How to Remove Dog Eye Boogers

how to remove dog eye boogers

How to remove dog eye boogers is an important topic every pet parent must address.

All dogs develop eye boogers or eye discharge to some extent.

The greyish-yellowish-whitish eye boogers present around your pet’s eyes in the morning are quite normal, but it is very important that you remove them regularly to prevent them from crusting and hardening.

When in excess, or when the eye boogers are reddish or greenish in color, or your pet is showing other signs or symptoms of eye abnormalities, then you must not hesitate to see your vet.

In this guide, we will discuss everything there is to know about dog eye boogers, the steps and products to remove and prevent them, and also understand when to see the doctor.

How to Remove Dog Eye Boogers

Here are the steps to remove different types of dog eye boogers:

For soft wet boogers

Step 1: Start with clean hands . You can also wear sterile gloves.

Step 2: Use moistened towel or a clean cotton swab or pet eye pads .

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Step 3: Wipe your pet’s eye with the towel/swab/pet eye pad. You can ease the process by gently tilting its head backwards.

Step 4: Clean both the eyes even if there is discharge only from one eye.

Make sure you treat your pet after wards so he looks forward to getting his eyes cleaned every day!

Optional: You can also use a dog eye cleaner solution for cleaning your pet’s eyes daily to remove soft wet boogers.  

Cliny Universal Pet Eye Cleaner for Dogs & Cats - Natural Gentle Eye Infection Treatment - Tear Stain & Dirt Crust and Discharge Remover - Prevents and Controls Irritation

Dog eye cleaners are made with non-irritating and natural ingredients like boric acid and silver ions. They prevent eye boogers by flushing out the dirt from the eyes.

To clean dog eye boogers using dog eye cleaner:

Step 1: To apply, take a bit of the solution on a clean cotton ball. Make sure the cotton ball is properly soaked with the solution.

Step 2: Tilt your pet’s head backwards. Apply the solution by gently wiping down the eye.

Step 3: Re-apply the solution once again using fresh cotton balls during the course of the day.

Step 4: You can use the solution daily or as instructed by your vet. This will prevent abnormal or excess eye boogers or discharge.

For soft and crusted boogers

We recommend the use of dog eye wipes for removing soft crusted boogers.

Never use baby or human wipes for cleaning your pet’s eyes when removing dog eye boogers.

Pet specific eye wipes are the best when it comes to removing crusted and/soft eye gunk from your dog’s eyes.

Check out our detailed article on Can You use Baby Wipes on Dogs as well as expert recommendations as to why you mustn’t.

Try out Arava Pet Eye Wipes which are aromatherapy medicated and free of chemicals.

Arava Pet Eye Wipes - for Dogs Cats Puppies & Kittens - 100 Count – Natural - 100% Biodegradable - Removes Dirt Crust and Discharge - Prevents Tear Stain Infections & Irritations - Soft & Gentle

They are formulated to remove tear stains, allergies, conjunctivitis, and other dog eye issues that cause boogers and discharge in dog eyes.

Step 1: To use, remove one wipe out of the box with clean hands. You can also use sterile gloves.

Step 2: Tilt your pet’s head backwards and gently wipe out the soft or crusted booger from your pet’s eyes.

Step 3: Use a fresh wipe to clean the other eye. Never use the same wipes as it could transmit germs and infections, if any, from the affected eye to the healthy eye.

Step 4: Discard all used wipes right away.

To remove hardened dog eye boogers

Dog eye crust is nothing but hardened eye boogers.

If you do not regularly clean your pet’s eyes, the boogers could form a crusty layer in the corners of the eyes.

You must not try to remove these crusts by hand.

Doing this could end up hurting your pet’s delicate eye.

Instead, use dog eye crust remover combs . These are specially defined combs that have soft bristles.

Bodhi Dog Tear Eye Stain Remover Combs | Set of 2 | Clean and Remove Crust, Mucus, Dirt, Buildup around Pet Eyes | Best for Dogs & Cats Fur and Coats

They remove hardened boogers, crusted eye discharge, mucus, and dirt from around your pet’s eyes.

An added advantage of using crust remover combs is that they also remove dog eye tear stains, ticks, and fleas near your pet’s eye and on its face.

Step 1: For hardened boogers, moisten the area first. You can use pet eye wipes or a moistened towel to soften the crust.

Step 2: Run the comb gently around your pet’s eye. Make sure your pet does not move its head while you groom it. Ask a family member to hold its head or distract it with scratching or a treat.

