How Do I Clean My Shih Tzu Eyes? – A Helpful Guide

It’s very important that you keep your Shih Tzu’s eyes clean to keep away any infections but how easy is it?

How Do I Clean My Shih Tzu Eyes? Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes can be done with some clean warm water, some sterile solution and some baby shampoo. Our simple step by step guide will run you through the process in this free helpful guide.

Today I am here to show you how to clean a Shih Tzu eyes. You can do this with any dog that has a lot of tear stains and get a lot of gook in their eyes that you want to cleanout.

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What To Use To Clean My Shih Tzu’s Eyes

 What Can I Use To Clean My Shih Tzu's Eyes?
What Can I Use To Clean My Shih Tzu’s Eyes?

What you are going to need is two bowls of water and some sterile solution, which is a contact solution but you don’t want anything extra in it.

The next item you need is some baby shampoo, that way, if it gets in your Shih Tzu’s eyes it doesn’t burn. You will also need some paper towels and a couple of cloth face towels.

Take one of the bowls of water and add some baby shampoo, swish it around to mix in the shampoo with the water. Put the bowl to one side but don’t mix it up with the second bowl of clean water.

The easiest way to do this is to use the sterile solution first to wash out the eyes, depending on the size of the bottle you purchased you might want to put the solution into a smaller bottle to make it easier to handle around your dog’s eyes.

The last thing you want is to injure your dog’s eyes because you can’t hold the bottle correctly.

Start by slowly pouring the sterile solution onto the area just below the eyes, right on the stained area just below the eye.

Pour a few drops of the solution then use one of the paper towels to clean any boogers away from the eyes. Start by wiping away from the eye so that and gook is wiped away from the eye rather than into the eye.

If you notice it’s going to go into their mouth use paper towels to clean it away as it can taste nasty.

Repeat until you see all the dirt has been removed, please note this will not clean away any tear staining, but it will clean away and dirt that has collected around the eyes.

The last thing you should do is take a clean paper towel and soak it in some plain warm water, use the towel to wipe below the eye right onto the tear stains.

You can clean away a lot of the gook from under the eye with plain warm water but if the gook is matted into the fur you might need to use clippers to cut away the fur.

The next thing you can do is to take one of the cloth face towels and dip it into the water that contains the baby shampoo. Start again by wiping the stained area below the eyes pushing away from the eyes.

You want to make sure you use the baby shampoos and then if it gets in their eyes it’s not going to burn them.

While you have the wet cloth with the shampoo added to you wash the rest of the face to help keep the eyes clean.

Next, soak the second face towel into the bowl of water that doesn’t contain and shampoo, rinse out and excess water then wipe around the eyes and face to clean any excess shampoo.

Finally, you can use a hairdryer or dry face cloth to dry your dog’s face leaving it clean and fresh.

Doing this will clean your dog’s eyes and face stopping any potential infections.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Eyes?

You need to clean their eyes every single day without fail, you cannot go more than a day to properly clean the face if not two or three times a day and that takes a lot of discipline to do that.

I wake up 30 to 45 minutes early every morning just to clean her face and do her morning routine, so it really does take a big effort.

Why Do Shih Tzu Eyes Smell?

If you’re cleaning it properly you should have no smell, and if you’re cleaning it often enough you should have no smell at all.

The smell comes from the yeast. What happens is the eyes tear and if it stays wet yeast grows and yeast smells. It smells very musky, it has a disgusting odor to it so if you are having that yeasty problem with the smell then you need to clean it a little bit better or maybe change up the products that you’re using.

What Causes Tear Stains in My Shih Tzu?

What Causes Tear Stains in Shih Tzu?
What Causes Tear Stains in Shih Tzu?

Tear staining is one of the things that I get asked about most frequently and it is a subject that I have poured myself into for many many years. Owning quite a few different short nose breeds I have encountered tearing in most of my dogs.

I’ve learned a few things and I wanted to share what I’ve learned in hopes that maybe it can help some of you.

First of all, with any short-nosed breed, you’re going to have tearing, it’s just the nature of the shape of the face. Water cannot run uphill, so if the nose is pushed in flat, that plumbing kind of gets a little skewed so the tears don’t necessarily run down the pipes.

The nose is a little bit higher than their eyes so it’s natural for them to tear because water can’t go uphill. It’s not that it’s noticeably higher than their eyes it’s just the shape of their face.

There are some things that we can do to alleviate the staining and there are also some things that we all need to be checking out that are causing the staining.

The first cause of tearing as I said is just the shape of the dog’s face. Some dogs, no matter what you do they’re going to tear. Those tears are going to spill out onto the face because the tears are not going to go down the plumbing, or what is called the tear ducts.

That could be one cause and if that is the case there is nothing that you can do other than to control the staining that happens on the face which I will tell you about in a little bit.

The next cause that could be a reason why your Shih Tzu could be tearing is it could be that they have some internal eyelashes, either at the bottom or at the top, this is called distichia.

I believe that any dog who is tearing should see a veterinary ophthalmologist, don’t just blow it off and say he is normal.

I think that you should just have a visit with your veterinary ophthalmologist first, make sure that there are no underlying causes for the tearing that could be fixed.

Things like ingrowing eyelashes can eventually cause problems such as corneal ulcers if those eyelashes are rubbing against the cornea.

