About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cleaning crusted eyes

I get a lot of dogs in with eye crust under their eyes.
Most of that eye crust is from the eyes draining.
On 90% of them I am able to soften the crust in the tub during the bath, and can pick all of the softened crust off.

One day I noticed that the eyes of a Maltese I was grooming were infected.
The Vet gave the owners medicine for the eyes.
I do not know what kind of medicine it was, but the stuff was like cement on the dogs hair and skin.
I think that the owners missed getting the medicine in the eyes most of the time.

For the last few months this little Maltese has been coming in with a major amount of cemented medicine a round her eyes.
Believe me, she did not want anyone fooling with her eyes.
A few times, I have had to send her home with some of the cemented medicine still stuck to her eyes.
The stuff was like a scab on her skin that would not soften or pull away enough to get under it, to cut it off.

The last time she was in, I spent 25 minutes letting her eyes soak in medicated shampoo, and trying to get her to trust me enough to fool with her eyes.
It took time for her to realize that I was not going to hurt her.
For the first time since they had been using this eye medicine, I was able to get her eyes 95% clear.
The Maltese's eyes have finally cleared up, but there was still a lot of cemented eye crust a round her eyes.

I have never seen eye crust like this.

It will not soften in the bath no matter how long you let it soak.

It clings to the skin like a tight scab.

Most of the crust that I could not get the last time had grown out with the hair.

 Once again, I soaked the crust around the eyes with medicated shampoo.

She was much more excepting about me fooling with her eyes this time.

I let her face soak while I soaped up the rest of her.

I was able to lift most of the cement like crust up and away from her skin just enough to scissor.

I don't usually scissor around the eyes when the dog is in the tub and wet, but I have learned that this stuff, if it dries even a little, becomes rock hard again.

I still had to be very careful that the crust would not pull the skin up into my scissors as I was cutting.

Once I scissored all of the crust I could, safely, I let her face soak in medicated shampoo again.

This is her after the bath.
Once again, I got most of the crust.

She still has a few little pieces of the cement crust here and there around her eyes.
I will have to get that the next time, after her hair grows out more.

The owners are finished with the cement medicine, but now they have to put other drops in her eyes.

I have tried to show them how to work with her eyes several times, but they always say that she fights too much.

Hopefully the drops won't make such a mess of her eyes too.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I would not use medicated shampoo anywhere near my dog's eyes. When we were away on a trip my dog stayed in the Kennel. She had lots of fleas so they decided to give her a bath with flea shampoo the day I picked her up. That night she scratched her eyes so bad that she got a corneal ulcer. The flea shampoo was highly irritating and they got it in her eyes. We had 3 different eye drops to give her and she had to wear a collar because of this for weeks. We were using Frontline Plus which did nothing for the fleas. The vet recommended Comfortis pills - taken once a month. Funny because the insturctions say the fleas would start dying in 30 minutes and be gone in 4 hours. THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, my dog no longer has ANY fleas. VERY THANKFUL!!!

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    I am very sorry about your experience with the kennel. Unfortunately, with some kennels, the people that bath the dogs are not professional groomers, but actually just kennel helpers. Sadly these people are not always taught safe bathing.
    We have a Self-Serve dog wash in our shop, and it always shocks me when I see an owner rubbing shampoo all over their dogs face and eyes without even trying to keep the shampoo out of the eyes.
    I have been grooming for 28 years and can honestly say that I have not had any problems with using any kind of shampoo around the eyes.
    I am not saying that I haven't ever had a dog get shampoo in the eyes. It has accidentally happened. BUT, the eyes are quickly flushed well. This has always stop any further problems. I have even had dogs splash all kinds of shampoos into my eyes.
    I was not there, but it is a possibility that the bather didn't even realize that shampoo had gotten into the eyes. Maybe, they also were not taught what to do if shampoo did get into the eyes, and that is sad. IF they did know, you should have been told immediately, so that your Vet could have given you drops to keep her from ever getting the ulcer.
    When bathing a dog or a cat that has fleas, you MUST use the shampoo everywhere. Fleas will craw into a dogs ears and eyes to get away from the shampoo. A bather should constantly be aware of what is going on with the dog. If flea shampoo got into your dogs eyes, the eyes should have been flushed immediately.
    I have been using Medicated shampoo on dogs faces for 28 years and I am VERY careful NOT to get it into the eyes.
    Once again, I am very sorry that your dog had to experience an ulcer.
    I am glad your Vet recommended Comfortis to you. I have been using it with my dogs for awhile now.

