How to care for your dogs’ eye health and the common eye problems to look out for!
Updated: Mar 9
I. Regularly clean your dog's eyes
II. Keep hair trimmed around the eyes
V. Look for signs of eye problems
3. Common eye problems in dogs include:
II. Corneal ulcers
V. Cherry eyes
VI. Ocular proptosis
Caring for your dog's eye health is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner and keeping your pet healthy and happy. Thinking about your pup's eye care can often be an overlooked part of your dog’s grooming regime; but it is an extremely important component!
Within this guide we will share some tips on how to care for your dog's eyes and the common eye problems to look out for.
1. Regularly clean your dog's eyes: Use a clean, damp cloth to gently wipe away any dirt, debris, or discharge around your dog's eyes. Be careful not to touch the eyeball itself.
2. Keep hair trimmed around the eyes: If your dog has long hair around the eyes, it can irritate the eyes or even scratch the cornea, leading to infection or other eye problems. Keep the hair around the eyes trimmed short.
3. Nutrition: A healthy diet can help prevent eye problems. Make sure your dog's diet includes the necessary vitamins and nutrients for eye health, such as vitamin A.
4. Protect your dog's eyes: When taking your dog outside on a sunny day, protect their eyes from harmful UV rays by limiting the time they are exposed to the UV rays.
5. Look for signs of eye problems: Keep an eye out for symptoms such as redness, swelling, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness, or a change in eye colour. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult with a veterinarian immediately.
Common eye problems in dogs include:
1. Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, is the inflammation of the eye's outermost layer. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, or foreign objects in the eye. Mucus, green-yellow pus, or a watery eye discharge can point to signs of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the lining of your dog's eye.
Studies have shown a wide range of causes for conjunctivitis, from allergies, injury, birth defects, tear duct problems, foreign matter, dry eye, distemper, or even tumours.
2. Corneal ulcers: Corneal ulcers (commonly referred as dog eye ulcers) are open sores on the surface of the cornea, usually caused by trauma or infection. They can cause pain, redness, discharge, and in worse case scenarios, even vision loss.
3. Cataracts: Cataracts in dogs are cloudy areas that develop in the lens of the eye, causing vision loss. Cataracts can be congenital, meaning they are present at birth, or they can develop later in life due to factors such as aging, injury, or underlying health conditions like diabetes.
Symptoms of cataracts on dogs’ eyes include cloudy or hazy eyes, difficulty seeing, bumping into objects, and an increased sensitivity to light. In some cases, cataracts can also cause eye inflammation or glaucoma, which can lead to further vision loss or even blindness if left untreated.
4. Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure inside the eye increases, leading to damage to the optic nerve and eventual blindness. It is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid; it is not caused by overproduction of fluid, contrary to popular belief.
Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs can include redness of the eye, cloudiness or bluing of the cornea, squinting or blinking excessively, pawing at the eye, and a visible bulge or enlargement of the eye. In some cases, dogs may also experience pain or discomfort.
5. Cherry eye: Cherry eye in dogs is a condition where the gland in the third eyelid protrudes from the eye, causing a red, swollen mass to appear in the corner of the eye. The third eyelid gland is normally anchored to the lower inner rim of the eye by a fibrous attachment. This attachment is understood to be weak in certain dog breeds, allowing the gland to prolapse easily.
The breeds most affected include the Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Beagle, Bloodhound, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Pug, and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds.
6. Ocular proptosis: Ocular proptosis is the forward displacement of the eyeball (described as bulging eyes in dogs) typically beyond the eyelids. In dogs, proptosis usually results from blunt trauma.
Remember, early detection and treatment of eye problems can help prevent further damage to your dog's eyes and maintain healthy dog eyes. Something as innocuous as a weeping dog eye for example, is still something which would need to be checked by a professional. Never dismiss the symptoms we have listed above, as you never know if it could lead to something more serious!
Thank you for reading our article touching upon common eye problems to look out for general health tips. Let us know your experiences and how you dealt with it in the comments below!
Article written by Hayden Lloyd - Founder HWL Pet Supplies Limited