Can Dogs Pass Conjunctivitis to Humans? – Pet Help Reviews UK (2023)

Yes, dogs can pass conjunctivitis to humans. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or an allergic reaction.

Symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and discharge. Dogs can transmit conjunctivitis to humans through direct contact with their eyes or secretions from their nose or mouth. In rare cases, dogs can also transmit other diseases, such as rabies, to humans through bites or scratches.

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye condition that can be caused by several things, including bacteria, viruses, allergies, and irritants. It’s usually mild and goes away on its own within a week or two. However, conjunctivitis can sometimes be more serious, especially if it’s caused by a bacterial infection.

How Pets Transmit Diseases to Humans?

Pets can potentially transmit diseases to humans through various routes. Here are a few common ways:

  1. Direct contact: Disease transmission can occur through direct physical contact with an infected animal. This can include touching, petting, or being scratched or bitten by a diseased pet. Skin-to-skin contact can facilitate the spread of certain bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
  2. Zoonotic infections: Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Examples include rabies, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, campylbacteriosis, and toxoplasmosis. These diseases can be contracted through contact with an infected animal’s saliva, urine, feces, or body fluids.
  3. Vector-borne diseases: Some diseases are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected vectors like ticks, fleas, or mosquitoes that may be carrying pathogens. For instance, ticks can transmit Lyme disease, while mosquitoes can spread diseases like West Nile virus and heartworm disease.
  4. Contaminated environment: Pets can shed disease-causing organisms into the environment through their feces. If proper hygiene practices are not followed, such as handwashing after handling pets or cleaning up their waste, there is a risk of disease transmission. Contaminated surfaces, soil, water, or food can act as sources of infection.
  5. Allergies: While not infectious diseases, pets can trigger allergies in susceptible individuals. Allergies to pet dander, saliva, or urine can cause respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing, or wheezing in humans.

Preventing disease transmission from pets to humans involves adopting good hygiene practices, such as:

  • Regularly washing hands with soap and water, especially after handling pets, cleaning up waste, or coming into contact with animal environments.
  • Properly disposing of pet waste and cleaning up living areas regularly.
  • Following appropriate tick and flea prevention measures for pets and taking precautions to reduce exposure to vectors.
  • Ensuring pets are up to date on vaccinations and receive regular veterinary care.
  • Avoiding close contact with animals if you are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system.

If you have concerns about specific diseases or zoonotic infections related to your pet, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or veterinarian for guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Can You Get Bacterial Conjunctivitis from a Dog?

Yes, you can get bacterial conjunctivitis from a dog. This is because dogs can carry the same bacteria that cause conjunctivitis in humans.

When these bacteria come into contact with your eye, they can cause an infection. Symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis include redness, swelling, discharge, and pain.

If you think you may have bacterial conjunctivitis, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get treatment.

Can Dogs Pass Eye Infections to Humans?

It is possible for dogs to pass eye infections to humans. However, it is not very common for this to happen. The most common type of eye infection that dogs can pass to humans is called conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid.

This condition is also known as “pink eye”. Dogs can also pass other types of infections, such as bacterial or viral infections, to humans through contact with their eyes.

However, these types of infections are much less common than conjunctivitis and usually only occur if a person has a weakened immune system.

How Contagious is Dog Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye,” is a very contagious infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inside of your eyelid. When this membrane becomes inflamed, it turns pink or red, hence the name “pink eye.”

There are three different types of conjunctivitis: bacterial, viral, and allergic. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious because it is caused by an allergen such as pollen or pet dander; however, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are both highly contagious.

Bacterial pink eye is usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. This type of pink eye is often accompanied by pus drainage and crusting around the eyelashes. It usually affects only one eye, but can spread to both if left untreated.

Bacterial pink eye is most commonly seen in children under five years old. Viral pink eye is most often caused by adenoviruses, which are a common cause of respiratory infections such as the cold or flu. Other viruses that can cause pink eye include herpes simplex virus (HSV), Varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles), and enteroviruses such as Coxsackievirus A24 variant (which causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease).

