Eyes are a vital part of life, and keeping a dog’s eyes clean will help the dog avoid contracting an eye disorder. Dogs can have eye problems both on the eyes and on the skin around the eyes. Conjunctivitis, one of the most common eye problems for dogs, is caused by allergies, a bacterial infection in the eye, or small particles (such as sand or grass seeds) that get stuck in the eye lid and irritate the eye. This common eye disorder can be avoided simply by cleaning the eyes so that the histamines, bacteria, or particles are removed from the eyes. Tear staining occurs because of blocked or improper drainage of tears. The sign of tear staining is a reddish-brown stain on the fur and skin on the inside corner of the eyes. Again, this problem is easily avoided by consistently wiping the area around the eyes.
There are two common means of cleaning a dog’s eyes, eye wipes and eye washes. Eye wipes are wet wipes, moistened with an eye washing liquid, used to clean the area around a dog’s eyes. The problem with eye wipes, though, is they cannot be used to clean the dog’s eyes, only the area around the eye. Also, if used directly on the dog’s eye, they can permanently damage the eyes or cause serious harm.
Eye washes are the second choice in proper eye care for dogs. The wash is exactly like human eye drops, which means most dog owners will already know how to apply the liquid to a dog’s eyes. The wash is a better eye cleanser for a couple reasons, the main reason being that it actually rinses the eye of any foreign objects or bacteria. Only two or three drops of the wash can completely flush all the structures in the eye. For dogs that love to swim, the eye wash is perfect for rinsing the chlorine, saltwater, or bacteria from their eyes.
Another reason the eye wash is more beneficial is that is can also be used to wipe the area surrounding the dog’s eyes, thereby performing the same job as the eye wipes. After your dog blinks a few times, the extra liquid will drain to the corners of the eyes (like tears). A soft tissue or small square of gauze–Q-Tips, cotton balls, or rough materials should not be used because they can irritate or scratch the eye–can then be used to wipe the skin around the eyes. Because eye washes can clean both the structures of the eye and the areas surrounding the eye, other products are unnecessary.