People are not the only ones to get red, watery eyes during allergy season – Our dogs can, too! Unlike their beloved human friends, dogs can do little to relieve the discomfort on their own. So, they’re counting on us to quickly spot the symptoms and provide the care they need to feel better fast. Ready to help your dog stay comfortable and see clearly through every allergy season? Here’s what you need to know about eye care for dogs with allergies.
Eye Allergy Symptoms in Dogs
When allergies kick in, dogs often experience eye irritation after coming in contact with allergens, like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores. Oftentimes, this results in red, watery eyes that leave your dog squinting, pawing at their face, and otherwise looking uncomfortable. You may even notice a thick discharge coming out of one or both of their eyes.
Importance of an Initial Vet Visit
Red, watery eyes are usually caused by allergies, but that’s not always the case. You need to take your dog to the vet for an initial visit to rule out other causes, like:
- Dry eye
- Corneal ulcers
Your vet will usually work through the process of elimination to determine if allergies are causing your dog’s symptoms. When serious symptoms arise, your dog may need to go to a veterinary dermatologist instead to get a conjunctival provocation test done. Your dog may also benefit from allergy testing to pinpoint the triggers.
Depending on the severity of the allergies, your vet may recommend giving your dog prescription antihistamines and/or eye drops on a daily basis. Immunotherapy is another option when allergy symptoms greatly impact your dog’s quality of life. In most cases, allergic dogs just need help avoiding their allergen triggers and great at-home eye care from their owners.
At-Home Eye Care for Your Dog
Whether you follow a vet’s treatment plan or just manage symptoms on your own, at-home eye care can help your dog feel much better every day. Here’s what to do.
Use a Saline Rinse to Remove Allergens
Washing away allergens in the eyes is key in keeping allergy symptoms to a minimum. To do that, you just need to use a high-quality saline solution to rinse out the eyes once or twice a day. Use a saline formulated for dogs, not your contact solution, to ensure the rinse matches the composition of their own tears.
Wipe Away Tears with a Warm, Wet Cloth
Check your dog’s eyes throughout the day for excessive tears or discharge and then wipe it away with a warm, wet cloth. For the gentlest touch, use a baby washcloth or an old t-shirt. If the tears or discharge sits on their coat, it could add to their discomfort and stain the fur around their eyes.
Regularly Trim Fur Away from the Eyes
Fur around the eyes can trap allergens and add to the irritation, so clip it away regularly to keep your dog comfortable. Use ball-tipped safety scissors to carefully trim the fur back without risk of harming the eyes or surrounding skin. If you’re not comfortable doing that, a groomer can help you out.
Switch to a Hypoallergenic Food
Although you cannot control the allergens in the air, you can minimize your dog’s intake of allergens through their food. You just need to switch to hypoallergenic dog food, like insect-based foods, to decrease the intake of potentially triggering substances. Remember to switch their treats as well to fully control their diet and help reduce allergy symptoms considerably.
As you provide excellent at-home eye care, take note of the symptom frequency and severity. If anything changes, report the problem to your vet for extra support in caring for your dog. They will let you know if there’s anything else you can do to control the symptoms and help your pup stay comfortable.
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