Introducing Good Dog Eye CareAuthor: Maria Elena
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.
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Understanding Dog Eye InfectionsAuthor: Barbara Yank
As a responsible pet owner, keeping the dog healthy and away from possible dog eye infections should be a primary concern. Dog eye issues can either be viral or bacterial and unlike humans, dogs can't remove any foreign object that can come in contact with their eyes. Some breeds maybe prone to certain eye problems compared to others, so it's important to consult a veterinarian if the symptoms persist to avoid any more serious health problem.
There are some general signs to look out for dog eye infections. Check if the dog is blinking too much or squinting. There might also be an infection if the dog appears to be in pain and refuses to be touched on the head. Check if the dog is also avoiding light or rubbing its eyes against the floor or furniture and see if there's any redness in the eyes or there's no obvious abnormal bulging. A clear loss of appetite and constant whining can also mean a dog eye infection or injury. If there's an opaque membrane over the eye or it appears cloudy, or if the eye looks red and inflamed, this could be conjunctivitis. The change in pressure inside the eyes can affect the firmness of the eyeball. A softer eye can mean uvetitis while a harder eye could indicate glaucoma.
Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most common dog eye problems and can also be caused by allergies or parasites. This infection happens when the membrane inside the eyelids and in front of the eye are inflamed. Symptoms for conjunctivitis could be one of the following: inflamed red eyes, excessive tearing and a thick yellowish or greenish mucus discharge. The usual treatment for this dog eye infection is with antibiotic eye drops, given several times a day. There might also be some allergy medication or oral antibiotics given, depending on the cause. Home remedy for conjunctivitis involves cleaning the dog's eyelids and wiping away the discharge with a cotton ball moistened with lukewarm water. There are also over the counter eye scrubs, which can be applies at least twice a day or as many times as necessary. Applying a damp and warm compress to the affected eye for five minutes can provide relief to the dog.
Another common dog eye infection is dry eye or otherwise known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is what happens when natural tears aren't produced to keep the eyes moist, which can cause damage to the tear ducts. This dog eye infection should be treated immediately otherwise it can lead to more serious problems like corneal ulcers and even blindness. Treatment for dry eye or KCT includes surgery and medications to keep the eye lubricated.
Cherry eye is when there's protrusion of the dog's third eyelid out of the corner of the eye. This can be easily treated with surgery and has a high success rate. Another dog eye infection is entropion, where the eyelids roll inward and cause the eyelashes to come in contact with the eyes that can lead to irritation and pain. This disease can be inherited so it's best to check if the dog is prone to this condition. Entropion can be treated with a simple surgery but it's important to have this treated right away or it can become a worse health problem. Meanwhile, ectropion is a dog eye infection when the eyelids roll outward and exposes the inner eyelid. Breeds with drooping eyelids such as St. Bernards are prone to this infection but this can be treated with eye drops and ointments.
Glaucoma is one of the more serious dog eye infections, and can cause blindness if not taken care of immediately. This canine eye problem happens when liquid builds up inside the eye that increases pressure inside it and can ultimately lead to a more serious damage. As much as glaucoma is painful for people, this is even more painful for dogs. Surgery is usually needed as treatment for glaucoma to reduce the build-up of fluid in the eye to save the dog's vision, plus there are also medications for the pain and pressure. Early signs of glaucoma can be mistaken as conjunctivitis, but other symptoms include cloudy cornea, and the dog is visibly in pain and eyes look bloodshot.
Another common dog eye infection is the cataracts and, like with humans, is normally due to the aging process. Cataracts is usually genetic but other factors include canine diabetes, any infections or injury. The symptoms to watch out for are the opaque or cloudy membrane covering the dog's eye and check if the dog has difficulty seeing its way around. This can be treated with eye drops or surgery, depending on the cause, the severity and the dog's condition.
Corneal ulcers in dogs usually happen when the infection or injury causes lesions in the cornea and gives extreme pain to the dog. Canine corneal ulcers may be a little more difficult to detect but a few symptoms include the dog rubbing their eyes against things like carpet, tear-like discharges and squinting. It has the best chance to be treated when detected early, because if not, it can lead to loss of vision. Ointments, eye drops and antibiotics are also needed to treat this dog eye problem.
Doing some preventative eye care is still the best way to maintain the dog's health. One way would be to gently and carefully wipe the dog's eye with a clean, damp cloth at least once a day to remove any build-up of material or gunk around the eyes, without scratching or rubbing the actual eye. Another way would be to keep the hair around the eyes short to prevent it from scratching or irritating the eyes. Mixing a teaspoon of sea salt into a pint of water can be used as a quick saline solution to wipe around the dog's eyes. If a foreign object is already stuck in the eyes, take the pet to the veterinarian right away because pulling it by yourself could be more damaging than helpful. Keeping pets away from any injury like dog eye infections is an essential part of being a good pet owner, and even pets deserve all the best possible health care they need.