"Cleaning and checking your dog’s eyes

"Cleaning and checking your dog’s eyes

Whether or not you will need to clean your dog’s eyes for him on a regular basis may well depend on the breed of dog that you keep; for owners of long-muzzled dogs, this is usually unnecessary other than if their dogs become ill and contract an eye infection. However, if you own a dog with a very short muzzle and brachycephalic face, such as a Pug, Bulldog, French Bulldog or Pekingese dog, you may find that you need to clean and check your dog’s eyes on a daily basis!

This is because dogs of these breeds have protruding eyes, which are not protected within the frame of the face in the way that occurs in other dogs, and they are much more sensitive to both external damage, infections, and the development of hereditary health conditions.

Read on to learn more about cleaning and checking your dog’s eyes.

Should I be cleaning my dog’s eyes?

As mentioned, many dog breeds do no need any help taking care of their eyes, but there are various different reasons for why some dogs do, including:

  • Brachycephalic dogs with protruding eyes.
  • Dogs with light-coloured fur that are prone to tear staining.
  • Dogs with excessive tear production from the tear ducts.
  • Dogs with dry eye conditions, which require artificial lubrication to the eyes.
  • Dogs with medical conditions such as entropion of the eyelid.

Daily cleaning and maintence

If your dog needs to have their eyes cleaned daily, you can soon get into a routine with your dog and it should not take you very long to manage this each time.

Keeping a range of clean face cloths just to use on your dog is a good idea, and these should be washed regularly to avoid harbouring bacteria and passing on infections. It is not recommended to use cotton wool or cotton buds on your dog’s eyes, as these can shed fibres and cause irritations.

Remove any obvious detritus from around the eye, and then use a slightly dampened cloth to gently clean around and over the open eye. Take special care to ensure that you do not press too hard or scratch the eye, and avoid getting the eyes wetter than necessary.

Dogs that have facial folds such as the Bulldog and Pug may also need the skin folds on their faces cleaned too, in order to prevent bacteria and fungus from developing. Equally important is to ensure that you thoroughly dry the skin folds after doing this, to prevent rubbing and irritations.

If you need to apply moisturising eye droplets to your dog, do this after you have cleaned and dried the eyes and face of the dog. Also, keep a lookout for any signs of irritation or scratches on the eyes when you go through the daily routine.

Every month

Each month, make the time to give your dog a thorough grooming and a really good eye cleanup too!

You can buy pet-safe eyewashes and rinses for dogs, and you should try to get your dog used to using these, as they can be really helpful to use now and then to clear out any debris from the corners of the eyes, and flush the corneas. As before, make sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s face after doing this, and wipe away any excess liquid from the corners of the eyes.

If your dog is prone to showing the signs of tear staining, you can gently wash these once a month or so as well. Tear-stained fur can be a pain and make your dog’s face look messy, but it is not generally a problem unless accompanied by excessive tearing, inflammation or infection, so try not to get too hung up on tackling tearstains.

Use your monthly dog eye-cleaning ritual to give your dog’s eyes a proper examination as well, for the early signs of cataracts or any other developing problems.

Annual checkups

It is important to take advice from your vet about what products to use in and around your dog’s eyes, and if your dog needs help with their eye care in the first place! Your vet may also sell you or order in for you the appropriate eye creams and lotions that you might need, although they may recommend certain types of human eye drops that are also suitable for use on dogs!

Make sure that your dog is seen by your vet on an annual basis, and that your vet gives their eyes a thorough inspection. Also, don’t be shy about contacting your vet during the year if you have any concerns about the condition of your dog’s eyes, the products you are using, or how your dog is getting on with their treatment. While most eye conditions and of course, protruding eyes, are permanent fixtures in the life of the affected dog, some conditions, such as entropion, can be surgically corrected in some cases, so this is worth bearing in mind!

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