My dog has terrible eye allergies. Every day during the spring, summer, and fall, his eyes produce a thick, sticky mucus. If I don't take care of it, the hair around his eyes sticks together over the eye and his eyes develop a smokey like appearance, indicating an infection. The veterinarian and the dog eye specialist both prescribed medication, but nothing is as effective as cleaning my dog's eyes daily. After years of care, here is my advice on how to clean eye gook from your dog's eyes.
Tire out your dog. Yes, take your dog for a long walk before doing this. A dog is always easier to work with when his energy level is low.
Figure out the right amount of pressure to use. Using your own hand, wipe your own closed eye, from the inside corner by your nose to the outside corner. Do this several times until you get a feel for what amount of pressure and speed feels the most comfortable. It may even feel like a massage if you do it properly. You will be doing the same motion on your dog's eye.
Take one or two towels and soak them in lukewarm water. The towels should be dripping wet after soaking. You might want to put them on a small dish to catch the water or keep a small bowl of warm water beside you. As for what type of towel to use, well, I prefer shop towels, since they are soft and don't fall apart when wet.
Have your dog lie on one side, preferably with one side of his head against the ground and the other facing up.
Take the sopping wet towel and very gently wipe the dog's eye (make sure his eye is closed!) in one direction over and over again, going from the inside corner (near the snout) to the outside corner (nearer the ear). Repeat this motion over and over again, allowing the water to saturate the gook. As the eye gook gets wet, it will break loosen from the hair and skin around the eye and be pulled away by your motion. If the towel gets dry or too dirty, get a new well-soaked towel and continue. Remember to be very gentle. Never pull, tug, force, or press to hard. Patience will triumph over all eye gook.
Some bits of eye gook might require the use of your fingers to slide them off or to break them apart. Don't pull the gook off. Use a very soft touch an try to break the crumb of gook in place, and resume using the towel to saturate it with water as you wipe in the same direction, from inside corner to outside corner. Again, rely on patience and persistence. Do not use strength or force.
After completing one eye, have your dog turn over and repeat steps 5 and 6.