What Can be Done for a Cat Scratch on my Dog’s Eye?

Hey Dr. Barchas...Sophie got a scratch in the eye last night from a neighbors cat!! She cried a lot! I brought her home immediately and...


Hey Dr. Barchas…Sophie got a scratch in the eye last night from a neighbors cat!! She cried a lot! I brought her home immediately and put hot towels on her face and eye! Today she seems a lot better! We put hot towels on this morning too!
My question…What else can we do to make sure it is clean and healing? Are there human eye drops we can use?? Artificial tears or something!!
Is there a sign we can look for to let us know it’s not healing properly or not?? When is it time to go to the vet!!??

Concord, NC

Despite the abundant clichs in which dogs chase and attack cats, my experience has been quite the opposite. Cats are formidable opponents, and dogs that tangle with them often come up on the losing end of things. Friendly dogs are especially prone to eye injury when they attempt to sniff the face of a recalcitrant feline.

Angela, since your dog doesn’t appear to be in much pain, it sounds like your dog’s injury was mild. If the claw missed the eye and instead struck an eyelid, third eyelid, or the membranes around the eye, there is a good chance of uncomplicated recovery without veterinary intervention (although trauma to the third eyelid can predispose dogs to a syndrome known colloquially as “cherry eye”).

However, you should be aware that if the claw struck the surface of the eye then serious infections and complications can occur — I have seen a couple of dogs lose eyes after cat strikes. There are no over-the-counter eye drops that prevent infection. Trauma to the eye itself usually results in significant pain (manifested by squinting), but this is not universal. Only a veterinarian can determine (by performing certain tests) whether the eye injury is serious or not.

Therefore, a trip to the vet is in order. Hopefully no serious injury has occurred.

6 thoughts on “What Can be Done for a Cat Scratch on my Dog’s Eye?”

  1. My normally sweet cat turned into the spawn of Satan now that she's pregnant so I keep my 7-year-old Chihuahua, Little Bit, away from her. But somehow she got in the room and proceeded to VICIOUSLY attack my dog. After I broke the fight up Little Bit's left eye was bleeding. It stopped a few minutes later and I was able to use antibacterial eye drops (don't worry, it's for dogs) and she didn't cry or whine like she was in pain, which is kinda odd because she will yelp when a cat gets anywhere near her while she's under the covers. She didn't even yelp during the fight. So I'm wondering if she's in pain even though she's not making any sounds? Also, is there any way I (or any pet parent) would be able to see an injury (such as a scratch mark) directly on her eyeball without any medical equipment or a vet? I appreciate any advice you can give me.

  2. charlize ackerman

    my dog was swatted by my cat last night in the eye. she seemed okay until I noticed underneath her pupil it was really red and there seemed to be a puncture, but I am not sure.
    anyway, I am not sure what to do, but she doesn’t seem to be in much pain today. She isn’t squinting or anything but it is red.

  3. This happened to my new pup, when she met my cat. Amd the next day, she has a small blueish white spot on her eye. She is 9 weeks old, and im really worried.

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