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My Dog Can’t Open Eyes After Grooming: (What To Do)

Have you recently taken your furry friend to the groomer’s, only to find out they can’t open their eyes afterwards?

While it may cause concern, this situation can be handled promptly with the right knowledge and care.

In this article, we’ll explore why this might be happening and provide practical steps on what to do about it.

dog cant open eye after grooming

Signs That It’s Not Serious ✅

Here are a few signs that your dog’s eye problem might not be serious:

  • Your dog is able to open its eyes partially or fully after a few hours.
  • The eyes are clear, with no redness or discharge.
  • Your dog seems to behave normally and doesn’t appear to be in pain.

Signs That It IS Something Serious ❌

However, there are also signs that it’s a serious issue that requires immediate veterinary attention:

  • Your dog’s eyes remain closed for several hours or even a day.
  • There’s continuous discharge from the eyes.
  • The dog is constantly pawing at its eyes or shows signs of discomfort or pain.
  • The eyes are red, swollen, or have a cloudy appearance.

6 Reasons Why Your Dog Can’t Open Their Eyes After Grooming

When it comes to reasons why your dog may be experiencing eye discomfort or difficulty in opening their eyes after a grooming session, several factors can come into play:

1. Foreign Object in the Eye:

The grooming process involves trimming hair, clipping nails, and sometimes even a bit of tidying up around your pet’s surroundings. During this process, small particles like dirt, debris, or even a loose hair might inadvertently end up in your dog’s eyes. These foreign objects can cause discomfort, leading your dog to keep its eyes closed to minimize irritation. In some cases, they might also paw at their eyes or blink excessively.

2. Soap or Shampoo in the Eyes:

During the grooming process, it’s common for some shampoo or soap to accidentally get into your dog’s eyes. These substances are often harsh and not meant for sensitive eye tissues, leading to irritation, discomfort, and an instinctive desire for your dog to keep their eyes shut to protect them from further discomfort. These symptoms are usually temporary and should improve once the irritant is thoroughly flushed out.

3. Stress or Anxiety:

Grooming can be a stressful experience for many dogs. The loud noises, unfamiliar environment, and handling by strangers can induce anxiety. Some dogs may react by closing their eyes tightly, even after the grooming session is over. It’s a protective behavior that helps them deal with the perceived threat. Helping your dog relax and reassuring them that they’re safe could help ease this problem.

4. Allergic Reactions:

Dogs, like humans, can be allergic to certain substances. If a product used during the grooming process – such as a certain shampoo, conditioner, or even a grooming spray – triggers an allergic reaction, it can result in symptoms including itchiness, redness, and swelling of the eyes. This may cause your dog to instinctively keep their eyes closed. In such cases, it’s crucial to identify the allergen and avoid its use in future grooming sessions.

5. Physical Trauma:

This is less common, but can’t be ruled out entirely. If a grooming session involves rough handling, or if tools like shears or clippers come into contact with your dog’s eyes, it could cause injury. This is a serious issue and may require immediate medical attention to prevent complications.

6. Glaucoma:

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can affect dogs. It occurs when there’s an increase in pressure within the eye, leading to discomfort, redness, and potentially loss of vision if left untreated. While it’s not directly caused by grooming, it’s possible for the stress of grooming to exacerbate the symptoms of a dog already suffering from this condition. It’s also important to note that glaucoma can cause a noticeable enlargement or bulging of the affected eye, and it may appear cloudy or bluish.

Extra information: MSD Veterinary Manual

How To Safely Check Your Dog’s Eyes

Checking your dog’s eyes at home requires a gentle and careful approach. If they seem to allow you to get close to their eyes, then try to check. If they are highly defensive or aggressive, then do not force it.

  • Ensure your hands are clean before touching your dog’s face. This can help prevent any further irritation or infection.
  • Calmly talk to your dog to ease their anxiety. Dogs can sense your emotions, so maintaining a calm and soothing demeanor can help your dog feel safe and relaxed.
  • Gently lift the upper eyelid using your thumb while supporting the lower lid with your other fingers. Be gentle as you do this; the skin around the eyes is very delicate.
  • Look for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. Any of these symptoms could indicate an issue.

