Keep Your Dog’s Hygiene A-Head Above the Rest

Keep Your Dog’s Hygiene A-Head Above the Rest

When we think of hygiene, we typically don’t think about our dog, but their hygiene should be as important as ours. There is no question about it - proper hygiene is your first step to a healthy and happier dog.

Start at the top ­–have you checked your dog’s ears lately? Ear infections are very common in dogs, especially in breeds with long, pendulous ears. There are some key indicators of ear infections: frequent head shaking, scratching, tilting the head, redness and inflammation, tenderness in the area or foul-smelling ear wax discharge. If left untreated, ear infections can lead to additional problems, including excessive tearing,deafness, loss of balance or even a ruptured ear drum.

Does your dog have unsightly, foul smelling tear stains? There are many theories as to what causes these stains, but most tend to agree that the underlying culprit is the bacteria/yeast growth caused by excessive eye drainage. The fur beneath the eyes remains saturated, becoming a breeding ground for the bacteria to grow.

Though some breeds are genetically predisposed to tearing, additional causes may be teething, clogged tear ducts, short-nosed dog breeds, allergies, hard water, food, bulging eyes, debris and ingrown eyelashes. But no matter what the cause, you’ve got to clean them up! Leaving tear stains untreated could lead to irritation and skin lesions.

Unfortunately, there is no product on the market that can stop tearing, but there are products that can control the problem. Though many people believe that tear stains are an internal problem, in truth they’re not - they’re an external problem. Internal remedies, such as giving your dog a daily dose of antibiotics (e.g. tetracycline or Tylosin), can initially help the problem, but you may set your dog up for a lifetime of digestive disorders, discolored teeth and other health problems. 

Though some internal products are available at your local pet store and marketed as dehydrated beef or chicken liver, they may not FDA approved for dogs and cats. Do your homework and make sure that you know the facts. Some internal products have been banned in Europe, Canada and most recently in the United States (see link below), causing one to stop to think about this for a moment—would you give your child antibiotics internally every day? (FDA Notice:

The key to removing tear stains is to control or reduce the moisture and treat the underlying problem, the bacteria growth. Use of a topical product that is natural and safe for your dog’s eyes is best. Never use bleach or peroxide on your dog’s stains. Also, make sure that you read your dog’s shampoo ingredients carefully. Products that contain whiteners, brighteners, bluing agents or blueberry extracts, will mimic the properties of bleach/peroxide and ruin the hair shaft, causing the stains to set. Feel free to use these products on all other areas except the stained area.

In all cases, if anything looks unusual about your dog's eyes, have your veterinarian examine him immediately because there are several serious conditions that may endanger your dog's eyes.

Are your dog's teeth not quite as clean as you'd like them to be? There is no question, regular cleaning will minimize tartar buildup and help prevent periodontal disease. The best solutions are cleaning with finger-sized brushes to gauze type pads, or specially formulated rinses. Monitor your dog’s teeth and gums, checking for redness, swelling or bad odor. If you're concerned about either, check with your Veterinarian. Severe tooth or gum disease can cause severe problems.

For any aspect of your dog’s hygiene, always remember that the most important thing you can do is educate yourself as to what your options are in order to make the very best decision for your four-legged family member. Remember, always ask your Veterinarian, if you’re unsure of what to do.

All the best from Eye Envy