Like bacterial pink eye, viral pink eye usually affects only one eye at first but can quickly spread to both eyes within days. The symptoms of viral and bacterial pink eye are similar and can include:

  • Redness in the whites of your eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Increased tear production
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

However, there are some key differences between these two types of conjunctivitis. For example, with viral conjunctivitis you may also have a fever or experience cold symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throat; with allergic Conjunctivitis you may have swelling around your eyes; and with bacterial Conjunctivitis you may have pus draining from your affected Eye(s).

Is Dog Conjunctivitis the Same As Human Conjunctivitis?

No, dog conjunctivitis is not the same as human conjunctivitis. Although both types are caused by inflammation of the eye, there are some important differences between them. For example, dog conjunctivitis is more likely to be caused by allergies or bacteria, while human conjunctivitis is more often caused by viruses.

Treatment for the two types also differs, so it’s important to get a diagnosis from a veterinarian before starting any treatment for your dog.

Can Dogs Pass Conjunctivitis to Humans? – Pet Help Reviews UK (1)


Can You Get Pink Eye from a Dog Sitting on Your Pillow?

It turns out that you can’t get pink eye from a dog directly. However, if your dog has pink eye and is rubbing its eyes on your pillow, it’s possible for the infection to spread that way.

So it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s eyes and see a vet if they start looking red or irritated. If you do have pink eye, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching anything around your face. And don’t let your dog sleep on your bed until the infection has cleared up!

How to Treat Pink Eye in Dogs?

If your dog has pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, there are a few things you can do at home to help clear up the infection. First, gently clean any discharge from around the eye with a warm, wet cloth. You can also use a cotton ball soaked in sterile saline solution or boiled water.

Be sure to avoid using anything that could irritate the eye, such as soap. Once the area is clean, apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the affected eye(s). This will help to speed up healing and prevent further irritation.

You can also give your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine if they seem to be in discomfort. Just be sure not to give them more than the recommended dosage for their weight.

If your dog’s symptoms don’t seem to be improving after a few days of treatment, or if they seem to be getting worse, it’s best to take them to see a veterinarian. They can prescribe stronger medication if necessary and make sure that there isn’t anything else going on that could be causing the conjunctivitis.


Yes, dogs can pass conjunctivitis to humans. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. It is a common condition that can be caused by allergies, infections, or irritants.

Dogs can develop conjunctivitis from allergies, infections, or injury to the eye. Allergies are the most common cause of conjunctivitis in dogs, but they can also develop bacterial or viral infections. These infections are usually passed on to humans through contact with infected dog saliva or mucus.

Injury to the eye can also lead to conjunctivitis. Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the underlying cause. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated with antihistamines and avoidance of allergens. Bacterial and viral infections are treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. Conjunctivitis caused by injury should resolve on its own within a few days.


Can a human get conjunctivitis from a dog? ›

Humans can catch conjunctivitis from their pet, but this is fortunately a rare occurrence. If you're also wondering “Can dogs get conjunctivitis from humans?” the answer is yes. This is possible and owners suffering from conjunctivitis should make sure they wash their hands before cuddling with their furry best friend.

Can dogs pass eye infections to humans? ›

Eye infections caused by a virus or bacteria in dogs can be spread to humans, so isolation of the affected dog is also suggested in situations where they are the only one pet in the household.

Is dog conjunctivitis the same as human conjunctivitis? ›

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a common condition in dogs (just like it is in humans). The term conjunctivitis means inflammation (swelling) of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue covering the eyeball and eyelids. This tissue is a mucous membrane, which is a layer of cells that make mucus.

How contagious is conjunctivitis? ›

Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Most viruses that cause conjunctivitis spread through hand-to-eye contact by hands or objects that are contaminated with the infectious virus. Having contact with infectious tears, eye discharge, fecal matter, or respiratory discharges can contaminate hands.

Can I get pink eye from my dog licking my eye? ›

Can you get pink eye from a dog? If your dog's conjunctivitis is viral then generally it is non-zoonotic, meaning that it is only contagious to other dogs and not to humans.