Moreover, it’s crucial to check for any foreign objects. If your dog’s eyes are watering excessively or if they are blinking more than usual, it might be a sign that something is stuck in their eyes.

In a well-lit area, gently pull down your dog’s lower eyelid and look for any dirt, debris, or hair.

If you spot anything, use a wet cotton ball or an eye rinse to try and gently flush it out.

Remember, if you’re not successful in removing the object or if your dog appears to be in pain, don’t force it. Instead, reach out to your vet for professional help

Best Steps Owners Should Take For Immediate Relief

If your dog can’t open its eyes after grooming, here’s what you can do for immediate relief:

  • Clean the Eyes: Use a soft, wet cloth or a pet eye wipe to gently clean the area around your dog’s eyes. Be sure to avoid touching the eyeballs directly.
  • Use Saline Solution: A sterile saline solution can help flush out any irritants from your dog’s eyes. Use it with a dropper and aim it towards the corner of your dog’s eye.
  • Use Over-the-Counter Eye Drops: These can provide temporary relief. But remember, they’re not a long-term solution. Always consult with your vet before using any medication.

And of course, if the situation seems bad, or your dog is in pain, waste no time in going to your local veterinarian.

Can Dogs Get Eye Infections From Grooming?

Yes, dogs can get eye infections from grooming.

Infections can occur if grooming tools aren’t cleaned properly or if your dog has an allergic reaction to the products used.

If your dog’s eyes are red, swollen, and have a discharge even after a couple of days post-grooming, they may have an infection.

When To Visit a Vet

If your dog shows any signs that it might be a serious issue, it’s best to take them to a vet immediately. Timely veterinary care can prevent further complications and provide your dog with the best chance of a full recovery.

Seek help from your vet when:

  • Your dog seems to be in pain
  • Your dog is in extreme discomfort
  • The eye does not improve after a few hours
  • The eye is very red and continously getting worse
  • The eye is inflamed or swollen
  • The eye is discharging or leaking
  • Your dog cannot stop pawing at it

In times like this, it’s clear that extra assistance will be needed, so we recommend at least calling your vet first to see what they say. In most cases, they’ll need you to bring the dog to them in that moment.

Eye Care Tips & Grooming For Dogs

To prevent eye issues post-grooming, consider these tips:

  • Ask your groomer to use tearless shampoo.
  • Ensure that your groomer cleans their tools thoroughly between grooming sessions.
  • If your dog has shown signs of allergies, try to identify the allergens and ask the groomer to avoid those products.
  • Regularly check your dog’s eyes for any signs of irritation or infection.


  • Q: Can grooming cause permanent damage to my dog’s eyes?
    • A: In most cases, no. However, if rough handling or sharp tools cause physical trauma, it could potentially lead to serious issues.
  • Q: How can I reduce my dog’s stress during grooming sessions?
    • A: Use calming aids, keep your dog familiar with grooming processes, and choose a trusted groomer who uses gentle techniques.
  • Q: How long should I wait before taking my dog to a vet?
    • A: If your dog’s symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, or if they’re in pain, it’s best to consult with a vet immediately.

Last Thoughts

Dealing with a dog that can’t open its eyes after grooming can be a stressful situation.

However, understanding why it’s happening and knowing the right steps to take can help alleviate your worries.

Always remember that, when in doubt, it’s best to seek professional help. Early detection and treatment can go a long way in ensuring your dog’s eye health.

Keep an eye (no pun intended!) on your beloved pet and ensure they’re comfortable and happy at all times.

With the right care and attention, your pup should be back to their bright-eyed self in no time!

Here are some trusted veterinary websites where you can find valuable information about issues related to your dog’s eye health:

  1. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) AVMA is one of the leading authorities in veterinary medicine. Their website provides a wealth of resources and advice about various pet health issues, including those related to the eyes.
  2. VCA VCA Hospitals provide detailed information on a wide range of pet health issues. They also have articles written by professionals in the field discussing eye health in dogs.
  3. PetMD offers an extensive library of pet health information, including a variety of articles on dog eye problems, their causes, symptoms, and treatments.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.