How to Clean Matted Puppy Eyes

by Mary Lougee
    What's that they say about a basketful of puppies?

    What's that they say about a basketful of puppies?

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    Foreign matter, a stray eyelash and environmental allergies are some of the things that can cause weeping, runny eyes, sealing them shut with mats. Cleaning your furry friend's eyes the right way causes no undue stress on him and removes the irritants that cause mats. Removing mats allows the eyes to drain through the tear ducts properly, promoting good vision.

    Step 1

    Place a washcloth in warm running water and wring it out partially to leave it wet but not dripping wet. Place your puppy on your lap and hold the warm washcloth on his affected eye or eyes. Soothe him to keep him calm and still for a few minutes. Offer treats if necessary to keep him still. A warm compress soothes matted eyes and loosens the gunk that glues them together, making the mats easier and less painful to remove.

    Step 2

    Place your puppy on an elevated surface such as a counter or a table. Puppies tend to keep still and wiggle less if they are on a higher surface.

    Step 3

    Dip an antiseptic cotton ball into a bowl of warm water. Hold your puppy’s face under his chin and stand directly in front of him. Wipe the damp cotton ball on one matted eye gently, starting from the inside of the eye to the outside. If your puppy is moving his head to avoid you, gently hold his head still with your hand around his snout. Take care not to touch his eyeball with the cotton ball. Cotton ball fibers will cause further irritation and can scratch his eyeball.

    Step 4

    Dispose of the cotton ball and dampen a new one. Repeat wiping his eye gently until the eye matter is removed and he can open his eye. Wipe underneath the eye with a new damp cotton ball to remove any matter that is left behind.

    Step 5

    Clean the second matted eye using the same process as for the first eye.

    Step 6

    Squirt saline solution into each eye to help cleanse any matter that remains in the lower eyelid. Gently pull down the lower lid to make a pocket and dispense the saline solution into the pocket. Saline solution works as eyewash to remove gunk, eyelashes and other foreign objects that may be causing the matting.

    Step 7

    Wipe his face under his eyes with a dry washcloth to prevent an abundance of moisture that could lead to mats in fur and possibly a skin infection. Give your fur ball a puppy treat for his patience.

    Items You Will Need

    • Washcloth
    • Antiseptic cotton balls
    • Bowl
    • Warm water
    • Saline solution
    • Soft washcloth
    • Puppy treats
    • Blunt scissors (optional)


    • Praise your puppy while you are cleaning his eyes and tell him what a good boy he is. He may be upset as you clean his eyes if the mats are dried and thick, gluing his eyes closed.
    • Clean puppy eye mats throughout the day as needed to keep his eyes open and bright.
    • Trim some of the hair from around his eyes with blunt scissors if he has long hair that is matting together from the eye matter and his eyelashes.


    • Use antiseptic cotton balls from a resealable package to avoid infecting your furry baby’s eyes with germs.
    • If your puppy’s eyes do not remain clear after about two days of cleaning them, make an appointment with your veterinarian to secure other treatment. He may need antibiotic eye drops or ointment to cure an infection.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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