It creates an erosion of the cornea and that’s a very serious problem that can cause blindness. I think you should definitely rule out anything like that and make a trip to a specialist, which is called a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Distichia can be fixed and they do that with a surgery called cryotherapy, it’s where they freeze the follicles of the eyelashes that are coming in from inside of the eye causing some irritation, which could possibly be causing tearing.

With that surgery you can lose pigment in the eyelid margin so if that’s important to you, you need to be aware of that. However, most of the time the pigment does come back.

If you see that your dog is squinting then it could be the eyelashes that are causing some irritation. I suggest you visit a veterinary ophthalmologist every six months I think would be good so twice a year to get those little eyeballs checked out.

Another cause of tearing is something that is called epiphora, epiphora is excessive tear production. They can check the tear production by putting little strips in your dog’s eye and it can tell them whether or not your dog has excessive tearing, or if it’s just normal tearing and also it can detect if your dog has dry eye.

Believe it or not, dry eye is another cause of tearing. You would think that dry eye we’re not going to produce tears but it’s actually the opposite. Sometimes where the eye overcompensates it produces a lot of tears to try and wet and coat the eye, so that’s another cause.

So we have distichia, we have dry eye, we have excessive tearing just an overproduction of tears, we have the shape of the face which you can’t really do anything about that, and then there’s something called entropion.

Entropion is an inner rolling of the eyelid. It can happen anywhere on the eyelid, it rolls in and rubs against the eye, which causes irritation, which causes tearing so that could be an issue.

Then you have allergies and allergies just like if you think of humans, and if you think of if you have allergies yourself and it’s hay fever season your eyes water well, that could be the same for dogs.

They could have allergies which can produce the extra tearing, so those are kind of the main problems that could cost tearing for your Shih Tzu.

How to Keep My Shih Tzu Eyes Clean

One of the things that I do want to mention is that you should be giving your dog filtered water only. Minerals and iron that are in tap water could cause some staining, so if you give filtered water that can help.

If you have a long-coated breed using a water bottle instead of water bowls can be very very helpful to keeping that face dry, the main thing that you want to do is to keep the face dry.

I had someone comment the other day that said:

What do I do my dog’s face stinks and I’m constantly cleaning it?”

Okay, so my Shih Tzu tears and her face does not smell at all. So my advice to this subscriber was that even though you think that you are cleaning it constantly, either you need to clean it a little better and learn the techniques to clean it thoroughly, or you are not cleaning their eyes enough.

You can also buy wipes, I think they’re called duo Pro or something like that it is the same thing as the malleus sub wipes but it’s a little bit gentler, gentler because you’re going near the eyes.

You can get them on Amazon. They won’t get rid of the stain because it’s not meant to get rid of the staining but it will get rid of the smell.

Another thing you can do is to put artificial tears in an ointment available from Amazon I got this advice from another Shizue owner and I just started it and I really do think that this helps. I usually put the ointment in once or twice a day, usually in the morning and it always at nighttime.

Sometimes in the morning, I do it, sometimes not, but always at nighttime. What I think this does is it just coats the eye and protects it against dust and every pollutant that we have around.

I think that is a very important thing that you can do if you’re having the tearing so try that artificial tears ointment.

There is a product called Occubright and you can also get that on Amazon. This is a chew that I give to my Shih Tzu every day and it is just to prevent the staining.

It works by changing the pH of the tears or something like that. Now I will tell you that it does contain an antibiotic. I know that some people would never use an antibiotic every day on my pet and that is your opinion, but this product came highly recommended by her veterinary ophthalmologist specialist.

The reason why I am okay with this is yes it is an antibiotic, but it is an antibiotic that is used never in our pets, so it is something that used to be used years and years ago but now they don’t use this antibiotic anymore.

You might be concerned that your pet will get immune to the antibiotic, and then if they have an infection they won’t be able to fight the infection because they’re going to be immune to it, that’s not true.

Yes, it is true if you were giving another type of antibiotic that you would normally use for things that our pets would need an antibiotic for, but this is an antibiotic that is not widely used and also it’s a very very minute amount.

I know that this is a personal decision and if you don’t agree with the decision then don’t use it but I use it and I don’t use it all the time.

I will do it in spurts, so I will give it for a month or two and then I will stop it for a month or so, and then I’ll start it back up again because I want to give them that little bit of a break in between.

I find that it works better that way, I have found that it does work and if it’s working for me and my veterinary ophthalmologist recommends it and I did research on it myself I’m okay with it.

Like I said, keep that face very very dry throughout the day and that will prevent the staining. If the fur stays dry it can’t really stain but if you have a pet that tears a lot, believe me, it’s hard.

Even with all that I do, I have staining, but you can prevent it as much as possible or try and reduce it as much as possible by keeping the face nice and dry throughout the day.

You really need to make sure that you are cleaning the face really good and drying the face really good and making sure that drying powder is in any kind of folds because that can cause an infection.

I know that a lot of groomers and veterinarian suggests that you cut away the hair in that area so that you can prevent infections, personally I am NOT going to do that because I’m diligent with her face cleanings and keeping it dry.

I realize not everybody can do this, it’s hard but I don’t have any young children at home and so I can devote the time to it.

I understand if you have young children at home and you’re busy and you just cannot do it, then if you need to clip away the hair in the corners of the eyes to keep that area clean and dry, then that’s what you need to do.

As I said, everyone needs to do what they need to do for their own particular pet so I think that covers everything I wanted to give you guys.

This overview goes through what causes tearing and what causes the staining, which I know I said but if I didn’t say it I will it again, the staining is caused by the wetness sitting on the fur.

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