Your dog’s eyes also need the proper attention to keep them happy and healthy. Unlike most of their body, dogs can’t usually reach their eyes to help keep them properly maintained. In order to ensure their health, and clear sight, you need to help your dog protect their eyes from infection and irritation.
Common signs of eye problems start with a thick buildup of discharge around their eye. While commonly normal to have some, if there are excessive amounts or more than usual, you definitely need to pay attention to their eyes. Reddish and irritated whites of the eyes can be the first signs of infection, and need to be addressed promptly. There are various causes for eye infection and irritation, many of which can be prevented through proper eye care and hygiene.
Keeping their eyes clean
You may have noticed the gunk and regular mucus discharge that will often build up in the corner of your dog’s eyes. This is possibly the most common, but also most overlooked hygienic requirement. The buildup around their eye can actually become a breeding ground for infection, so you need to be ready to help them clean the area. While warm water and a towel can be handy for doing so, be sure that you aren’t too rough, or you could hurt their eyes. Most regular buildup is easily controllable with minor attention, if you practice it daily. As dogs get older, or even play out in the dirt often, the mucus can be much more common, and isn’t something to worry about unless you allow it to accumulate and possibly become infected.
Some dogs are more prone to buildup in this area. Maltese, Poodles, and Cocker breads seem to have excessive buildup, often through over-active tear-ducts, which usually mats the hair around the eye as you may notices the dark staining and buildup become apparent. Eye wash solutions for dogs can help in more severe situations, and can definitely help prevent eye infections.
A hairy situation
Dogs are commonly covered in fur, which does grow and shed (our couch is well aware of this). I’m sure we all know how irritating it can be to get hair in your eyes, and for dogs it is no different. Excess hair around their eyes can cause irritation and even scratches on their retina and surrounding eye tissues, damaging their eyes. While frequent trips to the groomers can definitely help keep their eyes clear of a hairy situation, if the need arises, you can also do it yourself. Always use a curved pair of trimming scissors, never straight, to trip the hair around their eyes. There are quite a few breeds whose fur grows very quickly, so keeping the hair out of their eyes may be required.
Soap in your eyes
Another time when your dog is actually subject to eye irritation is during their occasional bath time. Soap and dirty water can easily get into their eyes when you’re rinsing them off, and can cause irritation. You can actually use a protective ointment on their eyes during bath time to help prevent dirt and soap from getting in their eyes.
Healthy diet for healthy eyes
One of the most important precautions you can take is to provide a healthy diet. Be sure that you are feeding them properly with a nutritional diet (table scraps aren’t a meal). There are also multi-vitamins available for your dog, and can be especially beneficial for older dogs whose sight may already be depleting with age.
But this also brings up the topic of cataracts. This problem is common in older dogs, and is usually identified by a cloudy buildup inside of their eye. Because a dog’s best sense isn’t their eyes, problems with navigation aren’t seen early on. This is usually because they navigate by memory and smell, but as their eyesight depletes, they can be confused by simple changes in furniture or new places. This is why a healthy diet throughout their life can help prevent cataracts and premature loss of sight by keeping their eyes healthy and strong.
Proper eye care is a daily part of your dog’s hygiene, and every owner needs to be aware of how to take care of your dog’s eyes. Daily maintenance, a quality diet, and a few precautions can keep your dog looking and seeing great.