A subset of the dry-eye patient group manifests their problem so severely that permanent punctal occlusion is required. The technique most often used today is thermal cautery. In this prospective study, an animal model was developed, and the effectiveness of the argon laser as a primary alternative therapy to thermal cautery was evaluated. Dogs were found to have a punctum similar in shape and location to humans; therefore, they were deemed to be a more appropriate animal model for punctal studies than cats. Both laser and thermal cautery are similarly effective in completely occluding puncta in animals. There was a trend toward greater stenosis with the laser in those puncta that were only partially occluded. In addition, laser punctal occlusion appeared to be less painful than thermal cautery.