It doesn't take much for an eye injury in a dog (or even a human) to develop into a serious infection and potentially result in vision loss. This is why it is so important to treat injuries as soon as they happen or as soon as you notice them, regardless of how minor they may seem. Below are four common eye injuries that you may witness with your dog and how you need to care for them:
1. Possible Foreign Object
You likely won't "see" that your dog has something in his eye, but you will be able to realize it by your dog's symptoms. When there is a foreign object in your dog's eye, he will try to avoid bright lights, squinting and/or blinking excessively. When you notice this, here is what you need to do:
- Lift up his upper eyelid to look for debris.
- Pull down the lower lid to also look for debris.
- If you see debris, and it isn't penetrating the eye, use lukewarm water to flush it out.
- If it cannot be flushed out, place a bandage over the eye and take your dog to an emergency animal clinic.
2. Scratched Eye
If you notice that your dog has red eyes and/or is tearing up more than usual, then there is a good chance that his eye has gotten scratched somehow. This could have happened due to a foreign object, so make sure to check for that first.
If there isn't a foreign object, you will want to inspect the eye for a scratch. If you locate a scratch on the eye, cover the eye with a damp cloth and secure it to your dog's head with a bandage. Then, take him to the veterinarian that day.
Does your dog have yellow or green discharge coming out of his eye? If so, this is usually indicative of an infection. You should flush his eye out with lukewarm water or an eyewash made specifically for dogs. Though it is not necessarily an emergency, you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Make sure to keep an eye out for any other symptoms of illness, which could make the situation an emergency.
4. Burn Damage
If your dog has been potentially exposed to any type of harmful chemicals, and your dog can't seem to keep his eyes open, then he may have suffered burn damage. Here is what you need to do:
- Flush his eyes out with water for 10-15 minutes.
- See if there is any additional treatment necessary by looking at the chemical's packaging. While doing so, call Poison Control to see if they know of any additional treatment for you to take.
- Bandage your dog's eye(s) and take him to an emergency pet clinic immediately.
- Take the chemical packaging and/or container with you.