Shampoo in Dog’s Eyes: Is It Harmful & What to Do

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Do you dread bath time with your dog due to the risk of shampoo getting in their eyes? Are you worried about the potential harm it could cause? We understand your concerns.

The Short Answer

Shampoo getting into your dog’s eyes can indeed cause discomfort and irritation. Some products, particularly those not specifically designed for dogs, can have chemicals or pH levels that can sting their eyes. However, with careful handling and the right products, you can greatly reduce this risk.

This short and simple guide can help you understand the risks, identify symptoms, and take preventative measures. Ready to be your dog’s bathing-time hero? Let’s dive in!

brown dog with shampoo on their head and eyes

Can Shampoos Cause Eye Irritation in Dogs?

Yes, indeed, they can.

Shampoos, especially those not specifically formulated for dogs, contain various chemicals that can cause irritation if they come in contact with your dog’s eyes.

These can range from mild discomfort to a painful stinging sensation that can distress your pooch. Many human shampoos and even some dog shampoos have pH levels that are not compatible with your dog’s eyes, leading to the said discomfort.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a one-off problem, as frequent exposure to harsh shampoos could potentially lead to chronic eye issues. It’s crucial, then, to be picky with the products you use and to be careful during bath time

How Long Does the Discomfort Last?

Typically, if a dog gets shampoo in their eyes, the discomfort could last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the shampoo’s harshness and the amount that made its way into the eyes.

During this time, your dog might paw at their eyes, blink excessively, or have redness and watering eyes. If these symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian as there may be more serious issues at hand.

You’d do anything for your furry friend’s comfort, right? So, keep a close eye on them post-bath and provide immediate relief if needed.

Can Shampoo Cause Eye Infection in Dogs?

Shampoo in your dog’s eyes doesn’t usually cause an infection directly. However, it can lead to circumstances that favor an infection. How so?

When shampoo causes irritation, your dog is likely to rub its eyes repeatedly. This can cause minor scratches on the cornea – the eye’s clear surface. If not addressed promptly, these scratches can become gateways for bacteria and result in an eye infection.

Moreover, certain harsh shampoos might upset the natural balance of bacteria in your dog’s eyes, further promoting infection. So, yes, in an indirect way, shampoo in your dog’s eyes could potentially lead to infection.

But don’t stress! By using dog-friendly products, like Earthbath All Natural pet shampoo, and following some simple precautions during bath time, you can easily prevent this.

Related: Choosing the Right Dog Shampoo

brown chihuahua with shampoo on its head

How to Safely Rinse Your Dog’s Eyes

Here’s a step-by-step guide to safely rinse your dog’s eyes if they get shampoo in them:

  1. Keep Calm. Your dog can sense your stress. So, stay calm and reassure your pet with gentle strokes and a soft voice. This will make your job easier.
  2. Use Clean Water. Make sure the water you use to rinse your dog’s eyes is clean. Lukewarm water is ideal as it’s less likely to startle your pet.
  3. Soft Cloth or Cotton Ball. Dampen a soft cloth or cotton ball with clean water and gently wipe the eye area, starting from the inner corner and moving outward. This helps to remove any shampoo residue.
  4. Rinsing. If a significant amount of shampoo has entered the eye, you might need to rinse the eye more thoroughly. Hold your dog’s eye open gently and pour a thin stream of clean water over it. Be sure not to touch the eyeball itself.
  5. Dry Gently. Pat the area around your dog’s eyes gently with a dry, soft towel.
  6. Watch For Signs of Discomfort. After you’ve rinsed the eyes, monitor your dog for any ongoing signs of discomfort. If symptoms persist for a day, take your pooch to the vet.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By being mindful during bath time, you can greatly reduce the chances of shampoo getting into your dog’s eyes in the first place.

Recommended Safe Shampoos for Your Dog

Choosing the right shampoo for your dog plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of eye irritation. Here are a few dog-friendly shampoos that you might want to consider:

  1. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo. This shampoo is biodegradable and cruelty-free. It comes in a variety of natural scents and is soap-free to minimize eye irritation.
  2. Burt’s Bees for Dogs Natural Shampoo. Made with natural ingredients, Burt’s Bees shampoo is pH balanced specifically for dogs, reducing the risk of eye and skin irritation.
  3. Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo. This shampoo is recommended for dogs with allergies and sensitive skin. It’s soap-free, making it gentle on your dog’s eyes.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and tools to protect your dog’s eyes from shampoo irritation, remember, your gentle touch and attention to detail are what make the difference. 

Ensuring your dog’s comfort and health is a team effort between you and your selected products. Trust in your abilities, your dog trusts in you!

Related: Guide to Dog Skin Issues with Tips


How can I clean my dog’s eyes safely after shampoo gets in?

The safest way to clean your dog’s eyes after shampoo exposure is to gently rinse the eyes with clean, lukewarm water. A soft cloth or cotton ball can be used to gently wipe the area starting from the inner corner of the eye and moving outward.

What to do if my dog’s eye irritation persists after shampoo gets in?

If your dog’s eye irritation persists after shampoo exposure, it’s recommended to visit your veterinarian. Persistent irritation could signal a minor corneal scratch or other issue that needs professional attention.

Are there dog-specific shampoos that are safer for their eyes?

Yes, dog-specific shampoos are generally formulated to be gentler and safer for their eyes. Products labeled as “tear-free” or “hypoallergenic” are typically a safer choice for your pet’s eyes.

What are the signs of an eye infection in my dog caused by shampoo?

Signs of an eye infection in your dog can include persistent redness, swelling, excessive tearing, pus or discharge, squinting, and your dog pawing at its eye. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your vet promptly.

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