Are Eye Drops Poisonous to Dogs If Ingested?

If you’re a pet owner, chances are that your four-legged friend has had their fair share of accidental moments while exploring the world around them. As inquisitive as our furry pals can be, there are some substances and objects in our homes that may present dangers if ingested by dogs – including eye drops! While humans use these products to alleviate red, itchy eyes, letting your pup get their mouth on eye drops could spell disaster. Read below to take an in-depth look at what happens when dogs consume eye drops and how to prevent serious health risks from developing. 

Toxicity to Dogs 

Many over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays contain a substance called imidazoline, which can be harmful if consumed. Imidazoline is a medication that works to constrict blood vessels in the eyes, reducing eye inflammation. Unfortunately, if your dog ingests this substance, it can cause toxic symptoms. Therefore, pet owners must be vigilant when administering eye drops, ensuring that their pets do not accidentally ingest them. In case of accidental ingestion, it is important to contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline immediately for guidance on the next steps. Being proactive in taking preventative measures is key to avoiding potential toxic exposure. 

Effects of Eye Drop Ingestion 

If your dog happens to ingest eye drops or chew the bottle, they can be severely poisoned. Signs of poisoning can manifest in as little as 15 minutes after ingesting a large amount or a few hours after consuming a small quantity. Symptoms of poisoning include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Lethargy or depression 
  • Agitation 
  • Incoordination 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Life-threatening low heart rate 


If your dog has ingested eye drops or the bottle, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. You should contact your veterinarian as well as Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. Your pet will need to be hospitalized for proper treatment and monitoring. Medications will be given to alleviate the symptoms. The specific treatment will vary depending on the amount ingested and your dog’s condition. To prevent poisoning emergencies, it is important to store all medications where your dog cannot reach them. When administering medications to your furry friend, carefully follow the instructions and give the correct dosage. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Pet Poison Helpline for help!