Many dog owners do not understand how important it is to care for their dog’s eyes, and that’s terrible because dog eye care is an integral part of making sure your canine remains completely healthy.
Yes, for most dogs it’s “nose, then eyes, then ears”. However, that doesn’t mean that the eyes aren’t important.
Your dog also uses his eyes to communicate with his surroundings. In fact, there are certain dog breed types categorized as “sighthounds” who are known for hunting by sight.
These go to prove how important a dog’s sight is and how dog eye care should never be overlooked by any dog parent.
Today, we’ll be discussing the various causes of dog eye difficulties, preventive measures, types of eye disease, treatment, and cure. Stay tuned.
What Causes Eye Problems In Dogs?
Well, there is no general answer to this. That is because different eye problems are caused by different things.
So, what we are going to do is, we are going to talk about the various eye problems present in dogs and what causes them. Good enough? Let’s get into it.
1. Eye Infections
Most of the time, eye infections in your canine are caused when bacteria enter their eyes. The other few times are caused when they come in contact with some other dog who is already carrying the same infection.
These eye infections are often accompanied by an excess amount of crying. Other symptoms might also include sensitivity to light and reddening of the eye. Some other times, yellow or greenish discharge crusts form on top of their eyes.
The breeds that are more prone to these infections include Poodles, Pugs, Maltese, Pekingese, Shih-Tzus and Cocker Spaniels.
Cataracts can simply be explained as a clouding in the eye lens. It makes your dog’s eyes appear whiter than normal or cloudy.
The result of cataracts in the eye is a slow deterioration in vision and if not taken care of in time, can even lead to permanent blindness.
According to Wikipedia, cataracts are the cause of half the cases of blindness in humans all over the world. This staggering statistic only goes to show you how bad a problem this eye disease is.
Most of the time, cataracts are a genetic problem. They affect certain breeds a lot more than others. However, other things like diseases, problems with the immune system, and injury can cause cataracts too.
The following breeds are the most prone to cataracts: Bichon Frise, American Cocker Spaniel, Havanese, Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, and Terriers.
3.Inward Growth Of The Eyelids
Medically, this is referred to as entropion. It is the medical condition that refers to what happens when dog eyelids roll over or grow inwards. This makes the eyelids rub against your dog’s cornea causing damage.
Although this can happen to any dog no matter the breed, entropion is majorly a concern for the following breeds: English Mastiff, Rottweiler, Weimaraner, Spaniel, Vizsla, English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Bloodhounds, Great Dane, Akita, American Staffordshire Terrier.
4. Third Eyelid Prolapse.
Quick pop quiz…
How many eyelids does a healthy dog have?
Well, if you guessed 2, you are absolutely… wrong. The correct answer is three. All dogs have three eyelids.
The gland in this third eyelid is tasked to protect the eyelid and secret tears. However, sometimes, this gland that secretes tears becomes swollen which renders it exposed to other diseases.
Once that has happened, you begin to see mucus (mostly yellow). This is to tell you that there has been an irritation in the eye.
The most common bearers of this problem are Brachycephalic breeds otherwise known as “flat-faced breeds”. Examples of flat-faced breeds include Pugs, Shih-Tzus, and Pekingese.
Steps To Take In Dog Eye Care
1. Gaze Into His Eyes
From time to time, take your dog to a properly lit area and just stare into his eyes. No dramatic slow motion or music, lol, but this will enable you to check his eyes properly.
The eyes must be clear and bright. Plus, the sclera must be clearly white. For those who don’t know, the sclera is the white part of the eye that surrounds the pupil.
Also, both pupils must be the same size, there must not be any tearing or discharge coming out of the eye. There shouldn’t be crust in any of the corners of his eye either.
2. Take A Close Look At His Lining
Take your thumb and gently move down the lower eyelid of your dog so you can check the lining. It must be pink. The lining shouldn’t be red, neither should it be white.
Besides that, there are other signs and red flags that you should look out for which we have listed below.
- Crusty gunk.
- Red eyelid linings.
- Eyes closed.
- Discoloration of the eye.
- Tear-stained fur.
- When the third eyelid becomes visible.
- Difference in pupil sizes.
3. Clean With Cotton Ball
Wipe your dog’s eyes with a moist cotton ball to get rid of gunk, and be sure to wipe the corners of the eyes properly.
Take care so you don’t touch his eyeballs. If every time you do this (assuming you’re doing this regularly) your dog seems to be discharging, see your vet.
4. Trim The Hair Around The Eye
Dogs who have really long hair will eventually hurt their eyes with those hairs.
What you should do is, with a pair of scissors, trim the hairs that surround your pup’s eyes. This will ensure that his vision remains clear and hairs don’t fall in which would cause itching.
