Yorkshire Terrier Blog

Cleaning Yorkie Eyes: The Complete Guide

Yorkies are prone to numerous health problems. While some issues are minor, unfortunately, many can have more serious consequences. 

One type of issue that is both unpleasant and dangerous is anything related to their eyes. To prevent eye problems and infections, Yorkies need their eyes cleaned regularly. 

But why are Yorkie eyes so sensitive? 

Let’s take a look.

What Color are Yorkie Eyes?

Per the American Kennel Club, Yorkies should have dark brown and black eyes. However, they can be born with hazel or blue, and very rarely with green eyes. The eye color they are born with is directly related to their coat and the texture of their fur.

Common Yorkie Eye Problems 

Not only do eye problems cause discomfort for your Yorkie, but they can also create bigger issues if they are left untreated. 

The most common eye problems Yorkshire Terriers experience are:

  • Tear stains (and all of their possible causes)
  • Dry eyes
  • Inflammation
  • Corneal Dystrophy

Tear Stains

Tear stains are the biggest and most obvious indication of an issue with your Yorkie’s eyes. This appears in the form of reddish-brown stains on the fur as the tears leave the eyes. This is the result of porphyrins, which is a natural chemical that needs to leave the Yorkie’s body. When porphyrins leave the body through tears, the problem is often related to epiphora or excessive tear production. While this is mostly an unpleasant problem, more serious causes can also lead to tear stains. 

The most problematic issues related to tear stains can be eye or ear infections, ingrown eyelashes, inverted eyelids, other types of infections, blocked tear ducts, or a poor diet. 

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are a serious issue which can lead to the Yorkie losing their eye. This happens when the natural film which keeps the eye lubricated is damaged. This causes dehydration of the eyes, which is both painful and debilitating to the dog. Dry eyes can appear with versatile symptoms, but the most common ones are the brown-tinted layer the eye creates to try to remedy the issue, pain as the eye loses lubrication, scar tissue that may appear on the eye, and blood vessels may grow through the eye. You need to take your pet to a veterinarian when you notice these symptoms, as severe cases of dry eyes need surgical intervention.

Inflammation of the Eyes

The inflammation of Yorkie eyes can happen due to different reasons. Most often the cause is foreign objects coming into contact with the eye, which results in eye irritation. This can lead to inflammation of infections. Your vet needs to examine your Yorkie’s eye and possibly ask for a blood test to find the exact cause of the eye issue. 

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is a genetic eye issue that plagues many dogs. This happens when the outside layer of the eye – the cornea – clouds over. It will affect both eyes to the same severity levels. While this is not a painful issue, it can ruin the Yorkie’s eyesight. Thankfully, it will not cause them to go blind, but it is not a treatable problem.

How to Clean Yorkie Eyes

To prevent versatile eye problems, it is important to correctly clean your Yorkie’s eyes. There are numerous ways you can do this. Here are some easy ways to keep your Yorkie’s eyes healthy and inflammation free:

  • Cotton balls
  • Dog wipes
  • Canine rinse
  • DIY cleaning solutions

Cotton Balls

Cotton balls and warm water are the easiest way to clean your Yorkie’s eyes. This is perfect for when you need to clean tear stains. Use one cotton ball for each eye, dip them into warm water, and gently wipe away the stains from the Yorkie’s face. Do not use q-tips, since they can damage the eyes. Furthermore, only clean around the eyes and do not touch the eyes. After the cleaning is done, use dry cotton balls to dry the area.

Dog Wipes

Dog wipes are also an excellent way to clean tear stains. Pick up all-natural wipes that are specifically made for dogs, which contain a cleansing solution that helps you clean tear stains easier. They can work better than cotton balls, and will also dissolve any gunk build-up around the eyes. However, different dog wipes can have different methods of use, so be sure to read the instructions before you start cleaning your Yorkie’s eyes with them.

Canine Rinse

Canine rinse is a dog-friendly saline eye rinse, which you can use to flush the Yorkie’s eyes and to clean out the gunk. These rinses also work as a prevention method if the issue is a simple irritation. While they do not clean away tear stains, they will effectively prevent gunk build-up around the eyes. The only issue which might cause a problem with saline rinses is that most dogs will not appreciate your effort. 

DIY Cleaning Solutions

If you need an immediate cleaning solution, have no wipes or rinse at home, and don’t have time to go buy some, you can also DIY it using boric acid. Add a tablespoon of boric acid into one cup of distilled water and allow it to cool down. Dip two cotton balls into the DIY solution and clean your Yorkie’s eyes. This solution can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. 

How to Prevent Potential Eye Problems

The best way to solve eye issues is to prevent them from happening. While some problems (genetic or accidental ones) usually cannot be prevented, there are still some ways you can ensure the safety and health of your Yorkshire Terriers.

Regular Grooming

Regularly grooming your Yorkie will help you prevent tear stains and other eye problems. It is important to groom the fur short around their eyes. In that manner, you eliminate the possibility of long fur from getting into the eye and irritating them. The longer furs can also result in dirt and dust entering the eye, which can create further problems. If you do not wish to take your dog to the groomers, you will need to invest in a good pair of grooming scissors.

Frequent Bathing

While you definitely should not bathe your dog daily or weekly, giving them a thorough wash every two-three weeks is a good idea. This will allow you to help prevent dry skin, which along with danders, can cause eye irritation. Getting special shampoos which further improve their skin conditions is another step in the good direction. Additionally, Yorkies need to be brushed daily in order to prevent their fur from becoming matted.

Clean Surroundings

Cleaning the dog is not enough. Their surroundings also need to be kept clean, especially their sleeping place. You can clean their beds or sheets – depending on what they are sleeping on – by using detergents without strong fragrance. Perfumed detergents can cause eye irritation as they can contain allergens, so it would be best to avoid them.

Better Quality Dog Food

Unfortunately, not all dog food is of equal quality. Therefore, you need to look into what you are actually feeding your Yorkie with. There are certain foods you should avoid, while others contain allergens, additives, or fillers which can be bad for your dog. To learn about the foods you should not give to your Yorkie, check out our article for more information.

Eliminate Allergens

Yorkies can easily develop allergies to various things. It is best to completely eliminate allergens from their surroundings and food. Use good quality dog food, change their water frequently, do not use shampoo and detergent with fragrant perfumes, etc. This will ensure your dog does not come into contact with anything that can cause allergic reactions.

Supplements and Medicine

If you wish to go this route, be sure to talk to your vet about it first. Some supplements, natural solutions, and medicine can help prevent various eye problems. They will protect their eyes from allergens, infections, and inflammation, which will ensure their healthy lives.

Yorkie Eyes: The Conclusion

There are different ways you can ensure the health of your Yorkshire Terrier and its eyes. No matter which way or method you choose, be sure to always consult with your vet first.

Yorkies are sensitive creatures, and they can experience eye problems easily. For that reason, owners need to be diligent in both keeping up with the grooming sessions, maintaining their cleanliness, and noticing any behavioral changes or possible problems on time. Our pets cannot advocate for themselves, so we need to guarantee their safety at all times.

Hopefully, with this complete guide on Yorkie eyes, you have found the perfect solution for you. Be sure to let us know what you have decided to try to keep your Yorkie’s eyes safe.

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