How To Get Hair Out Of Your Dog’s Eyeball

Most dogs have a fluffy and luscious coat that is a bonus to their adorable face. There are a whopping 360 internationally recognized breeds of dogs worldwide. Their hair and fur coats vary depending on the breed they belong to. Some dogs have such shaggy hair that it is difficult to see their eyes. While they may manage to get around without bumping into things, do you wonder if their hair irritates them by getting in their eyes? The answer is yes!

A stray hair in your dog’s eye is as uncomfortable and annoying to them as it is to us. The temporary discomfort of long hair going into the eye causing distorted vision can lead to the permanent discomfort of inturned eyelids. Hair can cause complications such as pain, discomfort, or even physical damage such as corneal ulceration.

A Dog’s Vision

Dogs typically have 20/75 vision, meaning they must be 20 feet from an object to see it as well as a human standing 75 feet away. Dogs have dichromatic vision, which means they can see color but only in shades of blue and yellow. They can also see shades of grey but colors such as red, orange, and green are out of a dog’s color spectrum, and therefore not visible to them. While dogs have a predominant sense of smell, they can detect movement and light in the dark much better than humans.

Signs Your Dog Has Hair In Their Eyes

Some dogs have long hair that gets in their eyes which can cause discomfort and irritation. A stray hair is easily washed out by the natural tearing process, rinsing the eye with saline solution or artificial tears. If this happens to be a recurring problem, discuss it with your vet and figure out a different grooming style for your pup.

Dogs are very expressive. After being domesticated with humans for thousands of years, they have developed a unique ability to communicate with their owners. They are known to use their elaborate facial expressions and sounds as exclamations to draw attention toward themselves. Here are some signs to look out for if you think your furry friend might have hair in their eye:

  • Spasming of the eyelids (blepharospasm), winking or squinting
  • Protrusion or swelling of the third eyelids
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eye
  • Ocular discharge (may be water, mucus, or pus)
  • Scooting the side of the face along the ground
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You can also look for signs like your dog’s ears dropping or if they appear to be cowering, whimpering, or shaking to clue you in if there may be something wrong.

What To Do If Your Dog Has A Hair Stuck In Its Eye

First and foremost, look at your dog’s eye in good lighting as you would check your own eye for hair. Look to see if the surface of your dog’s eye is bright and shiny and if there is an unbroken reflection. If the eye appears sore, inflamed, or dull, or if there is a jump in their eye reflection, see a vet immediately. 

If there happens to be a stray hair stuck in your dog’s eye, the best thing to do would be to leave it alone and let the normal tearing process remove it. Leave it to work its way out if your dog is not pawing at its eye or rubbing against things to indicate it is bothering them. Hair and eyelashes are composed of keratin, an insoluble protein, meaning the hair cannot dissolve, get absorbed, or be destroyed by white blood cells.

In case your dog still seems disturbed or irritated, you can try flushing the eye with a sterile eye wash or tap water using a syringe. If it is still not dislodged, apply copious amounts of a sterile water-based eye lubricant or gel, then repeat the flush. Inspect the eye with a light to ensure that the hair is gone. Seek veterinary advice if it is still present or your pet’s eye is seemingly inflamed.

Using any tools, sharp objects, or poking to remove the hair is NOT worth the risk as it can be dangerous and may damage the eye.

Other Reasons Your Dog’s Eye Could Be Irritated

The most common cause for irritation is foreign particles like dust, dirt particles, or grass seeds making their way into the eye. While most of these substances will eventually be washed out from the eye by tears, some can get lodged into your dog’s eye leading to problems that may threaten their vision. Here are some of the reasons your dog’s eye may be causing them trouble:

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Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be caused because of irritation to the eye and infections. Allergies can also cause conjunctivitis. In addition to keeping his eye closed, your dog may also have discharge and a crust that develops within and around the eye. The eyes may also appear to be red.

Corneal Ulcers 

A corneal ulcer is a scratch or injury on the surface of a dog’s cornea or the clear part of the eye. A dog with a corneal ulcer will have cloudiness in the front of the eye. There may be green, yellow, or clear discharge. Corneal ulcers in dogs may be caused because of an injury or infection. They are painful, so the dog squints the eye closed and may rub at it. 

Eyelid Entropion

Entropion is an abnormality of the eyelids in which the eyelid rolls inward. This inward rolling often causes the hair on the surface of the eyelids to rub against the cornea. This can result in pain, corneal ulcers, perforations, or pigment developing on the cornea which interferes with vision.

How To Prevent Dog Eye Problems

  • Have your dog groomed regularly to ensure its fur is not in its eyes constantly. Excess hair around your dog’s eyes can increase the chances of developing eye irritation or infection. Please do not attempt to cut the hair around your animal’s eyes because it may cause injury. Seek the help of a professional groomer or veterinarian.
  • Examine your dog’s eyes to look for signs of irritation and know what symptoms to look out for. Keep a close eye on your dog for any irritation, infection, or vision difficulties.
  • Have a vet look at their eyes if you suspect inturned eyelids.
  • Do not allow your dog to stick his head out of the car window while it is moving. Particles could come in contact with his eyes, scratching his cornea or causing other irritation.
  • When bathing your dog with a medicated shampoo or flea-killing product, use a dropper to apply an ophthalmic gel to the eyes beforehand. This can prevent shampoo or chemicals from irritating the eye.
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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.

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