Whether it’s allergies, dust, or water, here are some tips on identifying eye issues and how to keep your pet’s eyes irritation free.
Some dogs have very few eye issues. Others have frequent problems, such blocked tear ducts, inflammation, allergies, and even infection. Whether your dog has recurrent eye difficulties or is pretty low maintenance in the eye department, it’s a good idea to keep his eyes clean.
Here are some signs that your dog is having eye issues:
- Irritation. If your dog is holding one eye partially or complete shut, or is pawing at his eye, he is experiencing pain and irritation. Try flushing his eye several times with an eye rinse solution like Vetericyn Plus® All Animal Eye Wash. If the irritation continues, your dog should be examined by a veterinarian. It’s also a good idea to regularly wash your dog’s eyes, especially if you are active around dirt and dust or water. This can help keep the eyes clean and reduce the risk of infection.
- Tear stains. Some light-colored dogs develop brown tearstains in the inside corners just below their eyes. This can be caused by the anatomy of their eyes, which makes it difficult for tears to drain normally. (Rounded eyes like those seen in Chihuahuas and Pekingese are prone to this problem.) Other dogs can have tear staining due to a lot of hair around the eyes. To clean away the stains, use a damp cloth or a commercial wipe designed to clear tearstains. In addition to relieving irritated yes, our Eye Wash works great on tear stains! If your dog’s tear stains are caused by a blocked tearduct (a sign of this is tearing in only one eye), he will need to see a veterinarian.
- Difficulty seeing. If you notice your dog is running into objects or is hesitant or fearful in the dark, he may be having an issue with his sight. Most dogs go blind gradually and learn to cope with their inability to see, but a more sudden loss of sight can create anxiety in your dog. If you suspect a problem with his vision, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
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As with all health problems, prevention is key. When it comes to eye troubles some issues can’t be avoided, such as breed-related eye structure or eye disease passed along through genetics. But for most dogs, the following steps can help keep eyes healthy:
- Regular cleaning. “Eye gunk” can form in the corner of a dog’s eye, making him prone to bacterial infections. Combat this by regularly rinsing his eyes when mucous forms or irritation seems to be occurring. Vetericyn Plus® All Animal Eye Wash is a safe, non-toxic eye wash that relieves redness and irritation and helps keep the eyes clean and free of bacteria.
- Trim hair. Excess hair around your dog’s eyes can increase his chances of developing eye irritation or infection. A veterinarian or professional groomer can trim away the hair surrounding your dog’s eyes using a blunt-nosed scissor. Please do not attempt to cut hair around your animal’s eyes as you may cause injury. Seek the help of a professional groomer or veterinarian.
- Protect. To prevent injury to your dog’s eye, don’t let him hang his head out the window when he’s in the car. Particles can strike his eye, scratching his cornea or causing other irritation. When bathing him with medicated shampoo or a flea-killing product, put an ophthalmic ointment made especially for pets (available online or in pet supply stores) in his eyes to keep the shampoo or chemicals from causing irritation.
- Observe. Keep a close eye on your dog for any eye irritation, infection or loss of vision. Don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has an eye problem.
If you have any questions about caring for your pet’s eyes, please email our veterinarian. For chronic eye issues that do not respond to treatment, please have your dog examined by your local veterinarian.
Watch the video below for tips from our veterinarian, Dr. Mindy Mayfield Davis, on how to safely clean your dog’s eyes.