Man’s best friend could use a good eyeballing once in awhile—believe us, your dog won’t take it personally! In fact, giving him regular home eye exams will help keep you alert to any tearing, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem. Check out the following ways to help keep your dog’s vision sharp—and that twinkle in his eyes.
1. The Initial Gaze
Face your dog in a brightly lit area and look into his eyes. They should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. His pupils should be equal in size and there shouldn’t be tearing, discharge or any crust in the corners of his eyes.
2. A Closer Look
With your thumb, gently roll down your dog’s lower eyelid and look at the lining. It should be pink, not red or white.
3. What to Watch Out For
The following are signs that something may be wrong with one or both of your dog’s eyes:
- Discharge & crusty gunk
- Red or white eyelid linings
- Tear-stained fur
- Closed eye(s)
- Cloudiness or change in eye color
- Visible third eyelid
- Unequal pupil sizes
4. A Clean Sweep
A gentle wipe with a damp cotton ball will help to keep your pooch’s eyes gunk-free. Wipe outward from the corner of the eye and be careful not to touch his eyeball—you don’t want to scratch the cornea. If your dog constantly suffers from runny eyes and discharge, please see your veterinarian. Your pet may have an infection.
5. Control the Eye-Fro
Long-haired breeds can get eye damage if their locks aren’t tamed. Using scissors with rounded tips, carefully trim the hair around your dog’s eyes to keep his vision clear and prevent hairs from poking and scratching.
6. Ouch-Free Grooming & Maintenance
Soaps and topical medications can be major irritants. Make sure to protect your dog’s eyes before bathing him or applying ointments or flea-control formulas.
7. Driving Ms. Fluffy
Many a pooch loves the open road and the wind in her fur, but if debris or an insect touches her eye, she may suffer pain and a long-lasting injury. It’s much safer to drive with the windows only partially down and doggie’s head inside the vehicle. The wind can also dry out your dog’s eyes, possibly causing irritation and infection.
8. It’s in the Genes
Do a little research and find out if your dog’s breed is predisposed toward eye conditions, such as glaucoma or progressive retinal atrophy. Of course, your pet should have his eyes checked on annual vet visits, but knowing about possible inherited problems will help you take important precautions.
9. Eye-Catching Behavior
Watch your pooch’s body language—pawing or rubbing his eye area may alert you to possible problems.
10. Know Thy Eye Disorders
The following eye-related disorders are commonly seen in dogs:
Conjunctivitis: One or both of your dog’s eyes will look red and swollen, and there may be discharge.
Dry Eye: Diminished tear production can cause corneal inflammation, squinting and discharge.
Cherry Eye: An enlarged tear gland forms a cherry-like mass on the dog's eye.
Epiphora: An overflow of tears creates stains on the dog’s facial fur.
Glaucoma: The cornea becomes cloudy and the eye enlarges due to an increased pressure in the eyeball.
Ectropion: A turning outward of the upper eyelid causes the lower lid to droop.
Entropion: A rolling in of the eyelid causes discharge and tearing.
Cataract: An opacity on the lens of the eye can cause impaired vision and possible blindness.
Progressive Renal Atrophy: Caused by degeneration of retinal tissue—night blindness is often its first sign.