Dog owners are familiar with the characteristic behavior of dogs when they rub their eyes with their paws.
When dogs rub their eyes with their paws for the first couple of times, it looks like a picture-taking moment.
Dogs are fond of rubbing their eyes with their paws, but it can be a problem if it is done repeatedly. There is definitely a problem if a dog spends a lot of time rubbing the eyes than doing other activities.
The main reason why dogs keep rubbing their eyes is that they feel a level of discomfort in their eyes.
The level of discomfort might be little initially, but until that pain leaves, the dog could experience severe pain in the eyes.
Some of the reasons and probable causes behind the discomfort they feel could be because:
Their Eyes Are Itchy
Whenever a dogs’ body itches, they try to relieve themselves by using their paws, scratchy surface, and sometimes their teeth.
There are several ways dogs try to relieve an itch. This includes scratching parts of the body like under the collar or behind the ear with the hind paw.
However, dogs can’t use their teeth or a scratchy surface when there is an itch in the eye. The preferred means would be to use their paw to rub their eyes and try to stop the itch.
A dog could be experiencing severe discomfort in the eyes, but their discomfort can only be interpreted through body signs.
When a dog continuously rubs the eyes with the paw, it can be seen as one of those signs. Arrest the situation immediately and take necessary precautions.
If a dog continues to scratch the eyes, the claws can cause further damage to the dogs’ eyes.
Sometimes dogs can react to the discomfort they feel in their eyes in the form of allergies. The allergies may be a reaction to what they eat, chew on, or sniff up in the environment.
Food additives and preservatives can trigger allergies and irritation in a dogs’ eye.
Something Is Stuck In The Eye
Dogs love to roam around, sniff on and chew on objects. There are situations where something can get into their eyes.
This can be liquid (for instance, water can get into their eyes while bathing or drinking water). It could be small objects (for instance, small insects could get into the dogs’ eyes like mites, ticks, or lice).
Dust, mold, and pollen could also spread to their eyes. This can bring about irritation in the dogs’ eyes and make them rub their eyes with their paws.
When a dog continuously rubs its eyes with its paws, the eyes can get infected.
Whether dogs are ill or not, they need to be given medications. The medication could be rabis vaccine or medications like famotidine that help with an upset stomach in dogs.
It could even be medications to boost a dogs’ growth. Dogs react to medication differently. They can develop irritation in their eyes and other parts of the body if they are given the wrong dosage.
Dogs love to play a lot and release some of that pent-up energy. In the heat of the moment, they can easily get their eyes injured.
This can happen from rough play with other dogs or chasing small animals. They could even get an eye injury by just stuffing the nose in a bushy garden.
If there are minor wounds or blood appearances around the dogs’ eye, it indicates that the dogs’ eye has sustained injuries.
An infection could make a dog rub its eyes with its paws. This is because an eye infection could make them experience enormous discomfort in their eyes.
Depending on the type of infection and stage of infection, the pain could either be minimal or intense. Here are some signs to detect if a dog has an eye infection:
- Swelling around the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Inability to keep the eyes open
- Alien substance around the cornea
- Abnormal blinking of the eyes
If the dog shows any signs of an infection, the condition should be treated as an emergency. Taking the situation loosely might leave the dog with permanent eye damage.
What To Do About It?
There are a few cases when a dog keeps rubbing its eyes, and after some time, the dog stops. The dog might stop rubbing for just a period, and later on, the dog might continue to rub its eyes.
In this case, the dogs’ eyes are likely infected.
Do not ignore these signs if it keeps occurring. Check the dogs’ eyes for any of the symptoms above. This will provide more information on why the dog keeps rubbing its eyes with the paws.
The best solution is to contact a veterinarian for guidance on how to treat any of these symptoms. However, here are four steps that are found to be easy to treat the dogs’ eye:
1. Carefully remove the substance if any substance is found around the dogs’ eye. Don’t forcefully remove the substance if the dog shows any signs of distress or reacts in pain.
Veterinarian assistance will be needed if the dog keeps reacting in pain while trying to remove the substance. Do not forcefully remove the substance because there is a possibility to make things worse.
2. If there is no substance found in the dogs’ eye, the following procedure can be taken. Place an e-collar around the dog’s collar to prevent the dog from rubbing its eyes with the paws.
Place the e-collar or cone around the dogs’ neck for 7 to 10 days.
3. If there appears to be a foreign substance stuck in the dogs’ eye, the following procedure can be taken. Apply sterile saline eyewash solution or eye drop that are prescribed for dogs.
Two drops of the saline solution are safe to cleanse any minor infection in the dogs’ eye.
Hold the dog gently and apply two drops to each of the dogs’ eyes. Call any friend that the dog is familiar with to help hold the dog if the dog cannot be held alone.
Dogs can express any violent behavior, especially if the dog is not comfortable being around a stranger.
4. Add antibiotics to the dogs’ food. Antibiotics are prescribed to fight any bacterial infection. They can be used to fight the bacterial infection in the dogs’ eyes. If the dog is prone to allergies, the vet will likely prescribe a dose of antihistamine.
Nevertheless, don’t give the dog medication other than antibiotics. This is because dogs react differently to medication, especially if they are given the wrong dosage.
Dogs tend to rub their eye with their paw from time to time when they play, even when they eat. However, if this action is consistent, there is a tendency that the dog is feeling uncomfortable.
The reason why the dog keeps rubbing its eye does vary depending on the cause.
The first step would be to observe the dogs’ eyes. If there is no sign of infection, an e-collar can be worn on the dog. This is to discourage the act of rubbing its eye with its paws.
If there is a sign of infection, contact a veterinarian for additional assistance on the treatment procedure for that infection.
Lucy is a real-time contributor to Purrfect n’ Pawesome, along with being a freelance writer to various pet forums and platforms. She started writing professionally in the year 2016. Earlier, she enjoyed her community life as a pet rescue volunteer and offered boarding services to pet owners. Her extensive experience in the pet field is now the basis for her writing at this site.
She loves to collect animal facts from around the globe and then transform them into amazing stories for her readers. For Lucy, the mission is to bring pet love to every home and equip the pet parents with the required useful and authentic information to nurture their pet accordingly.
She lives with her two cats and a shepherd mix, whom she loves the most. Despite her extremely busy life, she spends some time with wildlife and outer space to relax her mind and enhance her observation.
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