Aging Dogs Are at Risk of Developing Age-Related Eye Diseases

The older your dog gets, the more at risk she will become for developing age-related eye diseases. But truth be told, eye problems can actually occur at any time in a dog’s life, so checking your dog’s eyes on a routine basis should be a part of your usual health and wellness check.

This guide will help you learn how to check your dog’s eye health, so you can catch potential problems early enough for them to be treatable. Before starting the process, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of introducing bacteria to your dog’s eyes.

Step 1: Move Your Dog to a Well-Lit Area

To get the best look at your dog’s eyes, you should move her somewhere that’s well-lit, with enough light for you to see in and around her eyes. When moving her to the area, do so in a calm and caring manner so she doesn’t get nervous.

Step 2: Have Your Dog Sit in a Still Position

Have your dog sit still because the more she’s moving around, the harder it will be for you to examine her eyes. If she knows how to follow “sit” or “stay” commands, then you will want to use them here. Make sure you reward her with a treat if she listens.

Step 3: Carefully Hold Your Dog’s Head and Look at Her Eyes

Gently grasp your dog’s head to keep her steady and look into her eyes for any signs of disease or debris. Things you will want to look for include:

  • Discharge
  • Crustiness
  • Tearing or tear-stained fur
  • Unequal pupil sizes
  • Closed eye(s)
  • Cloudiness
  • Change in color of the eye
  • White or red eyelid linings
  • Visible third eyelid

Step 4: Check Your Dog’s Ability to See

You can check your dog’s ability to see by testing her menace reflex. To do this, simply hold your palm up in front of her face about 18 inches away. Quickly thrust your hand toward one side of her face, stopping within three inches of her nose.

If she reacts or blinks, then her menace reflex is working, and her eyesight is good. If she doesn’t react or blink, then this is a sign that she either can’t see or can’t see well. Make sure you do this test with both of your dog’s eyes.

Things You Can Do to Minimize Eye Problems in Your Dog

There are some things you can to help reduce your dog’s risk of developing non-age-related eye problems. For instance, if your dog is a long haired breed, the hair that grows over her eyes could scratch or damage her eyes. Because of this, you’ll want to trim them back using scissors with rounded tips.

When bathing your dog, keep the soap or shampoo from her eyes because they may contain ingredients that can irritate them. You should also avoid letting your dog poke her full head out of the window when you drive. Dust and debris can easily get into her eyes that way. Instead, crack the window so she can still stick her nose out, but her head remains inside.

It’s also important to know what types of conditions your dog’s breed may be predisposed to. If she is a breed that is predisposed to eye problems, then you will need to have her eyes examined more frequently by your veterinarian.

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Author: Giano Panzarella