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Speaking of Pets: Why it’s important to watch your dog’s eye and ear health

By Joan Merriam
Speaking of Pets

Last time, I talked about your dog’s feet—now let’s move up to its head.

Many issues in dogs' eyes and ears need to be treated by a veterinarian in order to prevent further damage, so be vigilant.
Special to the Daily

Ears

First, your dog’s ears should be almost odorless. If you notice any disagreeable smell, inspect internal ears closely and look for discharge. Fungal or yeast infections often result in a brown, waxy-looking discharge, while bacterial infections create a green or yellow secretion. These call for a veterinarian.

Some dogs—especially those with floppy ears—are more prone to ear infections. If your pup is in this group, be vigilant about keeping their ears clean. Some of the best cleaning solutions are witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, cool green tea or equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Moisten a cotton ball with the solution and clean the exterior ear and the opening behind the tragus (the horizontal ridge under the ear flap).



Eyes

Unlike ear problems, canine eye problems usually require veterinary care.

A dog’s eyes should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white; watch for abnormal tearing, discharge, redness, or crust in the corners of their eyes. Look for signs of cloudiness, which could indicate cataracts or glaucoma, either of which can cause blindness if left untreated.



Constant scratching or rubbing the sides of the face is a clue there’s something irritating the eye. Allergies are one possibility, but could also be signs of underlying disease like conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye tissue. Dry-eye is another disorder that occurs when tear production diminishes, resulting in corneal inflammation.

Pooches that like to ride in the car with their heads lolling out the window could be in danger of debris or insects flying into their eyes…so why not try a pair of Doggles (doggie “goggles”)?

Bottom line: keep your own eyes on your dog’s eyes and ears to prevent future problems.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.


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