How to Clean an Infected Puppy Eye


Michelle asked: How do I clean matted hair around a dog’s eyes? My puppy has an infection in her eyes. We clean her eyes with a warm paper towel every two hours and get as much gunk out as we can. However, the hair around her eyes is matted, and we don’t know what to do to get rid of it. What will soften it and keep the hair around the eye from getting matted? She is a Shih Tzu puppy that’s 9 weeks old.

Cleaning an irritated, infected eye is a task that takes careful, gentle care. According to a local veterinarian, it is not wise to add any products to the fur as this may only irritate the eye further. Here are some cleaning methods that may help with the matted fur until the eye has a chance to heal.

You Will Need:

  • Warm water
  • Soft cloths
  • Gauze

Steps to Clean the Matted Fur:

  1. Begin by moistening a soft cloth with warm water. Do not make it too warm or it may cause discomfort. Lukewarm is sufficient for puppies.
  2. Carefully moisten the fur around the eye. Use caution not to bump the eye. If it’s infected, it will be sensitive, and you don’t want to risk hurting it further.
  3. Once the fur is moistened and the matted material has been softened, it may be able to be wiped away with a soft cloth. Gauze can also be used. It easily wraps around your finger to give you more accurate cleaning on the small, sensitive eye area.
  4. Remove as much of the gunk as possible. Do not scrub the area or overclean it.
  5. Frequent, quick cleanings are easier on the area. Avoid cleaning the area too much or it will only add to the irritation of the infection and the stress of your puppy.
  6. If it won’t come clean and it is causing additional irritation, return to your veterinarian for a more thorough cleaning and guidance on care.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Always use gentle strokes and take great caution not to scratch the eye.
  • If the matted fur won’t come clean right now, it’s okay. Once the eye is healed, the area will stop getting additional leakage on it, and it will be much easier to clean.
  • When in doubt, do not hesitate to contact your vet for assistance or guidance on the best care for your puppy.
  • Do not use any cleaning products on the eye that are not recommended by your vet.
  • If you have not already made a vet visit to get medications for the infection, that should be your first priority. Do not try to treat the infection on your own.

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