Your dogs eyes are the vehicle in which they experience life.
It is also one of the most overlooked and neglected parts of their body, and yet one of the most complex and detailed mechanisms in their body.
Vitamins and Minerals should be a staple in your dog’s diet to help protect their eyesight. Vitamins C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and Zinc are all excellent sources of nutrients to help your dogs’ eyes.
Lutein, an antioxidant, which belongs to the carotenoid family, and is a highly concentrated in the macula, a small area of the retina that is responsible for central vision as well as high visual acuity.
It is also necessary for good eye nutrition.
Your dogs eyes will benefit from the high levels of antioxidants such as these vitamins and minerals can provide.
Your dogs eyes are better at seeing peripherally than you are, but their close up vision is not quite as sharp as yours.
The placement of eyes in dogs allows them better wide angle vision, but limits vision to depth perception and close up vision.
This is caused by a minimal overlap of the two eyes.
Your dogs eyes are also better adapted to see in dim light and even near darkness, as they have an abundance of light-sensitive cells (referred to as rods), in their retina’s that help them detect motion.
However, dogs can not see a full spectrum of colors.
The belief that they are colorblind in not entirely true, they just can’t see all of the colors.
Your dogs eyes are perhaps their most attractive and expression feature. But they are also very complex organs that are very susceptible to injury as well as disease.
You should constantly be on guard for several warning signs that these delicate organs will show if something is wrong.
Some of the warning signs in your dog’s eyes include discharge, redness or cloudiness, and squinting, which are the most prevalent signs of an eye disease or an injury.
If your dog suddenly starts bumping into objects, this could be an early sign of vision loss.
Your dog does not have an effective or a safe way of keeping their eyes clean.
They will often try to clean their eyes with their paws (that have claws), or rub against something to try to clean their eyes.
Both can be dangerous and cause injury to your dog’s eyes.
Healthy eyes should be moist and totally clear of any swelling, redness, or any type of mucus. Your dog’s eyes are way too precious to their healthy life not to take notice.
If something seems abnormal, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
The aging process can cause clouding in their eyes, but to be on the safe side you should still have your veterinarian check them just to make sure the clouding is not caused by cataracts.
There are a myriad of diseases than can affect your dogs eyes such as disease of the eyelid, diseases of the lens and the cornea of the eyes, as well as glaucoma.
Diseases of the eyelid that can affect the eyes include Cherry eye, Conjunctivitis, and Entropion.
Cherry eye is where the nictitating membrane (basically a third eyelid) tear gland protrudes outward causing the appearance of a bright red bulge on the corner (usually the inside corner).
Thus the term “cherry eye”.
While surgery can correct this condition by re-positioning it, removal of this third eyelid may cause a decreased tear production capability, which could cause even more harm to the eyes.
Entropion, conversely, causes the eyelid to roll inward, actually scratching the cornea.
Entropion is the most common eye condition in dogs that are prone by heredity to have wrinkled facial appearances.
By the eyelid rolling outward, in addition to the scratching concerns, it also can cause the creation of pouches.
These in turn will collect tears, and this affect can deny your dog of the needed lubrication which is valuable to their eyesight.
This disease can also be corrected by surgery.
However, the most common eyelid disease (and eye problem) is Conjunctivitis which is inflammation of the membranes that line your pets eyelids and the white part of your pets eye.
Redness to eyes, a constant squinting, and even a slight discharge are warning signs.
Irritants that can cause this inflammation are second hand smoke, dust, especially if you live in very dry climates, scratches, and finally infection.
There are several very good types of eye ointments and drops that can help with Conjunctivitis.
Diseases of the cornea in your dog’s eyes caused by scratches or abrasions are also very common.
This is especially true in dog breeds that have large or bulging eyes.
Foreign bodies can and often do stick to the eyes of dogs, but the most common cause of damage to the cornea will be by the dog itself and something they did.
By trying to clean their own eyes, your dog may actually scratch the cornea, and than continue to cause more damage by continuing this process because of the discomfort.
Disease of the lens of your dog’s eyes will most likely be caused by cataracts, which most often are inherited by certain breeds, but could also be caused by diabetes in your dog.
Breeds that are the most prone to inheriting Cataracts are Labradors, Schnauzers, Huskies, and than smaller some breeds such as Poodles and Cocker Spaniels.
While Cataracts are most often a result of aging, in breeds that are more prone, they can hit at any age. The warning signs of cataracts, much like diseases of the eyelids, will be clouding in the eyes.
Glaucoma may be the largest threat to your dogs eyes as it can cause partial or full blindness in your pet.
Glaucoma is a result of increased eye pressure by fluid build ups in the eyes, and it is also an inherited eye disease affecting the same breeds as Cataracts.
Signs to watch for with this eye disease are a sudden sensitivity to light, swelling of the eyes, pain by your dog if you touch the area around their eyes, excessive redness and or tearing, and cloudiness.
There is currently no known treatment for this disease.
Preventing eye disease in your pet is a lot of just plain out common sense.
Keeping the hair out of their eyes to prevent scratching, and trimming their hair can go along ways in prevention.
This is especially true in breeds such as Maltese, Lhasa Apso, and Pekingese where skin fold near the eyes.
Constant cleaning of your dog’s eyes with sterile eyewash or eye wipes to pull out any debris, any mucus, and any foreign bodies will help prevent infection, as bacteria can form very easily on mucus.
Applying a protective ointment under the tip eyelid before any kind of treatment or even bathing.
This will help to protect your dogs eyes, as even the so called “tear-less” shampoos can cause irritation if too much shampoo is applied and it is not rinsed out soon enough.
There are several very good brands of eye ointments, treatments, and Vitamin and Mineral supplements available in today’s markets to assist you with protecting your dogs vehicle in experiencing life.