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Keeping Your Dog's Eyes Clean & Healthy

Every dog needs to have their eyes and the surrounding area routinely cleaned and examined. Eye Problems can quickly arise in your dog and are not always as easy to spot as one might think.

As with most dog health care issues, preventing eye problems is a much better alternative then treating an existing problem.

dog eye care


Dog Eye Problems - Routine Maintenance

All dogs' eyes produce discharges or tears. This is the eye's way of cleaning itself of foreign debris and protecting the eye.

Everyday, you should moisten a cloth or cotton ball with warm water and gently wipe away any discharge or buildup you see, usually on the innermost corner of the eyes. Do not wipe the actual eye, as you may inadvertently scratch this delicate area. If there is crusting around your dog's eye, always close his eye lid first before wiping.

Some dogs will need to have the immediate hair trimmed from around the inside corner of their eyes, along the bridge of the nose, and from above the eyes in the bangs area. Too much hair in the corner of the eyes doesn't allow easy drainage, and discharge will buildup and mat in this hair. Bangs or loose hair around the eyes can also irritate the eyes if it continually brushes into them.

Remove excess hair carefully with blunt tipped scissors. Keep scissors pointed AWAY from the eye at all times when cutting. Have a second person hold your dog's head to keep it from moving.

Dog Eye Care - Special Considerations

For breeds with white or light colored coats, you might notice some tear staining occurring. It is difficult to fully stop this process, but you can help lighten the stains or remove them with tear stain remover products.

First, clean the area with warm water. Make sure it is trimmed properly to limit the amount of hair around the area. Then, per product directions, regularly apply a tear stain remover to the under-eye area in order to remove stains.

Breeds with protruding eyes are at a greater risk for numerous eye conditions since their eyes are shallow set in the eye socket. They are at a greater risk for eye trauma, eye pop outs, and dry eye. These dogs may benefit from a regular eye bath using sterile eye solutions like Opticlear or a similar product.

Dog Eye Problems - General Tips

Keeping your dog's eyes clean and the hair well trimmed will limit most problems, but there are some things to pay special attention to:

  1. Keep a sterile saline solution or pet eye product on hand in case your dog gets any kind of small debris, dust, or hair from clipping in its eyes. Gently flush the eyes out following grooming sessions.

  2. Keep a careful watch on your dog's eyes for irritation or trauma. Many dogs can easily get a corneal abrasion, like when a cat scratches them or a twig from a bush rubs their face. If you notice any unusual spots or scratches on the eye ball, see a vet right away.

  3. If your dog has a lot of eye discharge, it is thick, or heavily colored, have your vet conduct an eye test. Many dogs that do not have adequate tear production will have thick discharges. Eye infections may cause discolored discharges.

  4. Watch for redness or swelling. These indicate some kind of an irritation, infection, or trauma. Many times you will also see the third eyelid raised in the corner of the eye.

  5. If your dog is blinking a lot, squinting, or tearing more than usual, have you vet make sure there is no foreign body in the eye. Sometimes, a dog's hair or eyelashes will irritate the eye.

  6. Use a dog ophthalmic lubricant in your dog's eye when bathing or grooming to lessen the irritation from grooming products or small bits of cut hair.

Each dog is an individual, so be sure to ask your veterinarian if there are any extra precautions that you might need to take for your individual dog. Also be sure to always take your dog in for a check-up if you notice any new or unusual problems with your dog's eyes such as excessive tearing, discolored discharge, redness, or swelling. Waiting in these situations could potentially affect the health of the eye and even your dog's sight.

Some other pages you may be interested in:

Dog health care prevention and treatment.

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Discover why clicker training for dogs is my favorite way to shape my dog's behavior and habits.

Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.