Caring for your dog’s eyes and ears properly is a vital part of keeping Fido healthy. Contrary to popular belief, grooming your pet consists of much more than only keeping their coat shiny and their scent fresh. Consider your precious pup, in the same way; you would consider your hygiene. You certainly wouldn’t neglect to clean your own eyes and ears, would you? If you ran into a stranger walking around with gunked up eyes and fuzz growing out of their ears, I bet you wouldn’t think “now there’s a well-kempt person, no matter how healthy and smooth their hair was styled. But how exactly should pet parents maintain such problem areas as the eyes and ears in their canine safely and adequately? Let’s talk about caring for your dog’s eyes and ears properly!
Related: Causes & Treatment for Watery Eyes in Dogs
Caring for Your Dog’s Eyes and Ears Properly
Be Proactive in Your Pup’s Eye Health
Fortunately for you, the vast majority of our dogs necessitate very little effort to maintain positive eye health. In most cases, it can be as simple as taking a wet cloth and wiping away buildup that so often occurs during slumber. However, this very basic task offers a wealth of opportunity to monitor other aspects of your little guy’s ocular health. It takes this time to examine hair and eyelashes that may demand further attention. Certain breeds will struggle with extra eyelashes that become misdirected consequently scratching the cornea.
Something essential to keep in mind during this daily chore is to look out for clogged tear ducts which result in stains on the face typically colored red or brown. If this is the case, you should consult your vet so they may inspect your dog for causes. You’ll want to check occasionally for signs of glaucoma such as swelling or redness as well. This can be painful for your furry friend and addressed right away. Other signs to watch for include:
- Discharge coming from the eyes or crusty gunk around them
- Excessive tearing in dogs that usually don’t exhibit this sign (some breeds are just prone to it)
- Red or white eyelid linings
- Changes in your dog’s eye color or cloudiness in the eye
- Pupils that aren’t equal in size (this is a medical emergency, as it can be a sign of concussion or stroke)
If you notice any of the above signs, contact your vet. Again, if your dog’s pupils are uneven in size, take your vet to the emergency clinic.
Maintain Safe and Comfortable Ear Health
While some dogs will never encounter difficulties with their ears, many aren’t quite so lucky. As the design of a dog’s ear canal is prone to the accumulation of moisture and debris, it commonly causes discomfort such as itchy ears and disadvantages ranging from bacteria to yeast ear infections or even parasites. If the head is shaking, tilting, ear rubbing and scratching or redness/swelling and foul smell occur, consult a vet immediately. In these cases, your vet will likely mandate specific instructions or even medicated cleaning solutions.
When you’re checking and cleaning your dogs’ ears, follow the same basic rule that you follow for yourself: never insert anything into the ear canal. Typically, that rule says “nothing smaller than your elbow,” but with some giant breeds, your elbow may be too small too! Not that you’re thinking of going around sticking your arm in your dogs’ ears, that would just be silly. Still, a good rule of thumb: just clean the outer parts and leave the inner structures to a professional.
While caring for your dog’s eyes and ears, it’s super important to call your vet if you notice anything unusual. You don’t want to mess around with your pup’s vision or hearing.