How to clean your dog’s eyes

how to clean your dog's eyes

If you’re familiar with itchy, red eyes, you should know that your dog may suffer from the same irritating experience. Yes, dogs get allergies too. While breed may play a role in eye irritation, there are other factors that exacerbate the problem. Here we look at how to clean your dog’s eyes, the symptoms, as well as what causes the issue and how to help prevent them.

We all know that eyes are the windows to the soul. We also know how delicate and sensitive they are. Roughhousing with other dogs or running face first into bushes can therefore cause some injuries. So how do you know if eye trouble is on the horizon?

Symptoms to be on the lookout for

  • Tear stains
  • Discharge
  • Redness or irritation
  • Very dry eyes
  • Very watery eyes
  • Increase in the amount of eye discharge
  • Visible debris in the eye
  • Excessive blinking
  • Scratching or pawing of the eyes
  • Discharge changing colour

Potential causes

There are a number of reasons for Fido’s red, itchy eyes. Allergies, bacteria, foreign matter like dust or sand, not to mention stock-standard injuries.

  • Allergies: Like humans, Fifi and Fido can suffer from allergies as well. This can come from diet, dust, certain medications, insect bites, or environmental triggers.
  • Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the conjunctiva tissue of the eye. A dog with conjunctivitis may show signs of discoloured discharge, redness or swelling of the eyes, and excessive blinking.
  • Epiphora: Also known as wet eye, epiphora is a symptom of a condition rather than a disease itself. It is seen as an excess production of tears. It can cause facial dampness as well as staining of the hair around the eyes.
  • Dry eye: Also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. It is associated with inflammation of the cornea. It is caused by any disease or condition that causes the eye to stop producing enough tears to lubricate the eye.
  • Eye injuries: These include scratches and cuts on the surface on the eye, puncture wounds, blunt trauma to the eye, and  proptosis. More serious injuries should be attended to by a vet.
  • Glaucoma: Caused when there is a build-up of fluid in the eye. There is an increased pressure in the eye that can lead to pain, blindness or blind spots, and redness.
  • Corneal ulcers: A scratch or cut on the surface of the eye (cornea). It can range in severity depending on how deep the wound is.

Cleaning your dog’s eyes correctly

It’s not difficult to understand how to clean your dog’s eyes. But there are a few things to keep in mind. Try not to use material like cotton pads or cotton balls. They can shed fluff that may irritate your dog’s eyes. Likewise, using your bare fingers to clean away eye gunk is also not recommended. We suggest using a clean, damp cloth. You will also need your VetMed Eye Wash on hand.

  1. Be sure to approach your dog’s face carefully and slowly so as not to startle them. It’s also good practice to ensure your hands and equipment are clean.
  2. Rinse your dog’s eye and the area surrounding it with VetMed Eye Wash. The Eye Wash should be carefully and gently dripped into the corner of the eye. You can then use the clean, damp cloth to wipe away any discharge and debris that has been dislodged.
  3. Remove fur around the eye if necessary. This stops reinfection from happening as well as preventing discharge from matting in the fur.
  4. Rinse your dog’s eyes with VetMed Eye Wash twice a day and wipe away remaining discharge with a clean, damp cloth until the irritation has stopped.

Never use soaps or shampoos on your pet’s face around the eyes. They are incredibly sensitive and this may cause irritation or damage.

Regularly rinse your dog’s eyes as part of a daily or weekly routine. This prevents a build up of mucus around the eyes. In turn, this will aid in treating irritation and stop reinfection.

How to clean your dog's eyes

When to visit a vet

  • If your dog is suffering from a blocked tear duct.
  • Chronic eye problems that are not responding to treatment.
  • Your pet is experiencing loss of vision.
  • If your dog is experiencing an eye infection.

It’s highly important to take your pet to the vet if they are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Eye diseases and conditions progress quickly and can be caused by issues like diabetes, cancer, and hyperthyroidism.


As always, prevention is better than cure. Certain breeds have a genetic disposition towards eye disease or certain eye problems. While this can’t be helped, building a regular maintenance routine will aid in ensuring the irritation and conditions do not worsen. In addition to this, keeping the fur around their eyes short and knowing what to look for will help with timely diagnosis and treatment of eye problems.

It’s always important to keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour. If there seems to be a change in their body language and behaviour, it’s time for a closer look.

If you’ve run out of your VetMed Eye Wash and need to order more, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us here.