Protecting Your Dogs Eyes

January 23, 2017

Unlike a human, a dog cannot really tell us when something is bothering him or her. Therefore, it is important to have your dog examined regularly.  One such regular examination should be an eye exam. Again, your dog won’t tell you that he’s having trouble with distance sight, or that he might need reading glasses.  Only an exam will reveal deteriorating eyesight. If your dog’s vision IS suffering, that deterioration could also be a sign of a more serious disease.  As with any illness, the earlier it is detected, the less likely it is that the illness will progress to seriously problematic.

A quick and easy exam you can administer at home.
Take your dog to a well-lit area. Hold your dog’s head gently in your hands and look carefully into each eye for signs of infection or debris. Be sure to check both eyes thoroughly. You should also look for crustiness, discharge, or excessive teariness. Make sure that the eyeball also has a white area around it that is healthy looking, and free from redness.  Now, look closely at the pupils and make sure they are the same size. Check that the eyes do not seem cloudy or otherwise irritated. Cloudiness may be an indication of cataracts, which is a relatively common condition in dogs. Although some breeds have naturally bulgy eyeballs, if your dog starts to develop bulgy eyes when they did not have them before, it could be a sign of glaucoma.  If you notice that your dog’s eyelids seem to roll inward, it could signal a condition called “entropion”, which can cause damage to the eyes as the eyelids rub against the eyeball. A lot of discharge, irritation, and redness may be a sign of an eye infection.

Now, check your dog’s menace reflex. You can do this by holding your hand open so that the palm of your hand faces your dog. Hold your hand about 18 inches from your dog’s face and then quickly move your palm so that it comes to about 3 inches from their face. This movement should make the dog blink. If your dog does not blink, he may have vision issues.

Simple things you can do to protect your pet’s eyes.

Clean your dog’s eyes regularly. All you have to do to keep your dog’s eyes clean is to wet a cotton ball or soft cloth with fresh, clean water, and gently wipe away any crustiness or other debris you notice around the eye. Start wiping at the inside corner of the eye and wipe outwards away from the eye.

Trim the hair around your dog’s eyes. Not only will long hair around your dog’s eyes make it difficult for them to see, this long hair may also poke or scratch the eyeballs, causing irritation, infection, or even blindness. Be careful using scissors around your dog’s eyes. If you are afraid to trim the hair around your dog’s eyes, it’s best to have your groomer or pet specialist do it.

Don’t let a dog hang its head out of the window in the car. Though your dog may love sticking their head out the window in the car, there is a good chance that a bug, a piece of dirt, or some other debris might fly into your dog’s eyes causing irritation or even a more serious injury. Therefore, keep the windows rolled up far enough that your dog can’t stick his head out.

Check your dog’s eyes regularly and see a vet if you notice anything unusual. While you should always be monitoring your dog’s health and well-being – especially eyesight – on your own at home, it is also wise to take your dog to see your veterinarian at least once or twice a year to get an exam. If there is something wrong with your dog’s eyesight, a regular examination will increase the chance that the problem will be caught before it is too late.

Written by our friends at Camp Bow Wow Charlotte