Eye and ear care

The following section contains information on eye and ear health issues for your dog.

What can affect a dog's eye health?

Dogs sometimes suffer from minor eye infections or inflammation of the eye. Occasionally, tiny objects such as grit or grass seed can get into the eye and cause discomfort. Other common complaints include eyelid problems, dry eyes or glaucoma. Most eye conditions will need veterinary attention.

It is not advisable to treat your dog's eye condition at home for too long or to attempt to remove foreign objects lodged in the eye yourself. This may make the condition worse and cause permanent damage.

How can I identify an eye problem?

If your dog does have an eye problem, the most common signs will be excess watering of the eye or a discharge. It may also appear cloudy and your dog may start blinking excessively. Your dog may also scratch its eye or wipe its face along the carpet.

To stop your dog causing further damage to itself, it may be advisable to prevent the dog from rubbing or scratching the eye until you can see the vet.

To maintain optimum eye health, keep your dog's eyes clean by wiping away any discharge that may accumulate at the corner of the eye with cotton wool soaked in luke-warm water. Use a separate piece of cotton wool for each eye to prevent the spread of any infection.

What can affect a dog's ear health?

Dogs will suffer from ear problems from time to time. During the summer months, grass seeds can become a problem by becoming lodged in the ear, causing discomfort. Other common problems include ear mites and ear infections.

How can I identify an ear problem?

If your dog is suffering from an ear problem the ear may appear red and swollen and may feel hot. There may be discharges or an unpleasant odour to the ear and your dog may also shake its head and scratch its ear. It may also hold its head to one side.

If you suspect that your dog has an ear problem, you should consult your vet immediately. If left untreated, the dog may cause damage to itself by scratching. If a foreign body is visible and is easily accessible and not penetrating tissue, it can be removed with your fingers. Do not insert anything into the ear (such as tweezers) as they are easily damaged.

To prevent the dog from causing further injury to itself before seeing the vet, it is advisable to prevent the dog from rubbing or scratching the affected ear.

Where can I go for further information?

For guide dog owners: Should you have any further queries regarding vaccinations or any other aspects of your dogs health, please contact the Dog Care and Welfare Advisor.

For pet owners: Please contact your local veterinary surgeon.