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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Foreign object in eye View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition




Condition Overview

It is common for pets to get things stuck in their eyes, especially dogs and cats with prominent eyes like Pekingese and Persians. The fur on furry-faced breeds like Old English sheepdogs is designed to protect the eyes, but all dogs and cats have another form of protection.


Signs of a foreign object in the eye are tearing and watering, blinking, squinting, and pawing


Material left in the eye for too long can lead to sores or infections.


Diagnosis is made by a physical examination of the eye.


To remove foreign material on the surface of the eye or behind the eyelids, restrain the dog and hold the eyelids open. Any wiggling could cause more injury to the eye. If it's something like a blade of grass that can be easily reached, use your fingers to grab it and gently pull it out.

Flush the eye for 10 - 15 minutes using cool water, or preferably a sterile saline eyewash or even artificial tears. To flush the eye, soak a was of cotton in the solution and squeeze it into the eye repeatedly. If you have a bottle of artificial tears (like Hypo Tears) on hand, you can flush the eye directly from the bottle.

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If the foreign body cannot be removed by irrigation, you may be able to remove it by gently touching it with a wet cotton tipped swab (Q-tip). The foreign body may adhere to the cotton tip.
Treat with an antibiotic designed for pets' eyes like, Terramycin Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment, is a good idea if you get the material out easily and the eye does not become red or irritated. It will help prevent infection and also soothe and protect the eye from further irritation in case some material is still in there. Pull down the lower eyelid and squeeze a small amount of ointment into the cupped tissue. If the eye remains red and your pet appears to be experiencing discomfort or pain, see your vet right away.

Foreign bodies that penetrate the surface of the eye must be removed by a vet. Keep the dog from pawing at the eye while you are on route to the veterinary hospital.

If the dog continues to squint or tear after the foreign body has been removed, have him checked by the vet to see if the cornea has been damaged.


Make sure your pet doesn't make the problem worse by scratching at his eye. The only good way to do this is by having him wear an Elizabethan collar.


Please contact your veterinarian if are unable to safely remove the object from the dogs eye, or you suspect physical eye damage.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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