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Dog eye care can be somewhat “hit and miss”. It’s something dog owners generally take for granted unless your dog’s eyes start to show signs of infection, or perhaps there are signs that your dog’s eyesight is not as good as it once was.
We probably take dog eye care for granted because we’ve never stopped to consider that dogs don’t have an effective way of keeping his/her eyes clean. After all, we simply wash our faces with a wet face cloth or by splashing plenty of water on our faces, including our eyes. Dogs, however, when left to care for their own eyes, remove buildup by rubbing their faces on the carpet or against furniture, or perhaps with their paws. None of these methods of “natural” dog eye care is particularly effective, and they’re not particularly safe, either. Rubbing their eyes against surfaces or even their own paws can easily deposit dirt in the eye causing further irritation.
So we as pet owners need to provide our dogs with eye care on a frequent basis.
You should check your dog’s eyes at least weekly to ensure good eye care.
Healthy eyes in a dog are moist and clear. Redness, swelling, mucus discharge or squinting may all be indications of the presence of eye infection in your dog. If you see anything that is of concern, you should consult your vet.
But there are steps you can take yourself to improve your dog’s eye care, and ensure your dog’s eye health generally:
1. Keep hair away from your dog’s eyes, as hair can irritate the eyes and can cause tiny scratches on the cornea of your dog’s eye.
2. Particularly if you have a breed of dog that has long hair, you should regularly trim the hair around your dog’s eye. ALWAYS use blunt-nosed scissors for this, or you could potentially cause severe damage to your dog’s eye if s/he moves while you’re cutting the hair away.
3. Keep mucus to a minimum by using a sterile eyewash or eyewipes. Mucus is not only unsightly, but can easily lead to infection. Eye infections in your dog are often the result of bacteria that overgrow on mucus that is not cleaned away.
4. Take care of your dog’s eyes when bathing your dog. Use a mild, good quality dog shampoo of course – but even shampoos that are non-irritating to the eyes can in fact irritate the eyes if not washed out very well. Help to prevent the shampoo getting in your dog’s eyes by using a protective ophthalmic ointment under the top lid of your dog’s eye before you bath your dog.
5. If your dog is prone to developing “tear stains”, you should clean the hair in the “tear” area just under the inner corners of the eyes on a regular basis (at least once a week) with a tear stain remover product. Some breeds tend to develop tear stains more than others – e.g. Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Maltese.
6. Older dogs can develop an opaque, cloudy look on their eyes. This can be a normal sign of aging, but it may be caused by cataracts, which is a degenerative condition of the eye that can result in your dog eventually going blind over a number of years. There are natural, homeopathic, eye remedies for dogs available that can assist, and even reverse this process.
Eye care for your dog is an essential part of your dog’s care. They’re not a part of your dog’s anatomy you want to take any chances with.