dog eyes

How To Clean Dog Eyes: Boogers, Crust and Stains

Good grooming involves more than taking your dog to get his hair washed, trimmed and toenails clipped a few times a year. One area that many dog owners easily forget is the eyes – those beautiful, expressive windows into your dog’s soul. While vision isn’t your dog’s most awesome sense (smell and hearing top vision by a mile), it’s still important to ensure your dog’s eyes stay healthy. Cleaning can prevent bacterial eye infections, ulcers or sties from developing, so make it a point to pay attention to this little chore.

How To Properly Clean Your Dog’s Eyes:

Crusty Dog EyesClean your dog’s eyes every time you give her bath. Clean them more often if there’s a discharge coming from the eyes, if you notice dirt or debris near the eyes, or if they seem to be itchy.

To clean your dog’s eyes, moisten sterile gauze with a sterile saline solution. (Note: Some preparations recommend use of cotton balls for this purpose, but we are not fans of cotton balls, since they can shred, leaving tiny filaments of cotton attached to your dog’s eyelashes that can lead to further problems). Use a good saline solution recommended by your vet, or purchase a pet eye wash. Make sure your own hands are clean when you begin cleaning.

Wipe each eye gently with moistened sterile gauze or eye wipe. Start on the inner corner of the eye and move outward toward the other side of the eye, using soft strokes. Wipe away discharge, making sure not to rub the gauze directly over the eye-ball. Use a separate gauze for the other eye.

If your dog has a lot of hair around his eyes, either comb it so the eyes are not obstructed, or trim it slightly to prevent irritation. ONLY use blunt-tipped scissors (that you can buy at your pet supply store), and wipe away the cut hair with a damp washcloth to prevent it from finding its way into the eyes.

What to Look Out for When Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes

How to clean a dogs eyesDogs’ eyes are sensitive and need a bit of extra care. Healthy eyes are clear, moist-looking and shiny, and the white of the eye is white, not yellow or red. Dogs can have normal discharge, often called “eye boogers.” It’s important to distinguish between these and other things that can affect the eyes, so be sure to check for the following:

  • Is your dog blinking excessively or pawing at his eyes? This could indicate an infection or other problem.
  • Is the eye red or swollen? Do your dog’s eyes look different than normal?
  • Do you notice pus or mucus around the eye? This could be from a cold, allergies or pinkeye. Or it could be a blocked tear duct or problem with the oil glands.
  • Is the nictitating membrane (third eyelid) visible? Is the cornea colored? Does your dog act like it’s painful when you touch his eyes?

Any of the scenarios painted above make the case for a precautionary visit to your veterinarian. When it involves irregularities with your dog’s eyes, hesitation is not your friend!

Causes of Dog Eye Stains

poodle with eye stainsIf your dog gets reddish brown stains that run from her eyes down her muzzle, she may have a condition sometimes called “poodle stains” or tear stains. These unsightly stains may occur in any dog, but it’s usually most visible in dogs that are white or have light-colored coats.

Following are some of the possible causes for these tear stains, according to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein:

Genetics

Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to tear stains, and some individual dogs may be predisposed to getting tear stains. Dogs that have shallow eye sockets and protruding eyes, such as the Pekingese, Maltese, pug and other short-nosed dogs, can suffer from excessive tearing. Poodles and cocker spaniels often are more likely to have blocked tear ducts. And these conditions can lead to chronic tearing that produces stains.

Porphyrin

This is a pigment that is excreted in tears, saliva and urine. The stain comes from some of the iron released from the breakdown of red blood cells that goes into porphyrin. It can leave a reddish-brown stain as it courses down the muzzle.

Problems with Lashes and Tear Ducts

If a dog’s eyelashes fold inward (entropion), it causes more tears than normal. And if a tear duct doesn’t properly drain into the nasal cavity, it gets clogged and may be the cause of tear stains.

Environment

It’s possible that some factors in your dog’s environment, such as high iron content in the water or reaction to plastic food bowls, can be the source of tear stains (sometimes actually being signs of allergic reactions).

Infection

Skin infections around the eyes can cause symptoms that look like tear stains. If your dog is tearing constantly, an infection may develop in the chronically damp area – you’ll get a hint if it smells bad, itches or looks irritated.

If you’re concerned about the cause(s) of your dog’s tear stains, make sure you ask your vet to weigh in – you may be able to remove the source of the irritation and eventually be stain-free.

How To Clean Dog Eyes Stains

Banixx Anti-Fungal Anti-Bacterial SprayGenerally speaking, Banixx Pet Care will do an excellent job at removing these stains. Simply apply Banixx liberally to sterile gauze and wipe these areas gently. Depending on severity, you may need to clean this area with Banixx every day, weekly or once a month – you are the best judge of how often to do this.

Banixx is proven safe to use around the eyes, and your dog will not react negatively, as it has no sting or scent to alarm him. Banixx is also very effective at healing skin infections that might develop as a result of the moist tears; it is very gentle and soothing on tissue but deadly to the yeast, bacteria and fungus that cause these infections.

Banixx is available in most pet stores and available online. Find Banixx Near You.

Conclusion

Whether your dog has an irritating eye condition or is just a normal pup with no major problems, take your dog to a vet for regular eye check-ups, and get into a regular routine for keeping their eyes clean.

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