We all want our dogs to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s a pre-requisite for a happy pooch. Whether it’s a simple eye-wash, clearing away residue or using specialist eye drops for dogs, it’s best to do this on a regular basis, rather than waiting for an infection to come around – the healthier your dog’s eyes are, the more fun he or she will get out of life. In this blog, our vet nurse team answers common questions on doggy eye care.
Q: How often should I check my dog’s eyes?
A: Ideally, we should give our dog’s eyes a visual check every day. Some breeds are more prone to dry eyes or to regular discharge – particularly those with rough or coarse fur around their eyes – so we soon get to know whether those big brown eyes are looking normal or not. If you see something unusual, or your dog seems uncomfortable, have a chat with your vet. You may need a prescription for allergy eye drops for dogs, or just a dedicated care regime.
Q: What can I do on a regular basis?
A: The best way to ensure that our dog’s eyes are well looked-after is to develop a regular routine. This may look like this:
Daily: Check your dog’s eyes for discharge, dryness, cloudiness or irritation. Do this especially after walks, where your doggy is more likely to come into contact with something that might infect his eyes. You can use a dedicated spray such as a dedicated eye spray on a daily basis to remove mucus and tear stains.
Weekly: Clean your dog’s eyes with a damp cloth. The fibres in the cloth are better for your dog than cotton wool, where pieces can become detached and get into the eye. Buy a soft face-cloth, or look for a specialist dog cloth. Make sure the cloth is damp, not wet, so that there is no excess water and gently wipe each eye, removing any mucus, and cleaning away residue on the fur. Wash the cloth so that no bacteria or potential infection is carried over.
Monthly: If you need to, carefully trim the fur around your dog’s eyes – or ask your dog groomer to do it for you. Long fur near the eyes can easily pick up and pass on bacteria into the eyes. You can also use anti-bacterial spray for a more thorough clean.
Q: Can you use human eye drops for dogs?
A: No. The ingredients in human eye drops are often designed for certain ailments, and you shouldn’t use them on your dog. Instead, choose specialist eye drops for dogs – if you buy from a reputable supplier, you can be sure that they have been formulated and tested to help keep those doggy eyes clear, bright and healthy.
Q: How do I give eye drops to my dog?
A: Dogs can be wriggly, fiddly and downright hard to pin down. We all know what it’s like to to get a dog to take medicine, be washed or brushed or have his eyes cleaned. Here are our handy tips on how to give eye drops as easily as possible:
Wash your hands – keeping your hands clean means you won’t transfer any bacteria or infection from you to your dog. You should also wash your hands again once you’ve given the drops or cleaned the eyes.
Ask a friend – it’s often a two-handed job to deal with doggy peepers, so if you have help to hand, ask someone to hold your dog steady for you. If you can’t do this, get your dog to sit between your legs with his back to you and his head facing forwards. You can keep a comfortable grip on him, giving him less opportunity to wriggle away.
Steady hands – fast movements towards your dog’s eyes will be frightening. Instead, move slowly and keep your hands steady. Hold your dog’s chin upwards and pull down the lower eyelid, and then use your other hand to drip the eye drops in. Don’t let the tip of the bottle or pipette touch your dog’s eyes.
Lots of love and praise – once you’ve administered the eye drops, give your dog lots of vocal praise and cuddles… and maybe even a treat! The happier they are, the more comfortable they will be next time.
Your eye care routine
Just like regular grooming, checking your dog’s eyes is part of your care routine. If you can get your dog used to it early on, it will be something they are happy to sit and let you do.