There’s Something In My Cat’s or Dog’s Eye. What Should I Do?

When something gets stuck in your pet’s eye, it can be a very uncomfortable experience. Specks of dirt, dust, grass, grass awns, sand, or any small substance can be bothersome and can lead to further damage if not treated appropriately.

In this article, we’ll cover what you can do if you suspect that something is stuck in your dog or cat’s eye, and when you should seek veterinary help.

Signs that something could be in your pet’s eye

While dogs and cats are known for being able to hide their pain, the eyes are particularly sensitive to even the slightest forms of irritation.  It’s important to take a few moments to investigate if you notice that your dog or cat is displaying any of the following behaviors and symptoms:

  • Pawing at the eye
  • Your pet is rubbing its face on the ground
  • Excessive tear production
  • Frequent squinting

Excessive eye pawing and facial rubbing can lead to further damage to the eye. If you have an E-collar (a protective cone) from a previous veterinary procedure, you may want to place it around your pet’s neck until you can remove the foreign object or get to the veterinarian.

Removing a foreign object from your pet’s eye

You can try to remove the foreign body or substance by flushing your pet’s eye with saline solution, however this can be difficult if your pet is experiencing eye pain.

Do not try to remove the object with your fingers or tweezers, as this can cause even more damage to the eye.

When to go to the veterinarian

If you are unable to remove the object with the flushing technique, you should take your pet to your veterinarian immediately. If the signs noted above persist after flushing the eye, or if you notice swelling of the eye or eyelid, you should also get to the veterinarian quickly so that your pet doesn’t experience any complications. More acute eye injuries in dogs and cats can include:

  • Corneal scratches
  • Corneal trauma
  • Injury to the eyelids

In severe cases, the object may penetrate the eye, which can lead to blindness.

Need more information?

Your local Banfield veterinarian can answer any questions or concerns you have about your pet’s eyes.  You can also read the following articles to learn more about eye conditions in pets.