How to Groom a Dog's Eyes

Easy
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Many smaller breed dogs like the Shih Tzu, Terriers, Maltese, and Lhasa Apso have extra-long facial hair that tends to grow around and over their eyes. Knowing how to keep this hair trimmed back out of the way can save you a lot of money at the groomers, and is important for your pup's eye health. On top of this, imagine how hard it is for your pup to walk around when he can't see through the hair over his eyes. It takes a little practice to master this skill, but in time you will be able to trim the hair around your pup's eyes in less than five minutes. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog really hates having all that hair getting in his eyes. Not only does it block his vision, but it can keep scratching at his eyes, causing painful irritation. If you don't catch this problem early, the hair could easily damage his eyes, requiring medical treatment for problems like infection or scratched corneas. Do your dog a favor and keep the hair around his eye trimmed back on a regular basis. 

The Brush First Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Scissors
Comb
Step
1
Brush his eye hairs
Using a boar hair brush, gently brush the hair around your pup's eyes to remove any dirt or tangles. This is a good time to go slow and take your time. The better you brush it out the easier it will be for you to trim it properly. The gentler you are, the less excited your pup will get, reducing the risk of trimming his eye hair crooked and causing injury.
Step
2
Meet the shears
Bring the shears up to where your pup can see them and give him time to get used to them. One trick is to gently lay them on the top of his snout, rubbing them and praising your dog the whole time. You can give him a treat when he stops fussing over them.
Step
3
Across the forehead
Starting with a pair of straight shears, cut from one side of his forehead in a straight line all the way across to the other side. Take your time, go slow, and make sure the line you cut is nice and straight. Take a break, give your dog a treat and lots of praise.
Step
4
Across the bottom
Using a pair of thinning shears, trim any excess hair under his eyes by cutting from one side over the top of the bridge of his nose and working your way in from the other side. The thinning shears will give your dog's hair a smoother line.
Step
5
Finish up on the sides
Use the thinning shears to trim around the sides of his eyes. The idea is to trim all the hair around his eyes far enough back that it stays out of his eyes, but not so far back that it looks ridiculous. It may take you several attempts to perfect your trimming skills, but your pup is patient and won't mind a few mistakes along the way.
Recommend grooming method?

The Cover-Up Method

Effective
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Scissors
Comb
Step
1
Exercise first
To help your dog remain calmer while you trim his eye hair back, start out by taking him for a nice, long walk. This will help tire him out and give him time to do his business before you get down to your own business. If possible, make it a nice long walk so he is very relaxed and calm when you get home.
Step
2
Cover up time
Using the hand that won't be wielding the shears, cover your pup's eyes by placing this hand over them, but under the top fringe of hair that needs to be trimmed back. This will help keep him from getting excited while you are trimming the hair and will help you cut a much straighter line. Use straight edge safety shears for this step to avoid the risk of injury, plus straight edge shears will cut a nice straight line.
Step
3
Use your fingers
Fluff out the hair over his eyes using a comb or brush and then use the fingers of the hand covering his eyes as a guide, cut across from one side to the other slowly and gently. Remember to keep his eyes covered during this to help keep him nice and calm. In the event he starts to struggle, stop, take your hand off his eyes, and give him time to become relaxed again. Then continue the process.
Step
4
It's all in the eyebrows
This one is a bit tougher as you need to hold the eye to be trimmed closed with one finger and the other one closed with your palm. Now using safety, scissors trim his eyebrows so they are out of his eyes. You really need to take your time here as you are working very close to your pup's eyes.
Step
5
Finish up across the bottom
If your pup is one that has hair growing up from the bottom of his eyes, this will need to be trimmed too. Again, use one hand to cover his eyes and protect them, start on one side and cut across, over the nose, and all the way to the other side. Once you are done, be sure to give him lots of praise and, of course, his favorite treats.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Extra care is needed when using any kind of shears around your pup's eyes to help avoid injury.

  • If your pup starts to jerk his head around, you can try using a firmer grip, but you may find giving him a break and then letting him spend more time getting used to the shears is more effective.

  • Always use safety shears with rounded tips as those with pointed tips can cause serious injury.

  • Keep plenty of treats on hand to reward him for remaining calm.

  • Be patient and take your time, this will help your pup to remain calm and make it easier for you to do a good job.

  • If after you have tried walking your dog to calm him down, giving him lots of time to get used to the shears, and using plenty of treats and praise, he still won't calm down enough to trim around his eyes, talk to your vet. He may be able to provide you with a mild sedative you can use until your pup gets used to having this done. 

Conclusion

You need to keep the hair trimmed back out of his eyes on a regular basis. You also need your pup to understand he needs to be calm while you do so. Not only will this help your dog to see where he is going, but it will also help reduce excess tearing that can cause staining and prevent injuries to his eyes. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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