How to Clean Your Dog’s Eyes

cleaning your dog's eyes

Keeping your dog’s eyes clean is important, but can also be difficult because this is such a sensitive area. This makes cleaning your dog’s eyes much more complicated than cleaning the rest of her body. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips to help you keep your dog’s eyes healthy and clean!

Tips for Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes

Your dog’s eyes are both a sensitive and often forgotten area of your dog that needs to be cleaned regularly in order to make sure that your dog is as healthy as possible. Regularly cleaning your dog’s eyes will prevent bacterial eye infections, ulcers, and sties, so don’t forget about her eyes!

Eye Gunk

Just like you, your dog’s eyes need to be properly lubricated in order to function properly, but there’s also a point when the discharge becomes abnormal. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following, she may be having eye issues.

  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Excessive dry eyes
  • A noticeable increase in eye discharge
  • A change in the consistency or color of eye discharge
  • Rubbing or pawing at eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Bloody or bloodshot eyes
  • A visible foreign object in the eye

As mentioned, you should be aware of the color of your dog’s eye discharge, as it can indicate what specific eye issue she may be experiencing.

  • Clear eye discharge is usually caused by allergies, dust, or wind blowing in your dog’s face.
  • Watery discharge or mucus from only one eye is likely the result of a foreign body in the eye.
  • A yellow-green or pus-like discharge may indicate a serious infection.

If you notice anything strange about your dog’s eye discharge, speak to your vet as soon as possible. Leaving an eye issue untreated could result in blindness or even the loss of an eye.

When and How to Clean Eye Gunk

Every time you give your dog a bath, you should clean her eyes as well. Your vet may recommend cleaning your dog’s eyes more often, but every bath is just a rule of thumb.

Before cleaning your dog’s eyes, wash your hands thoroughly, then moisten a sterile gauze with sterile saline solution. As with cleaning your dog’s ears, you’ll want to stick to eye-cleaning solutions recommended by your vet and specifically designed to be used for pets.

Once your gauze is moistened, gently wipe each eye, starting with the inner corner and moving outward, being careful to use soft strokes. Wipe away any discharge and be careful not to bring the gauze into contact with your dog’s eyeball. You’ll also want to use a separate gauze for each eye.  

Tear Stains: Prevention and Cleaning

While it’s completely normal and natural for gunk to form around your dog’s eyes, if your dog has white or light-colored fur, this gunk most can leave brown tear stains around her eyes. While these stains aren’t detrimental to your dog’s health, when you put time and effort into keeping your dog looking good, you don’t want big, brown tear stains showing up on her face. In addition to most commonly affecting white-furred dogs, breeds with shallow eye sockets are more likely to get tear stains as well. These breeds include Pugs, Poodles, Malteses, and Shih Tzus.

Of course, while tear stains are generally normal, if your dog has never had tear stains before and they suddenly show up, you may want to consult with your veterinarian to make sure that it’s not indicative of a serious issue. 

Once you’ve consulted with your vet and are sure that your dog is healthy, you can move on to figuring out how to prevent your dog from developing tear stains in the future. The following are some common ways to prevent tear stains, and while there’s no fool-proof, one-size-fits-all way to prevent stains, one or a combination of the following tips may help you keep your dog’s face clean.

Dog Food

It’s possible for your dog to develop an allergy to the food that you feed her, leading to excess tearing and other issues. A diet of high-quality, grain-free food may be best for your dog in order to avoid this. You may even want to ask your vet what they recommend for your dog’s breed and needs.


It’s recommended that you give your dog purified, distilled, or reverse-osmosis water, as water containing excess minerals can lead to staining.

Face Grooming

Your dog may need a daily face grooming routine in order to keep her face stain-free. This will consist of flushing her eyes with a solution designed for pets, then rubbing the area underneath and around her eyes with moist gauze. The gauze should be moistened with the same solution used to flush her eyes. 

You should also wash your dog’s muzzle with a dry or waterless shampoo (designed for pets, of course!) and a wet washcloth. Comb and blow-dry the hair after shampooing.

Keeping the hair around your dog’s eyes short and trimmed will also help in avoiding staining by reducing the likelihood of the hair around your dog’s eyes irritating her eyes, causing tearing. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming the hair around your dog’s eyes yourself, our Fon Jon Pet Care team would be more than happy to help!

Don’t Let Moisture Build

You may want to switch from water bowls to glass water bottles, such as those made for birds, in order to avoid moisture from building up and staying on your dog’s mouth, which can lead to staining. Another option is keeping paper towels handy in order to clean up the water left around your dog’s mouth after she drinks water from her bowl.

Food Supplements

Before adding anything to your dog’s food or giving her any medication, consult with your vet to make sure it’s safe.

Two additives that some recommend in order to avoid staining are organic apple cider vinegar and buttermilk powder. One teaspoon added to meals is the recommended amount. There are also probiotic enzymes that may specifically reduce staining.

Fon Jon Pet Care is Here to Help!

If you are in the San Diego area and looking for quality pet care services such as dog grooming, you can rely on Fon Jon Pet Care. Contact Fon Jon Pet Care at 1-858-250-3601 or visit our site today and we will be happy to help you with your pet care service needs.