Step 3: Allow the comb to slide smoothly down the fur. As it does, it will also take out boogers with it without removing your pet’s fur.

Step 4: Repeat for the other eye.

Why Does My Dog Get Eye Boogers?

Eye boogers are common and also normal. Whitish, light yellow, and greyish boogers in small quantities in your dog’s eyes are nothing to worry about.

The common reasons behind eye boogers are listed below:

1. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis causes red, watery eyes along with a discharge that is sticky, yellow, and pus-like.

The causes of canine conjunctivitis include birth defects, trauma, entry of foreign objects, dust, allergens, mold, tear duct problems, and even certain cancers.

2. Excess tearing/epiphora

If your dog has excess tearing – a condition known as epiphora – then it could cause a sticky watery discharge along with tear stains.

Many factors cause canine epiphora: ulcers, allergens, tumors, eyelashes growing into the eyes, etc.

3.  Inadequate lubrication/dry eyes

If your dog does not produce enough tears – a condition called dry eye – then too it could suffer from excess eye discharge or eye boogers.

Causes of dry eyes in pets are injury, illness, trauma of the gland producing tears, corneal ulcers, etc.

4.  Glaucoma/eye pressure

Canine glaucoma causes an unnatural pressure in the eyes causing cloudy eyes, discharge, bulging of the eyes, and other issues.

This painful condition needs medicines as well as surgery for resolution.

Some dog breeds are genetically prone to eye discharge and excess eye boogers.

Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with faces that appear squashed in) such as pugs, bulldogs, boxers, etc. are prone to eye issues like entropion and tear duct drainage issues.

All these can also cause excess eye boogers.

How to Prevent Dog Eye Boogers?

A.  Practice good hygiene

Regularly wipe your pet’s eyes with eye pads/pet eye wipes.

You can use warm water compresses or eye cleaning solutions to clean your pet’s eyes every morning.

Burt's Bees for Pets Dogs Natural Eye Wash with Saline Solution | Eye Wash Drops for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz (FF4934)

B.  Inspect your pet’s eyes regularly

Always examine your pet’s eyes from time to time, especially during bath time and grooming.

It should have clear and bright eyes with a healthy and visible inner eyelid.

There should be no crusting, squinting, etc.

The eyelids inside the eye should be pinkish and not white or red.

If you observe any irregularities, have your vet examine your pet.

You can prevent many serious eye issues by catching them early.

C.  Keep irritants away

Keep your pet away from dust, allergens, mold, etc. as far as possible.

Avoid using products, flea/tick sprays, powders, deodorants, dog shampoos etc. that contain harsh ingredients which could lead to excess eye boogers.

If your pet has allergies, your vet might recommend a daily anti-allergen medicine. Use them as advised.

D. Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops

If your dog has chronic dry eyes, use lubricating eye drops or saline rinses daily or as advised by your vet.

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E. Trim and groom facial hair

In case of hairy breeds that have fur covering the entire face (Lhasa Apso, Cairn terriers, etc.) trim away excess facial hair to ensure that no stray hairs enter the eyes and hurt them.

You can also tie the hair in a top knot.

This can reduce the formation of eye boogers to a great extent.

How to Soften Eye Boogers?

Eye boogers or eye gunk can harden and form a thick crust which is difficult to remove.

Here are some ways to soften crusty or hardened eye boogers:

1.  Use warm water compress

Step 1: Dip a clean and soft flannel cloth or towel in hot water. Wring out the excess water.

Step 2: Test the temperature of the compress – it should not be too hot – and gently press it down on your pet’s eye.

Leave it on for a few seconds (most dogs won’t cooperate when you do this).

However, a few seconds is all it takes to soften the crust. (If your pet won’t let you do this step, distract it by scratching under its ears or giving it a snack or chew treat).

Step 3: You can use the same cloth to wipe the corners of the eyes and pull away the softened gunk or rheum with it. Wipe it away from your dog’s cheeks as well.

Step 4: Repeat the procedure for the other eye as well.

Step 5: Praise your pet and offer it a treat after the cleaning procedure.

2.  Use pre-moistened pet eye pads

Pet eye wipes like Arava Pet Eye Wipes and eye cleansing pads are often pre-moistened which helps remove crusted and hardened eye boogers.

