Your dog's eyes are constructed much in the same way as a human's eyes and are prone to injuries if precautions are not taken. Sometimes accidents and injuries happen and, if not treated properly, can result in serious eye damage and could even be life threatening. Dogs are good at hiding their injuries, so you may not notice that something is wrong with their eyes when first injured. Here are some signs that your dog has an eye injury as well as some first aid tips you can do until you get your dog to an animal hospital.
Common Causes of Eye Injuries
Pretty much any situation where something could suddenly hit your dog in the eye can cause an injury. However, some of the most common injuries are caused by brush hitting the eye as your dog runs through vegetation as well as claw or tooth punctures. Hunting dogs may also be at risk for gunshot fragments or residue hitting the eye. Dogs who are more active and excitable are more likely to be injured.
Eye Injury Symptoms
It may be difficult to see anything wrong with the eyes when symptoms first present themselves. Scratches on the cornea are particularly hard to see with the naked eye. Dogs who have injured eyes may squint or blink a lot and may even have a discharge. Some dogs may paw at or rub their eyes. Other dogs may also experience a sensitivity to light. The eyes may either swell up or shrink depending on the injury.
First Aid for Eye Injuries
When you first notice symptoms, you can do a few things to make your dog more comfortable. If you don't see anything on the eye's surface, try lifting an eyelid to see if there is dirt or debris under the eyelid. You can also use saline solution to rinse out the eye. Be careful when treating eye problems so as not to cause further injury. Since your dog is likely to be in pain, be very gentle and back off if your dog is showing serious discomfort.
Because there is a chance of infection and permanent eye damage, you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect your dog has injured his or her eyes. There may be hidden injuries, such as a detached retina or a rupture you cannot see but that your veterinarian can check for. Any time your dog has a problem with his or her eye, or anything else that could become permanently damaged or infected, visit an animal hospital for an evaluation.