Keeping Your Dog’s Eyes Clean and Healthy

Cleaning your dog’s eyes more or less depends on his type of breed.  Dogs with protruding eyes and wrinkles on their face such as the Pekingese, Pug, English Bull Dog and Boston Terrier, need to have their eyes cleaned on a regular basis.  On the other hand, other types of breeds do not require as much attention.  There are different eye types need different kinds of care. 

* Flat-faced dogs with protruding eyes require the most care because they are less protected than breeds with eyes that are set deeper and protected by a long muzzle.  Protruding eyes have the tendency to dry out easily and are also easily injured.

* Dogs with white fur may develop more visible tear stains from the eyes. The dogs diet can have a big part to play in tear staining. You’ll need to try different foods to see what works best for your dog. Filtered water is also said to help reduce tear stains.

* Dogs with entropies, a condition in which the lid turns inward and eyelashes irritate the cornea, need special attention.  In extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.

* Dogs with excessive tearing need the eye area to be kept clean and dry.

* Dogs with dry eyes need moisturizing eye drops applied every day.

It is always a good idea to check your dog’s eyes every day, not just every month. Most dogs occasionally accumulate debris in the corners of their eyes, and they will benefit from wiping the face down with a moist cloth and cleaning the corners of the eyes with a moist cotton ball every day.  Be careful in wiping the cotton ball over the eye or you could scratch the cornea.  Many dogs with protruding eyes require a daily dose of moisturizing eye drops to keep their eyes moist and comfortable.  Some brands of human eye drops work, though it is better to check with your vet about which brand to use. Regular checking, cleaning, and moisturizing your dog’s eyes every day helps him get used to the practice.

During monthly grooming sessions, rinse your dog’s eyes with canine eyewash or eye drops.  Apply a drop in each eye and carefully wipe away the excess from the corners with a soft cloth or dry cotton ball.  If your light-coated dog has tear stains-brownish streaks under the eyes, be very careful when wiping the eyes clean.  Apply a tear-stain remover to the stained fur and not to the eyes according to the directions for the individual product.  However, if your dog seems to be tearing excessively and is constantly wet under the eyes, or if you notice unusual redness or swollen areas in or around the eye, you need to consult your vet.

Dogs can develop many different minor eye disorders that are easily treated if detected early. Also check that the eyes are clear.  Cloudiness could mean your dog is developing cataracts.  Finally, a yearly vet exam is crucial to keeping eyes healthy, and your vet can help detect eye diseases in the early stages where they can best be treated.

Denise Bradshaw
Denise Bradshaw

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