With beautiful fall weather across much of the country, many families are planning long hikes in local parks and on area trails with their dogs. Hiking is wonderful exercise for everyone! To be prepared for anything, it is a good idea to carry an eye wash for dogs with you. As your dog snuffles through hedgerows, runs through fields or follows a wildlife trail, it is very likely that he will get seeds, dust, or other irritants in his eyes.
If these irritants are removed right away, you minimize the chance of any damage to the eye. The outer layer of the eye, called the cornea, is quite sensitive to any irritant. You might notice your dog squinting, holding his eye closed or rubbing his face in the grass. Generally a quick flush will remove whatever is causing the problem.
If your dog continues to squint or rub, if his eye looks red, or if he has eye discharge, you should contact your veterinarian right away. Eye problems can go from minor to serious very quickly. A scratch or injury to the cornea may require ocular antibiotics and possibly medication for pain.
If you have a forced hot air heating system, you may need the eye flush at home as well. When the system comes on for the first few times in the fall, there is often dust in the vents and ducts which gets blown out. Since your dog is at a lower level than you, he is more likely to be exposed to the blowing dust. The combination of dry air and dust can also irritate the cornea.