Arava Pet Eye Wipes - for Dogs Cats Puppies & Kittens - 100 Count – Natural - 100% Biodegradable - Removes Dirt Crust and Discharge - Prevents Tear Stain Infections & Irritations - Soft & Gentle

Step 1: With clean hands, remove one wipe or pad from the packet. You can wear disposable gloves too.

Step 2: Distract your pet with a treat or ear scratching while you use the wipe on the corners of its eyes.

You will need to use several eye pads or wipes if the gunk is crusted or hard.

Step 3: Repeat the procedure for the other eye as well.

Praise your pet and offer it a treat after the cleaning procedure.

3. Use eye cleaning solutions

Dog eye cleaner solution is specially formulated to remove hardened crusty boogers.

Cliny Universal Pet Eye Cleaner for Dogs & Cats - Natural Gentle Eye Infection Treatment - Tear Stain & Dirt Crust and Discharge Remover - Prevents and Controls Irritation

Step 1: With clean hands, saturate a sterile eye cleansing pad or a cotton ball with the lotion/solution.

Step 2: Gently wipe down your pet’s eye using the cleansing pad/cotton ball. Move from the outside to the inner corner of the eye as this will remove the boogers much more easily. Repeat this step if there is a lot of gunk.

Step 3: Repeat the above steps for the other eye.

Praise your pet and offer it a treat after the cleaning procedure.

Your pet will blink to spread the solution throughout the eyes. The solution will flush out dirt and also soften existing crusty boogers on its way out.

How to Clean Puppy Eye Boogers

The problem with puppies is that they don’t sit still while getting their eyes cleaned.

The procedure for cleaning puppy eye boogers is more or less the same but the key is to get your puppy to sit still.

Step 1:  Try to tire your puppy out by playing with it first. You can schedule the eye cleaning after its walk or training session.

Step 2: Give your pet a chew treat or a toy . It is easier to clean out its eye boogers while it is distracted.

Step 3: If needed, get a family member to hold your pup still when you clean its eyes in order to prevent hurting it.

Step 4: Use pet eye wipes or dog eye cleansing pads to clean your puppy’s eye boogers.

As far as possible, avoid using scissors or grooming combs as they could hurt your wriggling puppy.

Step 5: In case of hardened crust, try bathing your puppy’s eyes with warm water which will remove the crusted boogers with ease.

Step 6: Don’t forget to treat your puppy after daily eye cleaning routine.

(Get your pet used to grooming from an early age so it won’t trouble you when you groom it in adulthood!)

When Should You Worry About Dog Eye Boogers?

You should not hesitate to contact your vet when your dog has colored eye discharge – yellow, red, or green.

If your pet is constantly pawing or scratching its eye, then too, it could be a serious infection that needs a vet’s examination.

Other times to take eye boogers seriously is when your pet has different sized pupils, is blinking excessively, has red inner eyelids, or is squinting.

Do Dog Eye Boogers Lead to Tear Stains?

The same conditions that cause excess eye boogers and eye discharge in dogs could also cause tear stains. This includes conjunctivitis, glaucoma, eye ulcers, eye and ear infections, allergies, etc.

Yes, eye boogers can lead to eye stains which are brownish stains near the dog’s inner eye corners. They are more prominently visible in dogs having lightly colored fur.

How to remove dog tear stains

Use the same steps for removing dog eye boogers to clear away dog tear stains:

  • Use saline flush or pet eyewash solution or pet eye wipes treated with special ingredients like aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, etc.
  • Keep your pet’s facial fur trimmed.
  • Wipe away the stains regularly with a cotton ball soaked in diluted food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
  • Feed your pet a healthy diet and special dog food for tear stains prevention.

Is it Normal for my Dog to have Boogers near its Eyes?

A small amount of white to greyish eye discharge in the morning is normal in dogs.

However, if the eye discharge continues throughout the day, is red/yellow/green in color, or forms hardened crusts that seal its eye shut, then you must see your vet right away.

Don’t worry: most cases of eye discharge can be treated using antibiotics or eye drops.

Do not procrastinate in seeing a vet as you can prevent many serious eye complications if you catch them early on.

Conclusion – How to Remove Dog Eye Boogers

How to remove dog eye boogers is an important question to address.

Dog eye boogers are normal to an extent and you can easily clean them using pet eye wipes or a moistened towels or warm compresses.

You can also use special eye cleaning solutions to address the issue.

If the eye boogers seem excessive, are colored, or are accompanied by changes in your pet’s eyes, please see a vet right away.

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