Dangers of Dogs Ingesting Eye Drops 

We all know that our dogs can get into mischief if left alone, including trying to consume anything they can fit in their mouth. Eye drops are no exception! Unfortunately, eye drops can be surprisingly dangerous for pets if ingested, so it’s important to take precautions against curious pups getting their paws on eye drop containers that are left out. Read below to learn why eye drops pose such risks to dogs and what you should do if they consume any.  

Toxicity to Dogs 

Many over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays contain a substance called imidazoline, which can be harmful if ingested. Imidazoline is a type of medication that works to constrict blood vessels in the eyes, helping to reduce eye inflammation. If your pup ingests this medication, it can lead to toxic symptoms. As such, it’s important for owners to be extra careful when administering eye drops to their pets – ensuring that they don’t accidentally consume them. If your dog does happen to ingest eye drops, it’s important to contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Taking preventative measures is key to avoiding any potential toxic exposure. 

Symptoms of Eye Drop Ingestion 

If your dog happens to ingest eye drops or chew the bottle, they can be severely poisoned. Just a small ingestion can cause the following clinical signs: 

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

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. 


If your dog has ingested eye drops or the bottle, you must find immediate veterinary attention by contacting your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. Your pet will need to be hospitalized for treatment and monitoring. Medications will be provided to ease the symptoms. Specific treatment will depend on the dosage and your dog’s condition. Preventative steps are the key to avoiding any poisoning emergencies. Store all medications out of your pup’s reach. Closely follow directions and correct dosage when administering medications to your furry friend.