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Health & Wellness

Your dog may need eye drops if they have these ailments

The eye-opening regimen you need to know.

The eyes are the windows to the soul — for humans and dogs alike — so it's best to keep them clean and healthy. As sensitive as they're crucial, eyes are easily prone to soreness, discomfort, scratches and foreign objects, and dogs have the added disadvantage of not being able to explicitly express when they have eye pain.

Even though our furry family members are prone to the same types of eye ailments as we are, it can be hard to decipher what their issue is — and when to take action with eye drops. But the next time a problem should arise, these are the signs to watch for and when to reach for eye drops.

Signs that something is wrong with your dog's eyes

Since dogs obviously can't vocalize their problem, it's important to look for signs of discomfort if you suspect something is wrong. "You may notice signs such as rubbing the eyes on the carpet, the couch or with his paws," Dr. Andrew Armani, chief medical officer of Virginia-based Veterinary Innovative Partners, explains.  

Signs that something might be wrong, he points out, include redness around the eyes, squinting in one or both eyes or green or yellow discharge from the eyes — all of which are signs that you should bring your dog to the vet to get their eyes checked out. 

RELATED: Why is my dog staring at me?

What ailments or issues would require eye drops? 

Once you've identified any issues or concerns with your dog's eyes, the next step is figuring out whether or not eye drops are the correct course of action.

"Generally speaking, dogs need eye drops for many of the same reasons humans need them: allergies, dry eye or infections," Dr. Armani says. "Often, if a dog presents with red eyes, and there's no trauma or scratch on the eye, this is usually a sign of allergies, and simple drops or ointment from your veterinarian can help." 

Other ailments, however, can include scratches to the cornea (the clear outer surface of the eye), glaucoma or dry eye, a condition where the tear glands don't produce enough lubrication to the eyes, all of which can be causes of pain and discomfort.

How can eye drops help dogs? 

Like a soothing balm on an ache or cut, eye drops are a simple medication that can do a world of good when our best friends are in pain. As Dr. Armani explains, eye drops can help cure underlying causes and keep the eyes nice and comfortable during the healing process. As to how and when you should apply eye drops, it's important to consult your vet beforehand. 

"The instructions for applying the drops will come from the veterinarian and will be dependent on the actual condition. But most of the time, one single drop to each eye twice daily is sufficient," he notes, adding that the length of time to apply drops varies per condition, but usually 5-7 days is enough for most ailments.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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