  3. Hello, can I ask the blogger what kind of medicated shampoo you used. My dog was cut by a groomer before with scissors and is really aggressive with everyone but me and my immediate family. My dog is a morkie and has this similar problem. Allotted I can get the name of the shampoo you used and take the steps you took to help free up my dog

    1. Hi,
      If your dog only has crust under the eyes that you are trying to remove and there are no sores or irritation around the eyes, you can give your dog a bath as you usually do. What you want to do is wet down the face and around the eyes to get the dry crust to soften up. This can usually be done without getting any shampoo near the eyes. Run some water gently over the eyes every couple of minutes till you feel the crust soften and loosen up.
      If once you have removed the crust build up, you notice a sore or irritation, you can very carefully rub some medicated shampoo on that area and then very gently rinse. The medicated shampoo that I use is Mediceptic by Ring5. Be very careful not to get any shampoo in the eyes.

  4. Thank you very much I greatly appreciate it!!! :)

  5. Thank you for such an excellent article. It explains how I am going to remove all the crusty gunk from the eyes of my miniature poodle. Just in case there are other readers who have had a similar problem to mine, two years ago 'Maggie' had an operation on both eyes as a result of severe 'dry eye', a problem that many pet owners won't detect until sometimes it's too late. The Vet opined that it was probably caused by a knock or a hit on the head. The surgery involves redirecting one of the salivary glands on each side of the face to the dog's eyes so they can once again produce tears. Unfortunately, even though the surgery solves one problem, it creates another, in that your dog is salivating from the eyes when they are hungry. The saliva runs down the face and becomes hardened over time if not removed. Often the saliva hits the floor and it can become problematic when your dog is laying down on carpeted/tiled/hardwood floors. After the surgery, two or three different type of medicated drops are prescribed which also adds to the crustiness around the eyes and I agree with your description that it is almost like cement and virtually impossible to remove, esp if left for any length of time. Fortunately I have her groomed on a regular basis and my groomer is able to remove the build up, but it doesn't take long to form again so your column is very timely. Thanks again for the great advice.

  6. If there is irritation under the eye when the gunk is removed should you let a scab form, or continue to wipe it every day to prevent build up again?

    1. Hi,
      If it were my dog, depending on how bad the sore is, I would try to keep it clean by very gently cleaning the sore everyday.
      If the sore is not getting better after a couple of days, or is bad to begin with I would see my Vet for medicine.
      Lisa, MFF

  7. I have poodle shitzu mix that has been on Inhalers. The masks fits over her nose, but also the hair around her eyes/ nose. She wouldn't allow me to clean, and. on one side is hard as cement. went i raise marr, there is a ton of dark brown smelly moisture under there. This has to come off! Any advice? She is 15 y/o, and has collaping trachea, so i use extreme caution to make sure her airway is not comporomise. i just feel like I few snips and i could remove this monter, and let underlying area be exposed for cleaning. Thank you.

    1. i have a shih tzu with the crusty eyes in summer when he gets allergy eye drops. i got rid of the crust with wetting it with a warm wet cloth......then i took some of his other antibiodic eye ointment on a q tip and put some of that on the areas that were sore from the crustiness. next time he needs drops im not using those allergy type. i will put in the Neo Poly Bac ointment which is the name of the anti biodic ointment. he seemed to feel soothing from that. he will get a bath here soon. but for now at least his eyes are comfortable. that's terrible to leave that on the eye area. the delicate skin gets very irritated from that. asking the vet about using the neo poly bac all the time and no o ther type product for the eyes.

  8. Hi there, I have a white Pomeranian who has tear staining and I leaves crusts under her eyes, I'm sooo scared of hurting her. What's the easiest way of getting them off and keeping it clean please??