How do you get rid of conjunctivitis in dogs naturally? ›

Natural Conjunctivitis Remedies Procedure in Dogs

Herbal eye drops can be administered to your dog. Use a formula consisting of 1 cup of water, ¼ tsp of salt and 10 drops of one of the following: Eyebright. Calendula.

What infections can dogs pass to humans? ›

This review focused on the most important viral and bacterial zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted by dogs.
  • Rabies. Rabies is a single strand RNA virus belonging to the Rhabdoviridae family. ...
  • Noroviruses. ...
  • Pasteurella. ...
  • Salmonella.
  • Brucella.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica.
  • Campylobacter.
  • Capnocytophaga.

Is conjunctivitis contagious in humans? ›

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) are very contagious. They can spread easily from person to person. You can greatly reduce the risk of getting conjunctivitis or spreading it to someone else by following some simple steps for good hygiene.

Can you get eye parasites from dogs? ›

Does it pose any risk for humans? This parasite does not only infest companion animals, but it has also a zoonotic potential. Humans may be infested through the same intermediate host and in the same way. Thus, dogs may act as a reservoir for human infection!

What is the difference between conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis? ›

Bacterial Conjunctivitis normally causes a yellow or green sticky discharge throughout the day. They will feel itchy and the eyelids may become swollen. Viral Conjunctivitis normally causes a watery discharge during the day and present with sticky discharge in the morning. The eyelids may become very swollen.

What is the difference between pink eye and bacterial conjunctivitis? ›

Conjunctivitis is most often caused by germs such as viruses and bacteria. "Pink eye" most often refers to a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily among children. Conjunctivitis can be found in people with COVID-19 before they have other typical symptoms.

What color is dog conjunctivitis? ›

The clinical signs of conjunctivitis are discharge from the eyes (cloudy, yellow, or greenish), squinting or excessive blinking, and redness or swelling around the eyes.

Can conjunctivitis be airborne? ›

Allergic conjunctivitis — Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by airborne allergens that come in contact with the eye. Symptoms (most commonly redness, watery discharge, and itching of both eyes) may be sudden in onset (acute), seasonal, or present year-round (perennial), depending upon the allergen.

How quickly does conjunctivitis pass? ›

Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment.

How long can pink eye live on sheets? ›

Pink eye can be contagious if it is caused by a virus. The risk of spread is higher when there is drainage from the eye. The virus can be survive on surfaces for up to two weeks.

Is dog eye conjunctivitis contagious? ›

Is It Contagious? Non-infectious conjunctivitis in dogs is not contagious. If a case of dog pink eye is caused by a rare bacterial infection or a virus, however, the ASPCA warns that the condition can be transmitted by your dog to other dogs.

How long does conjunctivitis last in dogs? ›

Recovery of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

The recovery time is usually only days before some improvement is seen in the case of allergen or fungal infections, although some viral or bacterial infections do take up to three weeks to clear.

Can dog saliva cause eye infection? ›

It's not recommended to allow your dog to lick your eyes. The mouth of dogs hosts many oral microbiomes of viruses, bacteria , and yeast that can cause infections and diseases. These microbiomes might not harm the dog, but once they enter your system through your eyes, they can cause severe illness.

What kills conjunctivitis bacteria? ›

Antibiotics. For bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor may recommend antibiotics in the form of eyedrops. They are typically used three to four times a day for five to seven days. The dosage depends on your condition and the type of antibiotics your doctor prescribes.

Will Benadryl help dog conjunctivitis? ›

Depending on their diagnosis and symptoms, some pups may need additional support with oral medications. Common examples include an antihistamine like Benadryl for conjunctivitis due to seasonal allergies, or a dog-safe pain medication to relieve eye pain.

How can I treat my dogs conjunctivitis without a vet prescription? ›

Mild cases of conjunctivitis or allergies may be relieved with home remedies like warm compresses or saline solution rinses. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it's best to consult with a veterinarian.

