Cleaning Dog Eyes – Essential Information

In this article we’re sharing important information about cleaning dog eyes.  How to act with some common dog eye problems is discussed elsewhere on this site.

Cleaning your dog’s eyes on a regular basis can help prevent certain eye problems. With an eye infection and under the right circumstances, cleaning its eyes might also help your dog recuperate faster.  This article will focus on cleaning dog eyes for the purpose of helping dogs with actual eye conditions.

Before we go into any details about cleaning dog eyes, it’s essential for you to realize that if a dog has something seriously wrong with one or both of its eyes, cleaning the affected eye(s) yourself can do a lot more damage than good. 

In fact, in severe cases, cleaning your dogs eyes will endanger your dog’s vision.  Let’s look an example that (unfortunately) isn’t all that uncommon.

What to Avoid

If a dog runs through heavy underbrush or tall grass – something that’s not unusual for hunting dogs or dogs taken into a forest for some playtime off the leash – it’s possible for a thorn, burr or other foreign object to lodge itself in one of the dog’s eyes. 

If you attempt to clean a dog’s eye when a foreign object is embedded, you can tear your dog’s cornea or even cause it to go blind in that eye. 

At the least, your efforts might cause an eye infection.

A dog with any type of object lodged in its eye will require treatment by a veterinarian.  In almost all cases, the vet will need to put the dog under anesthesia in order to be able to remove the object safely. 

If you see any blood in your dog’s eye, the likelihood is great that the eye has more than just some dust or dirt in it.  Seek veterinary assistance immediately whenever something is stuck in your dog’s eye – and never attempt to remove the object or clean your dog’s eye yourself. 

Things You Can Do

Okay, that’s when you should avoid cleaning dog eyes.  What about less severe cases?  Should you clean your dog’s eyes then?  And if so, how do you go about cleaning dog eyes properly and safely?

It’s usually okay to clean your dog’s eyes when the problem doesn’t involve an injury like an embedded object.  For example, one of your dog’s eyes might be bloodshot, or the area surrounding an eye might be inflamed and reddened. 

Symptoms like those often indicate an eye infection.  The best way to treat this type of dog eye problem is to cleanse the eye thoroughly and then apply eye drops that have been specifically formulated for dogs. Never treat your dog’s eye(s) with a product that’s intended for use by humans.

Eye infections aren’t the only dog eye problems that can be treated by cleaning the dog’s eye(s). 

Eye irritation and corneal scratches often result when a dog puts its head out the window of a moving car.  Dogs love to do this and it can be hard to stop them, but dirt and debris can easily fly into their eyes. 

Cleaning your dog’s eyes after this happens can be soothing and help in removing the offending dirt and tiny bits of debris.  Remember, though, if an object in your dog’s eye is large enough to see, you need to take your dog to the vet instead of cleaning the eye yourself.

How to Proceed

Remember to always be gentle whenever you’re cleaning dog eyes.  With that in mind, begin the process by preparing a comforting, cleansing saline (salt) solution to use for bathing your dog’s eye(s).  Add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to 1 cup of distilled water. 

Adding a single drop of castor oil or almond oil to this solution is optional.  After stirring your saline solution well, soak a piece of cotton gauze or a clean, soft cloth in the solution and then clean the affected area carefully and gently.

If you prefer, you could use one of the commercially available products that have been developed specifically for cleaning dog eyes.  One good example of a product that has been formulated for cleaning dog eyes is i-Clenz from Native Remedies. 

This particular product can be used to clean the area surrounding your dog’s eyes, but you can also dilute it and apply it directly to the eyes.  Simply use a clean cotton swab (a different swab for each eye) to apply a dilute solution of i-Clenz consisting of 2 or 3 drops mixed into 25 ml of warm water. 

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