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Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Dogs’ Eyes

It is extremely important you know how to clean dogs’ eyes. Dust, dirt, or other airborne particles can easily blow into your dog’s eyes every day. This can cause irritation, weeping, and potentially dangerous eye conditions if left unchecked. Cleaning dogs’ eyes removes the dirt and debris before this happens, ensuring your dog has great eye health. But how do you clean dogs' eyes? Many people are unsure of the process, so we had to include eye cleaning within our dog grooming guide. Read this article to find out all you need to know to ensure your dog’s eyes look their best.

Common Symptoms of Dog Eye Problems

Not cleaning dogs’ eyes can lead to a range of eye conditions. It is vital to keep an eye out for symptoms of these health concerns so you know when to seek medical attention. If you spot any of the below signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian:

Eye Inflammation

Whenever something is irritating your dog’s eyes – be that allergens, dirt, or other debris – their immune system will kick in. This leads to localized inflammation of the eyes, such as swelling, pain, and redness.

Eye Redness

Redness is one of the most notable signs of inflammation. This is because the immune system releases hormones that act as vasodilators. These vasodilators cause the blood vessels to dilate so blood can reach the infected area, leading to redness.

Dog Eye Boogers

A little ocular discharge is normal as the eyes need to be lubricated to function. This can lead to unsightly tear stains down your dog’s face. However, an excessive amount of discharge is a sign of a bacterial or viral infection. This gunk forms at the corner of the eye and often dries to form a hard crusty booger.

Pawing at the Eye

Irritated eyes are sore eyes. If you spot your dog constantly pawing at its eyes, they’re likely causing him pain. This can also indicate deteriorating vision and blindness, especially when coupled with disorientated behavior.

Squinting & Blinking

Another way of coping with ocular pain is through squinting and blinking. Exposing sore and infected eyes to the elements worsens the discomfort. Most dogs also blink when larger debris gets into the eye in an attempt to dislodge it.

Dog Eye Problems Requiring Cleaning

With regular dog eye cleaning, most ocular health concerns can be avoided. However, they still arise from time to time. Most require veterinary treatment, but you can still help at home by cleaning your dog's eyes. Below are five examples of common eye conditions you can soothe if you know how to clean dogs’ eyes.

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers occur when the surface of your dog’s eye becomes scratched. They’re extremely painful and require antibiotic eye drops. Green or yellow discharge from the eyes is a common clinical sign that can be eased with effective cleaning of the eye area.


Conjunctivitis – also known as “pink eye” – is where the clear tissue on the surface of the eye becomes inflamed. Dog eye boogers are a common symptom. Regular cleaning of the eyes removes this discharge, while bacterial eye drops can help clear the condition.

Dog Eye Infection

Dog eye infections can occur on the eyelid, the conjunctiva, or the eyeball itself. They’re typically caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi and often require treatment with medicated eye drops. Cleaning away crusting and discharge can make your dog more comfortable as it fights the infection.


Glaucoma is caused by increased eye pressure due to an excess of fluid in the eye. Vets typically prescribe medication to decrease fluid production and ease the pressure. This is an extremely painful condition, but keeping your dog’s eye clean can help prevent other issues from arising.

How to Clean Dogs’ Eyes

Knowing how to clean around dogs’ eyes is a must-know still for many pet owners. Good eye health is crucial! And taking proper care of your canine’s blinkers can help curb any eye conditions that could permanently damage their vision. Thankfully, the cleaning process is extremely straightforward. Use this step-by-step guide on how to clean dog eyes crust and you cannot go wrong:
  1. Take a cloth, sponge, or cotton wool pad and dampen it using room-temperature water. Avoid using paper towels as these can disintegrate when wet.
  2. Use this cloth to wipe your dog’s eyes to remove discharge and debris. Always wipe from the inside to the outside and don’t apply too much pressure.
  3. Rinse the cloth or take a new damp piece of cotton wool and repeat this process on the second side. You might need to repeat on both eyes to remove all discharge.
  4. Once clean, take a dry paper towel and gently pat the eyes dry. Repeat these four steps whenever your dog’s eyes start to look dirty again.
This is an extremely simple yet effective process. Dogs automatically shut their eyes when you move towards them with a cloth, making the process simple. However, if your dog is reluctant, you might need to call in support to help hold your furry friend still. Be sure to reward your dog with treats for being a good boy. Before long, they’ll form positive associations with eye cleaning and happily sit as you wipe away the dirt.

Saline Solution for Dogs’ Eyes

Saline solution for dogs’ eyes is a mixture of salt and water in the form of eye drops. Unlike the medicated eye drops used to treat corneal ulcers, infections, glaucoma, and other aforementioned eye conditions, saline solution is purely a dog eye cleaner. You don’t require a prescription, and it is a godsend for treating minor eye problems without veterinary aid. Some of the issues saline solution can help with include:
  • Soothing itchiness and irritation caused by allergies
  • Flushing the eye to remove foreign objects
  • Preventing tear stains by flushing away tears
To use saline solution, sit with your dog between your legs and gently tilt its head back toward you. Gently hold open its eyelid using your thumb and index finger of one hand. With your other hand, place the eye drop bottle close to the eye and squeeze in the drops. Although using a saline solution for dogs’ eyes is a useful cleaning aid, never use it if your dog’s eyes are clearly inflamed. Instead, stick with the medicated eye drops prescribed by your vet and clean away any discharge using a cloth as detailed above.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to clean dogs’ eyes is essential for all pet parents. Incorporating this into your regular dog grooming routine can flush out debris, dirt, pathogens, and other irritants. These can all lead to serious eye conditions, but regular eye cleaning works to avoid them. Clean away any dog eye boggers using a damp cloth and flush with saline solution if needed. If you do notice any symptoms of eye problems, speak to your vet. Your canine companion might need medicated eye drops or other treatment to clear the condition. The eyes are extremely sensitive, and good ocular health is essential!
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