Caring for your dog’s eyes seems trivial – and it is, provided you carry out cosmetic procedures regularly and your pet does not suffer from eye problems. When diseases or irritations of these sensitive areas are involved, care becomes a little more demanding. So how do you properly care for these delicate regions and how do you deal with ophthalmic problems specific to certain breeds?
Caring for a dog’s eyes when they are healthy is not complicated. It usually simply involves the regular removal of secretions and 'sleepy eyes’ – dried lumps agglomerated from dirt washed out of the eye. To get rid of these, simply wash the eyelids and corners of the pet’s eyes with gauze soaked in boiled water, chamomile infusion or saline solution. Eye cleaning wipes soaked in soothing and antibacterial substances will also work well here. It is important to carry out this treatment regularly – lumps stuck to the corners of the eyes for too long can result in irritation and flare-ups of the delicate skin in this area, which is quite painful and difficult to treat.
When hair catches the eye…
Long-haired dogs, due to the unruly hair in the eye area, are much more likely to irritate these sensitive regions. Therefore, in addition to caring for them, it is also worth ensuring that the hair surrounding them is trimmed or clipped. If you decide to cut the hairs around your eyes, it’s important to do it regularly – regrowing hairs can irritate the cornea and cause tearing until they reach a length that extends beyond the eye. For this reason, it is recommended to repeat the procedure every few weeks, but ultimately this depends on the rate of hair growth.
Some dog breeds tend to clog the tear ducts. This problem can be encountered in Yorkies, Maltese or Shih-Tzu, for example. In such cases, the eye area should be given special care. The eyes of a dog suffering from this problem will often tear, and the traces of the run-off drops will form unsightly discolourations on its coat after drying. The salt in the tears is to blame. It can also cause maceration of the epidermis, irritation of the epidermis and consequently hair loss around the eyes. To deal with the problem and the unsightly marks, all that is needed is a little patience, regularity and the right product. The pet market today offers a multitude of cosmetics to help care for your dog’s eyes. Irrigation lotions, drops or soothing gels are readily available and often prove to be very effective. The right product will easily deal with discolouration and 'sleepy eyes’ at the corners of the eyes. It will also help to soothe irritation.
The problem of clogged tear ducts can also be solved surgically by unclogging them at veterinary surgery. However, this is quite a radical step – the procedure is carried out under full anaesthetic. For this reason, few four-legged owners opt for this solution, opting instead for regular and attentive care.
Technique is important
How do you properly wash and sprinkle your dog’s eyes? It is very simple, although it requires patience and gentleness. With a gauze pad (soaked in the right liquid, of course) in your hand and your pet sitting in front of you, you can get to work. With your right hand, spread and gently hold your dog’s eyelids, squeezing the gauze over the eye with your other hand. Be sure to keep the fluid at the right temperature! It should be close to room temperature – too hot or too cold can make the treatment uncomfortable for your pet and may even harm him. Also, never rub directly on your pet’s eyeball. Also, beware of using cotton wool to wash the eyes. Its tiny fibres can remain unnoticed on the eyeball and become a cause of irritation or, in the worst-case scenario, even inflammation.
Proper care of your dog’s eyes will certainly help to avoid unpleasant infections and inflammation. The key here is regularity and the right choice of preparation – especially in those slightly more difficult cases where these delicate areas are exposed to constant contact with regrowing hair or tears.