Ear and Eye Care
Keeping your dog's ears clean should be a part of your usual grooming routine, and it's important to ensure you are being thorough. Make a point of checking both inside and outside the ear itself, looking for grass seeds or signs of a mite infection such as scratching and scabbing, all of which can cause discomfort and infection. You should also look out for excess hair growing out of the ear canal, which can become uncomfortable and hinder your dog's hearing.
You should check your dog's ears regularly, and clean the outsides using warm water and a gentle sponge or cotton pad if they look a little waxy. Your vet will also examine your dog's ears when they visit for their annual vaccination, to ensure there are no underlying infections. If you are concerned that your dog may have an ear infection - usually indicated by unpleasant aromas or signs of irritation like scratching or shaking the head - speak to a vet immediately to find the cause of the problem.
Dogs are noted for their good eyesight, and it's important to keep them that way for as long as possible. To check them, simply face your dog towards a bright light source like a window, and look into their eyes - they should be clear and bright, with a white area around the eyeball and equally-sized pupils. Check for redness, irritation and any swelling, and contact a vet if you notice anything different.
If there is discharge, crust or tearing around the corners of the eyes, a gentle wipe with a cotton ball will help to keep their eyes clear, but you should speak to a vet about why this is happening. Cloudiness or change in eye colour can also indicate problems, so make sure you're checking regularly.
When grooming your dog, take some time to make sure hair is not falling across the face and into the eyes. This can be irritating and damaging if left un-groomed, and the loss in vision will make your dog more likely to bump into things - make sure they can see everything around them!