Cleaning Your Pet’s Eyes

poor eys

poor eyes

How often you will need to look at cleaning your pet’s eyes will be largely dependent on their breed.

Some pets are more likely to be affected by eye discharge, whereas this will only happen to many breeds when something is amiss.

Here is our guide to cleaning your pet’s eyes and when there is cause to consult your vet.


Your dog’s eyes are very sensitive so you will need to take care when cleaning them. Many dog breeds will not need to have their eyes cleaned regularly and this will only need to be done if they have developed an infection.

Discharge from the eyes can indicate infection if it accompanied by redness, cloudiness and inflammation. If you suspect that your dog may have an eye infection, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Do NOT try to clean your dog’s eyes without medical advice.

However, some dog breeds are more prone to experiencing discharge from the eyes and this is by no means unusual. This includes pugs, bulldogs and Pekingese due to their protruding eyes being less protected by their face.

Dogs with light coloured coats can get “tear stains” in which water from the eyes tints the fur brown or red. Poodles, cocker spaniels and Shih Tzus are commonly affected by this . Their coarse fur will often irritate the eyes and increase the amount of discharge from the eyes. These breeds often lack the ability to properly drain liquid from the tear ducts. The resulting “tear stains” can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes

A damp cloth should be used for cleaning your dog’s eyes. Cotton wool and cotton buds are not recommended as they can increase irritation.

Gently wipe around your dog’s eyes and follow this up with a gentle clean of the eyes (while they are open). Be very careful here so that you do not accidentally scratch their eyes. A damp cloth should be more than adequate; a dripping cloth will allow too much water to get into your dog’s eyes.

Monthly eye cleanses can get rid of mucus, which could otherwise breed bacteria and increase the possibility of eye infections.

Trimming hair around your dog’s eyes can help to prevent irritation and stop bacteria from getting in.

Speak to your vet if you are not sure which eye care products would work best for your dog.


Some cat breeds are more prone to eye problems, including Persians. This is often because there is only a short gap between the tear ducts and the nose, which encourages liquid to spill out onto the fur as a “tear stain”.

If you notice that your cat is suddenly experiencing irritated eyes, get in touch with your vet as soon as possible. There are a number of factors that could be to blame and it’s important to pinpoint the true cause. Eye problems can potentially lead to serious complications such as blindness so it’s always better to be cautious.

Potential causes can include:

  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Inflammation or injury to the cornea
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Uveitis (a serious and painful inflammation of the eye)
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Allergies

Clean your cat’s eyes using a clean, soft and damp cloth. Rub this across the lower eyelid but take care not to make contact with the eyeball itself. This process will usually need to be repeated several times to fully remove eye matter.

Avoid using eye drops or eye washes unless they have specifically been prescribed by your vet.

[Photo Credit: vivianejl]