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Cleaning your dog’s eyes: tips and tricks

Golden labrador getting eyes cleaned advice © Shutterstock

Whatever the breed, dogs have particularly sensitive eyes and this organ requires regular attention. It is therefore important to clean the dog's eyes regularly.

By Emilie Heyl

Amongst smaller dogs, the tear ducts of the dog’s eyes frequently become blocked, resulting in a leakage of tears at the corner of the eye along with a discoloration of hair.

The care you can provide for the dog’s eyes is only external, and therefore will only affect the cornea, conjunctiva and corners of the eyes.

Cleaning the Eyes

The products to be used to wash your dog’s eyes should only be dog-specific eye cleansing lotions or saline (a single dose can be easily transported and stored).

To avoid unpleasant streaks, the eyes should be cleaned every day with a compress soaked in an eye antiseptic - not a cotton pad that leaves filaments on the eyelashes.

To clean an eye, start from the inner corner (towards the nose) to the outer corner (towards the temple) to avoid bringing dirt back into the eye. In case of a conjunctivitis infection, it is necessary to cleanse before applying the treatment product. The effect of the active ingredient in the medication will be enhanced by prior cleaning. The use of eye drops when treating a dirty eye greatly reduces the effectiveness of the treatment.

For the regular cleaning of your pet's eyes, use a product designed for them, to limit any risk of irritation.

Dog eye care

1. Ground rules

  • Use a compress not cotton
  • Handle the animal correctly so as not to hurt it
  • Never treat a red or dirty eye alone

2. The pharmacy

  • Physiological serum
  • Compress
  • Antibiotic eye drops
  • Antiseptic eye drops

3. The different types of eye drop

  • Antiseptic
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-inflammatory

4. Application of the eye drops

  • Place the drops at the inner corner of the eye
  • Do not use it for more than 15 days
  • Do not apply eye drops without a precise diagnosis of the condition

5. Alarming signs in ophthalmology

  • Closed eyes
  • Purulent leak
  • Sudden pain

6. First steps

  • Clean the eye with saline solution
  • Cover it with a compress

Veterinarian's advice on how to properly clean your dog's eyes

Dr. Noémie Tommasini, Director and Trainer at the Ecole supérieure d'aides vétérinaires - Institut Bonaparte in Paris, explains how to clean your dog's eyes:

You will need:

  • An eye cleansing product for veterinary use
  • Compresses
  • A treat to reward your dog at the end

Do you have everything? Let's begin: place your dog comfortably on a table, on the floor or on your lap depending on their size.

2) With your non-dominant hand, open the eyelids. With your other hand, pour the cleanser over the eye without touching it. Open and close the eyelids with your fingers in order to distribute the cleanser evenly.  There is no risk of excessive dosage.

3) Close the eyelids and wipe off the excess cleanser with a compress. For this step avoid using cotton, as it can leave small filaments on the eye.

Did you succeed? The process is the same for the 2nd eye, don't forget the reward at the end.

To conclude: use a dog eye cleanser, open the eyelids, apply the product, open and close the eyelids, wipe and reward.

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