5 Common Dog Eye Problems
The most common dog eye problems are conjunctivitis, dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, and a scratch cornea.
- Conjunctivitis. Also known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane covering the inside of the eyelids and the front of the eye. It is frequently caused by allergies, infections, or minor irritations. Conjunctivitis can cause sore, swollen, crusty, red eyes, and often a discharge of pus or tears.
- Dry eye. Due to a shortage of tear production, the eye dries out. This mostly affects older dogs. Symptoms often include dense, sticky, yellow pus covering the whole eyeball. A normally shiny, moist eye will appear dull. The membrane covering the eye becomes irritated.
- Cataracts. A cataract is the hardening of the lens that causes it to become murky and eventually prevent light from passing to the retina. The most common cause is old age. Symptoms are silvery flecks or a cloudy gray or bluish-white cast to the lens behind the dog's pupil. Your vet may recommend surgical removal. Certain breeds, like Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Wire-Haired Terriers, are genetically predisposed to cataracts.
- Glaucoma. A defect in the eye's drainage system causes the eye to enlarge. Fluid builds up in the eyeball, impairing vision. It is very painful and can result in blindness. Symptoms include a fixed, blank stare in the affected eye, which is usually red and cloudy. The affected pupil seems abnormally large, and often tears excessively. This is common in Basset Hounds, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles.
- Scratched cornea. This happens when a small, sharp object scratches the clear, outer portion of the eye. It usually makes the dog sensitive to light and the eyes will water. This is common with breeds having bulging eyes, like Pugs, Pekingese, Shih Tzus, and Cocker Spaniels.
7 Ways to Treat & Prevent Simple Dog Eye Problems
- Keep his head inside the car window. Dogs love sticking their heads out the window and feeling the wind on their faces. However, wind can irritate the eyes and debris can get in causing more damage.
- Trim fur around eyes. This keeps hair from rubbing the surface of the eyes, preventing scratched corneas and infections.
- Wipe the eyes. Clean any discharge from the eyelids with a damp, clean cloth. Repeat as often as needed.
- Flush out the debris. If you see something in the eye, wash the area with a saline eye solution, artificial tears, or ophthalmologic ointment.
- Soothe with a warm compress. When your dog's eyes are sore and inflamed, cover them with a warm, damp compress for 5 minutes. If your dog is resistant to having both eyes covered, simply do one eye at a time. Just make sure you use a clean cloth for the second eye.
- Protect him from himself. Keep your dog from rubbing an injured eye with an Elizabethan collar (looks like a lampshade.)
- Don't pull out anything lodged in the eye. For as long as you leave it alone, it will act as a plug. If you remove it the wrong way, it can do damage to the eye and allow bacteria to get in. Get to the vet immediately. In the meantime, flush the eye with saline and prevent your dog from touching it.
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