A Dog Owner’s Guide to Eye Care

January 6th, 2012
Posted by | Posted in Health and Nutrition, Tips 1,850 views

The eyes are often overlooked when it comes to routine dog care, but prevention of eye injuries and regular checkups are the best defense against vision loss in your dog. Fortunately, most eye problems are minor with prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Protect Your Dog’s Eyes with Regular Home Exams:

Regular home exams ensure you spot any cloudiness, tearing, or other problems early. In some cases, prompt veterinary attention means the difference between temporary trouble and permanent vision loss.

To examine your dog’s eyes, take him into a brightly lit room with enough space for both of you to sit and move around comfortably. Look into your dog’s eyes to check for abnormalities; the area around the eyeball should be clear and white, his pupils should be of equal size, and there should be no crusting, tearing, or discharge. Using your thumb, roll down your dog’s lower lid to check for color change or other problems. The inside lid should pink.

If you notice any signs of infection or eye disease, such as tearing, color changes, crust, cloudiness, or unequal pupil sizes, or if one eye appears to remain closed or droops, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes at Home:

After performing a basic home eye examination on your dog, you should spend a few minutes cleaning your dog’s eyes. This reduces the risk of infection and soothes irritation. Most innocent gunk and dirt can be wiped away with a dampened cotton ball. Wipe from the outside corner to the inside corner, and keep the cotton off your dog’s eyeball. Tearing or gunk that reappears quickly requires veterinary attention.

Use rounded-tip scissors to trim away any hair that hangs in your dog’s eyes. This improves vision and reduces the risk of eye irritation. Wash dirty hair around the eyes with a gentle shampoo and clean water, but make certain you do not get soap in your dog’s eyes.

If your veterinarian has given you canine eye drops to treat or prevent eye problems in your dog, apply them carefully to prevent scratching your dog’s eye or spreading an existing infection from one eye to the other. Also, do not let your dog hang his head out of the car window, as doing so can cause dirt and other debris to land in your pet’s eyes. The resulting damage may lead to permanent eye injury.

At Your Veterinarian’s Office:

Ask your veterinarian about any risk factors specific to your pet’s breed or age. If you know what to watch for, you are more likely to spot problems before they become serious. Some common eye disorders in dogs include conjunctivitis, dry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, and epiphora, which is a condition that causes tearing and coat staining. Ectopion, the outward turning of the upper eyelid, and entropion, the inward turning of the eyelid, are also common in some dogs. Enlarged tear glands can sometimes cause lumps or cherry-like masses to form. Night blindness may be a sign of progressive renal atrophy, a degenerative disorder.

Always follow all directions for any pet medications prescribed to treat an eye condition. Also treat any diseases that may affect your dog’s vision, such as diabetes, and watch for age-related vision loss in older pets. Your veterinarian can tell you exactly what to watch for and can offer advice on preventing and managing eye problems in your dog.

You may be able to save money on medications that your veterinarian prescribes by ordering from websites like http://www.vetdepot.com.

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