NT-Twin-2013“Dog dry eye,” also known as “canine KCS” (kerato-conjunctivitis sicca) can pose a serious health risk to pets, especially in winter, reports water and eye researcher Sharon Kleyne, a lifelong pet owner. Kleyne offers some easy suggestions to help keep the eyes of house pets clear, healthy and well hydrated through the winter months.

Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, a water and health research and product development center. Natures Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center’s global signature product for dry eyes, dry eyelids and pet dry eye. Kleyne also hosts the globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes.

According to Kleyne, dry eye is far more common among dogs than cats, although cats can also develop dry eye. Dogs are extremely curious, constantly poke their faces into underbrush, and often walk with their noses close to the ground. This leaves their eyes susceptible to dust, twigs, insects, etc. Other dry eye causes in pets include eye injuries, medications such as sulfa, and genetic predisposition.

Dry eye symptoms in dogs include pawing or rubbing of the eyes, which can also cause further injury, eye redness, a dull, dry look to the cornea (the clear part of the eye); gummy, stringy or crusty ocular discharge, hypersensitivity to light, eyelid twitching, inflamed eyelids, squinting and blinking, corneal ulceration and impaired vision..

Dry eye occurs more often in winter than summer, Kleyne explains, because cooler air cannot hold as much humidity or water vapor as warmer air and more time is spent indoors exposed to forced-air heating. Cool air and forced-air heating can both increase the rate at which water evaporates out of the eye’s protective tear film, which should be 98% water, and into the atmosphere.

According to Kleyne, several breeds are believed to be especially susceptible to dog dry eye. They include West Highland White Terrier, American Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Boston Terrier, Dachshund, Chihuahua, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Lhasa Apso and Shih-Tzu. Females and neutered males are more commonly affected, especially female Westies.

Numerous commercial medications for pet dry eye, says Kleyne, can be obtained from the veterinarian or pet store. If there is a secondary eye infection, that also must be cleared up. Any crusty discharge should be wiped away with a clean, wet, warm compress.

Dog dry eye can also be alleviated by applying an all-natural humidifying water mist. Kleyne suggests the product Nature’s Tears® EyeMist®. Although normally marketed to humans, the product is equally beneficial to pets. Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® is a product of Bio Logic Aqua Research, founded by Sharon Kleyne.

According to Kleyne, Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® is quickly and easily applied as a humidifying vapor around the eyes, without, fuss, resistance or pawing at the eyes.