.

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Cat in Towel

  3. Talk to your pet in a happy voice and take her to a convenient location, along with the medication.
  4. For dogs: Place your dog's hindquarters against something so he cannot back away from you. Some people have found they have better control if they place the dog on a surface up above the floor. If you do so, make sure you have assistance, so the dog will not jump or fall off the table and hurt himself. The person assisting you should hold the dog around the shoulders and chest.

    For cats, small pets, and large birds: Sometimes it is helpful to wrap the pet in a blanket or towel so just her head is sticking out. For cats and rabbits, place the pet's hindquarters against something so she cannot back away from you; or after wrapping in a towel, it may help to place the animal between your knees as you sit on the floor. Some people like to place them more at eye level - on a table. In some cases, it may be necessary for another person to assist you in holding your pet while you give the medication.

  5. Administering Eye Drops to Cat

  6. If discharge is present, the area should be cleansed with a sterile eyewash solution prior to applying the medication.
  7. If directed to do so, shake the solution or suspension well before using.
  8. Remove the cap from the bottle of medication and place it on a clean surface.
  9. Place one hand under and around your pet's chin and lift upward, so the pet's eyes are looking towards the ceiling.
  10. Rest your other hand, holding the medication, on top of your pet's head. Be sure the tip of the bottle is pointed away from your pet's eye so if your pet jerks, the tube tip will not injure the eye.
  11. Hold the bottle of drops about one inch from the eye and squeeze the drops into the corner of the eye, taking care not to touch the dropper to the eye surface. Continue to hold the head back for a moment while the drops disperse over the entire eye surface.
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