Dealing With Dry Eye
Eyes use tears as a method of naturally cleansing and hydrating the surface of the eyes.
Dogs with larger eyes generate more tear production, and therefore are more prone to both weepy eyes and then dry eyes they age.
Typically we have to clean up around the eye area quite a bit due to tear drainage and environmental pathogen accumulation, but as groomers we also see a lot of dogs with dry eyes, especially as part of the aging process.
In these instances we can have different presenting symptoms that have to be addressed during the grooming visit.
Eyes void of tears or moisture are *extremely sensitive*, painful, present a host of serious visual symptoms, and can put the dog on high alert due to the pain.
Aside from communicating what we see to our pet owners in hopes that they will remedy the situation on a medical level, there’s a few things we need to do in the salon when working alongside these symptoms.
During the bathing process we have to remember that a dry eyes will not have the surface lubricated adequately. This means that when we get shampoo in the eyes, there’s really no place for it to go except directly against the eyeball and lid membrane it’s self.
This could create a world of trouble & a lot of pain!
I highly recommend with dogs that have crusty eyes that we first wet the face with adequate water and use a mild face cleanser as we *gently* clean up the eye area and then immediately rinse before moving on with bathing the rest of the dog.
Once the bath and rinsing is done I highly recommend a lubricating eyedrop be applied to each eye before moving to the drying process.
Some groomers prefer mineral oil and that is personal preference.
However mineral is messy and it can actually cause water-based shampoo to ride around on the surface of the eye opposite the oil, and redeposit under the lid possibly causing severe ulceration.
When you have finished grooming, it’s very important for you to check the moisture level on the surface of the eye and carefully remove any hair splinters or particles that came into contact with the eyeballs or lids during the haircutting process.
I would never carefully wipe away hair splinters without applying more lubricating eyedrop solution as this can cause severe eye irritation.
Without doing this as a final step, it is possible for the hair splinters and any other particular debris to just sit on the eye instead of the adequately rinse away as it normally would.
If the owner has eyedrops from the veterinarian, then urge them to reapply once they get home.
I do not personally recommend administering any type of prescription from the salon storefront due to liability unless their veterinarian has issued a *written consent form* for you to administer in their absence.
‼️The same goes for medicated shampoo and eardrops!😉
More medical info on dry eye, or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca: