The Eyes Have It: How to Clean Your Dog's Eyes

The Eyes Have It: How to Clean Your Dog's Eyes
Swab the eyes to remove debris (top), then flush them out with sterile saline solution (bottom).

A bird dog can put in a long, tough day. By the end of a hunt, he may be squinting or pawing at his eyes — not a good sign. He's probably got debris in his eyes or, worse, an irritation of some sort. What do you do?


Dogs push their noses, which are followed by their eyes, through a lot of brush and chaff. The flushing breeds — retrievers and spaniels — generally have it the worst; they run with low heads and tend to pick up debris from the grass and brush they run through. Pointers and setters can also have eye problems, however, especially some of the larger breeds with droopy eyes.



You can't change how they hunt, but you can do a quick cleaning at the end of each hunt to keep their eyes clean. You'll need a supply of Q-Tips and some sterile saline solution or some other kind of commercial eye wash.

First, put your dog on the tailgate or somewhere he's easy to work on. Pull apart his eyelids with your thumb and forefinger and examine the pocket between the bottom of the eyeball and the lower eyelid. If his eye has collected weed or grass seeds that's probably where you'll find them.


Next, take a dry Q-Tip and gently swipe the pocket from one end to the other, twisting the Q-Tip a half turn or so as you do. It will pick up any chaff or weed seeds on the first or second swipe. Then do the other eye.


Next, flush them out. Having a helper makes this much easier. Again, pull apart his eyelid, then have your friend give the eye a good long squirt of saline solution. Treat the other eye and you're done.

If your dog is still squinting, he may have a minor irritation, perhaps a small abrasion. For this, carry a tube of over-the-counter eye lubricant. Put a couple drops in the problem eye. If his squinting doesn't clear up in a day or so, take him to a vet — continuous squinting or pawing at his eye may be an indication of something more serious, and you'll definitely want your vet to look at it.

On most hunts, however, a quick, post-hunt cleansing of your dog's eyes will sooth them and keep problems to a minimum.

Recommended for You

News

Read & React: Dog Owners Voice Concerns Over Minnesota Trapping Regulations

David Hart - January 21, 2014

John Reynolds thought the death of his Springer spaniel Penni was a rare accident, a stroke of...

Gun Dog

Can Rescue Dogs Become Good Hunters?

Patricia Stockdill

Understand this great responsibility and pick the right pup.

Training

How To Stop Your Gun Dog's Barking

Dave Carty

Deal with this annoying problem by practicing these 3 steps.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Shotguns & Ammo

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

David Hart

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that...

Shotguns & Ammo

New Upland Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

From the 2019 SHOT Show, here are a several new upland shotguns that caught our attention.

Shotguns & Ammo

9 Great Left-Handed Shotguns

David Hart - May 24, 2014

David Hart gives you the rundown on the best left-handed shotguns available right now.

See More Stories

More Health & Nutrition

Health & Nutrition

Hunting Older Dogs

Dave Carty - October 12, 2016

There's one thing you can count on about young dogs; sooner or later they turn into old...

Health & Nutrition

Canine Fitness: Work Your Bird Dog Into Hunting Shape

Tony J. Peterson

Train your pup with a purpose.

Health & Nutrition

Why High-Performance Dog Foods Are Worth The Price

Tony J. Peterson

Find out why quality is worth the investment for your pup!

See More Health & Nutrition

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×