What is the new dog virus going around? ›

Canine influenza, also known as the dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs, and is different from the seasonal influenza viruses that spread annually among people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How do dogs act when they smell illness? ›

When a dog is detecting sickness in their human, there are some tell-tale signs you can read simply from your doggy's body language. The dog will raise his snoot and tilt his head when he is trying to concentrate on the things, sounds and smells around him. He will be relaxed, yet alert.

How can you tell if conjunctivitis is viral or bacterial? ›

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis cause similar symptoms, including redness, swelling, itching, and discharge. However, viral conjunctivitis usually causes a thin, watery discharge, while bacterial conjunctivitis causes a thicker discharge.

How do you prevent conjunctivitis from spreading? ›

Wash hands especially well after touching someone with pink eye or their personal items. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye. Avoid sharing personal items, such as makeup, eye drops, towels, bedding, contact lenses and containers, and eyeglasses.

How long does contagious conjunctivitis last? ›

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) generally remains contagious as long as your child has tearing and matted eyes. Pink eye is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. Depending on the cause of your child's pink eye, signs and symptoms usually improve within a few days to two weeks.

How serious is conjunctivitis in dogs? ›

If your dog is showing signs of conjunctivitis, even if symptoms seem very mild, contact your vet as soon as possible. Left untreated conjunctivitis can lead to permanent eye damage.

What do dog mites look like to the human eye? ›

Mites look like small spider-like creatures, with are estimated to only be 1/4 to 1/3 millimeters long. To the naked eye, they may look like tiny black dots on the skin, so you can only really see them under a microscope. They have a world-wide distribution, often being transferred from one dog to another.

What can be mistaken for conjunctivitis? ›

There are plenty of eye conditions that have similar symptoms to pink eye. It's common to mistake allergies, styes, iritis, keratitis, and blepharitis for pink eye, but they can have different causes and require different treatments.

What are the 3 main types of conjunctivitis? ›

There are three main types of conjunctivitis: allergic, infectious and chemical. The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the type.

What is the most serious form of conjunctivitis? ›

Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most dangerous type of pink eye. It results from a bacterial infection. If left untreated by an eye care professional, the bacteria can cause serious damage to the affected eye.

Can bacterial conjunctivitis get better without antibiotics? ›

Mild bacterial conjunctivitis may get better without antibiotic treatment and without causing any complications. It often improves in 2 to 5 days without treatment but can take 2 weeks to go away completely.

Should you bathe conjunctivitis? ›

Treatment depends very much on the cause, and the following self-care advice for conjunctivitis is general. Bathe your eyes. Before touching them, wash your hands with soap and warm water.

What is the most common bacterial cause of conjunctivitis? ›

Staphylococcus species are the most common pathogens for bacterial conjunctivitis in adults, followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.

Should I wipe my dogs conjunctivitis? ›

Twice a day, wet a clean soft cloth with lukewarm water, squeeze out and wipe away discharge from around eye area. Carefully trim eye hair to prevent contamination from building up around eyes and allow discharge to drain. Smooth hair around the eye away from the eye area. This can prevent reinfection.

Can conjunctivitis spread through clothes? ›

Transmission. In infectious conjunctivitis, the fluids from an infected person's eyes are highly contagious. Therefore, it can be passed from person-to-person via contaminated fingers, clothes, towels, and through items such as eye makeup and sunglasses. Children younger than 5 are most often affected.

Can conjunctivitis spread to lungs? ›

Viral conjunctivitis usually occurs from adenoviruses. This type of virus can infect your eyes, urinary tract, and your lungs, and airways.

Can you get pink eye from a dog sitting on your pillow? ›

In rare cases, a dog can give a human pink eye. Likewise, if you are suffering from pink eye, it's a possibility for you to transfer the infection to your beloved friend.

