Preventing and Solving Dog Eye Problems


No matter the breed of dog, eye problems can become serious very quickly. No matter how clean or well-suited the environment, every dog needs regular eye cleanings. Preventing dog eye problems is a lot easier than solving them once they come up.

Preventing Dog Eye Problems

Dogs have tear ducts that work just like ours do – they flush out debris and lubricate the eye. Also just like our eyes, the result is a wad of gunk in the corners that must be cleaned out.

You should use a warm, damp cloth or cotton swab every day, and roll it away from the eye to gently remove this buildup. Do this softly and carefully, avoiding the eyeball itself as well as the delicate tissue inside the eyelid. If the buildup is dry and crusty, you should close your dog’s eye before applying the pressure necessary to remove it.

Some dog breeds have very hairy faces, and sometimes that hair will grow too close to the eye. This can cause dog eye problems, because the hair might prevent the eyes from doing their normal, automatic cleaning and flushing. Trim the bangs and other hairs that linger close to the eyes, but trim it carefully.

Never point scissors toward the dog’s eyes. Someone should hold your dog’s head still while you do this.

Dog Eye Problems – Protruding Eyes

Some breeds’ eyes will naturally “stick out” of the socket a bit. Those breeds are are at higher risk of dog eye problems simply because more of the eye is more vulnerable. An infection can even cause the eye to pop out of the socket. Products like Opticlear may be added to the daily maintenance in order to reduce these risks.


Dog Eye Problems – Tear Staining

Breeds that have beautiful white coats can wind up with dark stains below the eye. This is normal; the dirt and salt simply mar the beauty of the fur. There are products that can remove these stains, if you like.

If you use a tear stain remover, first wash the area with warm water, then trim the hair down, and finally follow the directions on the tear stain remover.

Dog Eye Problems – Other Advice


  1. Speak to your vet before dog eye problems arise. Ask the vet what kinds of eye problems your dog’s breed is prone to.
  2. You should keep a dog eye cleaning product on-hand at all times. You’ll want it in easy reach if something gets in his eye. In particular, you’ll want to do an eye flush after every grooming.
  3. There are lubricating products you can use before grooming to prevent dog eye problems. Dander, hair and grooming products will be flying everywhere during the grooming, and these lubricants prevent problems.
  4. If your dog’s daily eye discharges become strangely-colored, thick, or if there’s just a whole lot more of it than usual, you should take him to the vet for an eye test. This can be a sign of dog eye problems such as infection or a constricted or under-productive tear duct.
  5. Constant squinting and blinking, and constantly-running tear ducts, are a sign of a dog eye problem that should be investigated quickly, perhaps by your vet.
  6. Carefully inspect the eye surface itself on a regular basis so that you’ll notice any eye problems such as scratches, redness, and discoloration. Sometimes their third eyelid will stick-up in the corner. Eye problems like these warrant a trip to the veterinarian.

Return to the main dog training and ownership guide, or go back to the health care section.

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