How to Clean Around a Puppy's Eyes

5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day


Maddie's 16 week old Bichon Frise puppy has brown discoloration at the corner of each eye. Maddie takes her pup to the vet and her dog gets a clean bill of health: no eye infection. However, natural eye discharge that sometimes occurs in dogs, and especially puppies, can result in unsightly discoloration and crusties around your puppy's eyes. Although some discharge can be the result of infections or allergies, mucus and tears can occur from wind or debris irritating the eyes. Sometimes hair around your puppy's eyes can become matted as a result of contact with natural tears and eye discharge drying on the hair. You will want to clean around your puppy's eyes to remove discharge and matted hair or any other dirt, debris or contaminants that end up in this area. This can be a bit of a challenge, as puppies are notoriously wiggly and this is a delicate area to work in.

Dog's Perspective

Your puppy may have a hard time keeping still, most puppies do, but if you are going to clean around his delicate eye area you'll want to contain him so he does not move, causing you to poke him in the eye or contaminate the eye surface with cleaning tools or solutions. Also, your puppy is naturally protective of his delicate eyes, and may be resistant to you working around his face. To successfully clean around your puppy's eyes you will need to work carefully and keep your pup still.

Caution & Considerations

  • When working with scissors around your puppy's eyes, make sure your puppy is not going to move suddenly and hold scissors parallel to the skin with blunt ends pointed away from the eye.
  • When working with cloths or combs around your puppy's eyes, be careful not to poke the eyes, which could cause injury or contaminate eyes with debris.
  • If your puppy has colored, smelly, or excessive discharge from the eye, consult a veterinarian, as eye infections or allergies may be a contributing factor.
  • Use an assistant, or tire puppy out before eye cleaning so he is more likely to stay still and avoid accidentally getting a cloth or grooming tool in the eye.


Puppies like to get into all sorts of things. If your puppy has just buried his face in something noxious and needs his face and eye area cleaned or if he has discharge, either from an allergy, infection or just natural tears staining or matting hair around the face, you will need to clean around your puppy's eyes. The problem is, your puppy may not be too cooperative about staying still while you work around this delicate area. Try tiring him out or have a family member or friend hold or distract your puppy so you don't accidentally poke or contaminate his eyes while cleaning the area. Use warm water or saline on a clean cloth, cotton ball or gauze to wipe the area. If there is crust or mats, dampen the area and allow to soften before cleaning. Trimming hair in this area is also useful to keep the area clean, but be very careful when trimming hair around your puppy's eyes. Be sure your puppy stays still, use blunt-ended scissors, and hold puppy still so that your dog does not experience injury.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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