When Scruffy starts repeatedly pawing at his face, he is likely not trying to cover his eyes to play a game of peek-a-boo; rather, he is probably trying to get relief from itchy eyes. Eye allergies can make your dog miserable, so please take him promptly to see your vet.
Eye Allergy Causes
Those itchy, red and watery eyes may be triggered by a variety of causes. The most common causes are allergies to inhaled substances, according to Vet Info. What does this mean? It just means that as in people, your dog can get the sniffles and red eyes from inhaling allergens such as dust, pollen, mold spores and mildew. These allergies may occur seasonally, as in most cases of grass pollen, or year-round, as with molds, mildew and house dust.
Eye Allergy Symptoms
You do not need to have “an eye” for recognizing possible symptoms of allergy eye problems in dogs. If your dog’s eyes are teary, it’s most likely not because he is responding to a sad movie; rather, it is likely the result of an inflamed conjunctiva. Teary eyes are also often accompanied by squinting, pawing at the eyes and scratching the face. There may be other accompanying symptoms such as sniffles and a cascade of sneezing fits.
Eye Allergy Considerations
Because many eye conditions may resemble an eye allergy, your best bet is to have your pooch see a veterinarian promptly. "Seemingly innocent conditions can fool you and result in an ocular emergency rather rapidly," explains veterinarian T.J. Dunn. A simple symptom such as squinting, for instance, may be the symptom of a corneal ulcer or debris stuck under the third eyelid, or it can even be one of the first signs of a serious systemic disease. Things can go downhill in the "blink of an eye" with certain eye conditions, so best to adhere to the "better safe than sorry" protocol.
Eye Allergy Treatment
The best way to "hit the bull's eye" and effectively treat the eye problem is to have a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist confirm or rule out eye allergies in your dog. If an allergy indeed is confirmed, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines or allergy shots. Once your dog gets some relief from his eye allergy, it is critical to identify the potential allergen to protect the eyes from further exposure.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.