How do you get rid of conjunctivitis fast at home? ›

  1. Using artificial tears.
  2. Cleaning your eyelids with a wet cloth.
  3. Applying cold or warm compresses several times daily.
Jan 5, 2023

How does conjunctivitis start? ›

Conjunctivitis is a condition that occurs when the conjunctiva (a thin layer of cells covering the front of your eyes) becomes inflamed. The 3 most common causes of this inflammation are: infection (infective conjunctivitis) an allergic reaction (allergic conjunctivitis)

Do I have to disinfect everything after pink eye? ›

Pink eye can also be spread through germs coughed or sneezed into the air. Another common way kids can contract pink eye is through contact with items or toys that have been touched by others who are infected. So once you see signs of an infection, it's a good idea to disinfect all toys.

Do I need to wash sheets after pink eye? ›

Wash Sheets and Linens

Sleeping on the same bacteria filled pillowcase every night can only cause you severe problems— like pink eye. As one of the first steps you should take when discovering that either yourself or your child has pink eye is to wash all of your sheets and linens in hot water.

How do you disinfect surfaces from pink eye? ›

Use an EPA-registered disinfectant on surfaces that is effective at killing adenoviruses,* such as a bleach-based solution (2,000–5,000 ppm chlorine or 10 to 25 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water). Ensure the disinfectants remain on all surfaces for the recommended contact time. Apply wet and allow to dry.

How quickly does conjunctivitis spread in dogs? ›

Viral conjunctivitis tends to spread quickly and can take up to three weeks until the pup starts to feel better. Bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus (commonly referred to as "staph" and "strep") can infect the eye and cause conjunctivitis in dogs.

What virus causes conjunctivitis in dogs? ›

Primary conjunctivitis in dogs may result from viral infection of the conjunctival epithelium, including infection with canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV-1) and canine adenovirus 2.

Can animals cause conjunctivitis? ›

Many people wonder if they can catch conjunctivitis from their dog? It may surprise you to learn that, while it's very unlikely that you will catch conjunctivitis from your dog it is possible if the cause of your pup's eye condition is a parasite such as roundworms.

Is conjunctivitis contagious the whole time? ›

Answer From Kevin D. Chodnicki, M.D. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) generally remains contagious as long as your child has tearing and matted eyes. Pink eye is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. Depending on the cause of your child's pink eye, signs and symptoms usually improve within a few days to two weeks.

How does dog conjunctivitis spread? ›

Non-infectious conjunctivitis in dogs is not contagious. If a case of dog pink eye is caused by a rare bacterial infection or a virus, however, the ASPCA warns that the condition can be transmitted by your dog to other dogs.

Should I walk my dog if he has conjunctivitis? ›

If your dog's conjunctivitis is viral, it is usually not contagious to you, but might be to other dogs, says Smith. Make sure your dog walker has all of this information to protect all of the pups they walk. If bacterial, it may be contagious to both humans and to other dogs.

What gets rid of conjunctivitis in dogs? ›

Dog conjunctivitis treatment

eye drops for dogs. antihistamines or steroids. surgery (in more serious cases)

What happens if conjunctivitis goes untreated in dogs? ›

If your dog is showing signs of conjunctivitis, even if symptoms seem very mild, contact your vet as soon as possible. Left untreated conjunctivitis can lead to permanent eye damage.

What parasite causes conjunctivitis in dogs? ›

Thelaziosis: Keep your dog free from eyeworms. Have you heard of thelaziosis? In Europe, some fruit flies host an emerging parasite known as “eyeworm”, an infestation which causes more or less severe conjunctivitis, sometimes leading to corneal ulcers and even blindness in dogs.

What are the 3 causes of conjunctivitis? ›

Causes of conjunctivitis

The 3 most common causes of this inflammation are: infection (infective conjunctivitis) an allergic reaction (allergic conjunctivitis) something irritating the conjunctiva, such as a loose eyelash (irritant conjunctivitis)

Can pet hair cause conjunctivitis? ›

Sometimes conjunctivitis can happen in response to an allergen such as pollen or pet dander. This is called allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergy.

Can food cause conjunctivitis in dogs? ›

Other common clinical signs of food allergies include: Vomiting and diarrhea in up to 20% of food allergic dogs. Conjunctivitis (red eyes) Hives.


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