Our pets see the world differently to us humans. Did you know, for instance, that they have poor color vision and just see blues and yellows and multiple shades of grey? They also have much sharper vision at night than we do, are more sensitive to light and are better at seeing moving objects. (great for catching prey!) Eye health, therefore, is a critical part to their overall health.
One thing they share with humans though is the need to have their eyes checked regularly for any tearing or inflammation that could indicate an eye infection or disease. So if you aren’t already doing it, Dr. Laura Wiles with our Vet Council recommends you give them a home eye exam every time you groom them – or sooner if you see signs that they might be having problems with their vision.
How to Check Your Pet’s Eye Health
Giving your pet an eye exam is very similar to giving yourself an eye exam. It’s easy and will just take a couple of minutes. Look into your pet’s eyes and make sure they look clear, not cloudy. Their eyeball should be white, not discolored. And they shouldn’t have a watery or crusty discharge. Pull down their lower lid to check that it’s a healthy pink.
Common Signs of Eye Infections and Diseases
Dr. Laura Wiles with our Vet Council says the most common eye issue she sees is corneal ulcers that pets get from rubbing their eye or a scratch to the cornea, both of which cause pets to squint in the affected eye. Dr. Wiles also sees a far amount of patients with allergic conjunctivitis, where they have eyes that are red, weepy and itchy. Note: Itchy eyes can also be a symptom of dry eye. Pets get this when their eyes have no lubrication, which means they have no tears to wash away debris. Finally, Dr. Wiles says if your pet has a bulging, red eye, it could have glaucoma, which is an ocular emergency. Your pet will need treatment started right away, or his or her vision could be permanently lost. Also, if the lens of their eye or eyes is cloudy, your pet could have cataracts.
At Home Care
As well as checking your dog or cat’s eye health as part of their regular grooming session, wipe their eyes regularly with a cotton ball soaked in water or a special eye cleaning solution for pets to get rid of any gunk.
Eye Protection for Dogs
If your dog is out in the sunlight a lot, or sticks his head out of the car window (not something we recommend), you might look into getting him a pair of protective eyewear. They’ll thank you for making them look really cool.
When You Should Visit Your Vet
According to Dr. Wiles, pet parents should seek veterinary care if their pet is squinting, pawing or rubbing at her eyes, has a red eye, or if there is eye drainage.
As you can see, our pets can suffer similar eye diseases to us. And just as we are lucky to have ophthalmologists to take care of our eyesight, our pets have veterinary ophthalmologists who your vet can refer your pet to, if needed, for diagnosis and treatment.
Finally, if you’re looking for a daily multivitamin and mineral health supplement to give your pet to promote their optimal health and wellbeing, try Vet’s Best Multivitamin Soft Chews, which are made with natural ingredients and come in veterinarian-recommended doses. You give them just one delicious chew once a day, just like a treat.