Also, when you’re bathing your dog, be careful so that soap doesn’t get into his eyes. Most of these soaps and shampoos are major irritants.
In fact, before you bathe him, apply ointments around his eye to protect them.
5. Take Care When Driving
Most dogs love to put their face out the window while you drive. You might like it too. However, you should take care because debris can affect his eyes badly if they come in contact with their eyes.
So, to avoid long-term pain because of short-term pleasure, close the windows when you drive. Even if you can protect the eyes from debris, the excessive breeze from the window can dry your pooch’s eyes and cause irritation.
6. It’s Genetic
A lot of the time, most eye problems in dogs have their cause rooted in genetics. Many dogs are highly susceptible to certain eye disease types like glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy.
You might want to make research and find out what eye diseases your pup’s breed is predisposed to. This will help you take even more precautionary measures and will also help you spot the problem immediately something is wrong.
7. Watch Your Dog Closely
There are certain things you can easily notice even if you look from afar. Eye rubbing or scratching consistently is your dog trying to say “hey, mum, dad, something is wrong with my eye”.
The final step that should be taken towards dog eye care is actually knowing what the various eye diseases that affect dogs are. So here are:
Summary Of The Major Eye Disorders Seen In Dogs
Your dog’s eye or eyes will begin to look reddish and swollen. There might also be a discharge.
This happens when there is a drastic reduction in the quantity of tears produced by your dog. It causes corneal inflammation, makes your dog squint and releases discharge.
When the tear gland is enlarged, there is a cherry-like mass formed on the dog’s eye.
When there is an overflow of the tears in your dog’s eyes, these tears can stain his facial fur.
There is cloudiness in the eye and the eye swells due to increased pressure in the eyeball.
The eyelid grows inwards and it can cause tearing or discharge.
Clouding of the lens of the eyes reducing the opacity of the eye. It also causes impaired vision and can lead to permanent blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This is mostly caused due to a degeneration of retinal tissue. The first sign of this is often night blindness.
Eye Drops For Dog Eye Care
The most effective preventive measure, treatment, and cure for dog eye problems are the most obvious — eye drops. There are two types of eye drops for dogs and each with their different uses. Here they are:
Antibacterial Eye Drops
These are the most common type of eye drops you can find out there. This is because they are easy-to-get, over-the-counter drugs.
You use this for your dog if he is weeping a lot to see if it was caused by a minor irritation.
The best thing to do remains taking your dog to the vet if anything is wrong. However, if that is not possible for whatever reason, you can use this for a day or two, but if symptoms persist on the third day, please see your vet.
Steroid Eye Drops
These are prescribed eye drops used to cure inflammation of any part of the eye.
Because the eye is very delicate and sensitive, a little swelling can create a scar on the eye which would lead to impaired vision.
These two types of eye drops are sometimes combined to produce a stronger eye drop that treats the inflammation and the root cause at the same time.
How do I select the right eye drop for my dog?
We advise that eye drops be used on dogs according to the vet’s prescription. However, if it’s not a major problem and just a minor irritation, there are a few types of eye drops you can buy over the counter.
There are a whole lot of eye drops for dogs, while a lot of them serve the same purpose, a few others are only meant for certain ailments. See some of them below:
1. Neo Poly Dex Ophthalmic
This particular eye drop is used when treating inflammation and infection.
It contains both types of eye drops (antibiotic eye drops and steroid eye drops).
Normally, it is administered every 2-4 hours. However, there are ointments available which can be administered every 8-12 hours.
The timing of dosage depends on the severity of the problem.
2. Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment
This is a strictly antibiotic ointment used to treat infections like conjunctivitis and inflammation of the eyelid.
Oxytetracycline present in this drop blocks all bacteria from growing or multiplying and kills the ones already present.
3. Gentamicin Sulfate Ophthalmic Solution
This is used for dogs suffering from a bacterial infection.
Aminoglycoside present in the solution joins together with the bacteria present in the eye and protein synthesis occurs.
This protein synthesis leads to the production of bacteria which kills any present bacteria. It can be used also if your dog suffers from viral or fungal infections.
However, they are unhealthy for pregnant or lactating dogs.
Other Things To Note When It Comes To Dog Eye Care.
- Your dog should visit the vet routinely specifically for eye checkup, especially if his breed is prone to diseases.
- If your pup’s eyes are already infected, before you administer any eyedrop, clean the affected area with eyewashes for dogs.
With the boatload of information we’ve brought to you today, we hope you have learned a thing or two about caring for your dog’s eyes? Please remember that the key to optimum eye health for your dog is in keeping up with his eyes. Make sure you gaze into those eyes regularly!