The cocker spaniel's drooping lower eyelid gives your pooch his especially doleful expression. However, the loose skin is more susceptible to catching foreign particles, causing the secretion of white or clear discharge. Cleaning under your cocker's eyes every day will prevent the discharge from hardening on his fur.
Wet a clean washcloth with warm tap water and squeeze out the excess moisture so the cloth doesn't drip water in your cocker spaniel's eyes. Always use a soft rag or terrycloth, never paper towels or napkins, which are painfully rough against his face and can accidentally scratch your cocker's eye. Have your cocker spaniel on a table or ledge where you can contain his movement while wiping his eyes clean.
Wipe the discharge under each eye using the corner of the warm washcloth. Even if the discharge isn't completely crusty, if it has begun to harden, gently press the warm washcloth over the affected area for 10 seconds before wiping your dog's face. This will soften the discharge and make it easier to remove. After 10 seconds, wipe the discharge away with a clean corner of the washcloth. Toss the washcloth in the laundry when finished.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the opposite eye with a separate clean washcloth. Even if your cocker spaniel is in good health, using a separate washcloth for each eye prevents the spread of harmful bacteria from the infected eye to the healthy one.
- To remove the dark tear stains on cocker spaniels with light fur, use room-temperature distilled water instead of warm tap water.
- Make cleaning your cocker spaniel's eyes a part of your morning routine, since discharge is heaviest at this time.
- If the eye discharge is crusty and the hair on your cocker spaniel's face is more than a half-inch long, take him to the groomer for professional eye cleaning. Trying to scrape hardened eye discharge off long fur will result in your tearing out chunks of your cocker spaniel's fur.
- Take your cocker to the vet immediately if the discharge under his eyes is any other color besides clear or white, or if you notice an unpleasant odor or swelling around his eye.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.