How to Prevent Cataracts in Dogs

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Feeding a dog a healthy diet can help prevent cataracts.
Feeding a dog a healthy diet can help prevent cataracts. (Image: Two Dogs image by ziggyhendry from Fotolia.com)

It is normal for the eyes to age and undergo some changes as dogs get older. If the pupils are cloudy or milky white, cataracts may be present. They can be caused by diseases like diabetes or by injury. They can also be caused by free radicals, which are harmful oxygen molecules in the body that gradually damage the tissue in the eye. The good news is that free radicals can be fought with preventive treatment before your dog gets cataracts. If your dog already has cataracts, fighting free radicals may prevent them from getting worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Antioxidant vitamins
  • Vegetables high in antioxidants
  • Cineraria eye drops
  • Bilberries
  • Beta-carotene

Fight free radicals with vitamins E and C. These vitamins are known as antioxidants because they block the harmful oxidizing effects of free radicals. For pets with cataracts the dose is 50 IU of vitamin E for every 10 lbs. of weight once a day. Punch a hole in the vitamin E cap and squeeze it into your pet's food. For vitamin C, give 100mgs twice per day for every 10 lbs. of weight. Use powdered vitamin C and add it to food. Vitamin C can cause diarrhea so you may have to experiment a bit until you find what your pet can tolerate.

Add vegetables to your dog's diet. Carrots, kale and other green and yellow vegetables are very rich sources of antioxidants.

Protect your dog's eyes with bilberries. When taken in capsule form these antioxidants protect the tissue of the eye. In a human study, Italian researchers found that bilberry mixed with vitamin E stopped lens clouding in 97 percent of people with early stage cataracts. Mix 50 mgs in your pet's food every day.

Give beta-carotene. This antioxidant is converted to vitamin A in the body which helps protect tissues in the eye. (This is not a treatment for cats since their bodies can't convert beta carotene into vitamin A.) Check with your vet for the proper dosage for your dog.

Treat existing cataracts with cineraria, a healing herb. It can help reverse cataracts that have already formed and may reduce the need for surgery. It is one of the few things that can actually clear cataracts and it comes in eye drop form available by prescription from veterinarians.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cataracts can cause limited site in your dog or cat; pets with cataracts should always be under the care of a veterinarian.

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