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Removing tear stains on dogs is a typical concern for pet owners, especially those with light-colored or white-coated breeds.
Tear stains are those brown or reddish-brown streaks that usually appear under a dog’s eyes.
Below, you may clearly see them on one among my former pet sitting clients, Husky Haley.
Haley wasn’t the one client pup who had tear stains, there have been a number of others too.
For instance, Bichon Frisés Ralphie and Tori, and Goldendoodle Lulu.
Thankfully, they were all successful in removing the tear stains on their dogs’ faces.
So on this blog post, I’ll share several approaches that helped!
What Causes Dog Tear Stains?
Let’s start by taking a look at what causes dog tear stains in the primary place.
In any case, it’s all the time easier to unravel an issue once we understand its underlying reasons, right?
Now, dog tear stains are brought on by a mixture of things, reminiscent of:
- Porphyrins in tears
- Shallow tear ducts
- Tear production
- Certain foods
- Facial folds
Porphyrins are naturally occurring compounds present in tears, saliva, and other body fluids.
When tears come into contact with dog fur, particularly light-colored fur, the porphyrins can react with light and oxidize.
This ends in a reddish-brown to dark-brown discoloration.
Shallow Dog Tear Ducts
Some dog breeds, especially those with brachycephalic (flat-faced) features, are inclined to have shallow tear ducts that don’t efficiently drain tears away from the eyes.
This can lead to tear overflow and marking.
Dog Tear Production
You almost certainly know that tears keep the eyes lubricated and free from debris.
Nonetheless, some dogs produce more tears than others.
Unfortunately, excessive tear production can overwhelm the drainage system, which ends up in an overflow of tears onto the fur across the eyes.
Some dog foods with artificial colorings, preservatives, or allergenic triggers can increase tear staining in dogs who’re sensitive to those ingredients.
Dogs with outstanding eyes, loose facial skin, or facial folds are inclined to be more vulnerable to tear staining.
That’s since the shape of their faces could cause tears to pool and remain within the fur across the eyes, which promotes staining.
Infections or Dog Allergies
Eye infections or environmental allergies can result in increased tear production in dogs and, in turn, contribute to tear staining.
Irritants and Tear Duct Blockages
Foreign substances, irritants, or blocked tear ducts can disrupt the traditional tear drainage process and result in tear staining.
Which Dog Breeds Are Known To Have Tear Stains?
All that said, the next dog breeds are known to be liable to tear stains:
Maltese and Shih Tzus are known for his or her long coats, which make tear stains more noticeable. The long, flowing hair around their eyes can trap tears and result in tear staining.
Pugs, English Bulldogs, Pekingese and Chihuahuas have flat faces (brachycephalic), which can even affect tear drainage.
Poodles, Bichons and Cocker Spaniels, especially those with light-colored coats, can even develop tear stains attributable to their tear production and curly coat across the eyes.
For English Bulldogs, it’s their facial folds that may contribute to tear staining because they collect moisture.
Natural Way To Remove Tear Stains On Dogs
Coming up, I’ll share a number of easy approaches that helped in for several of my clients.
Pictured below are two of my Bichon dog walking clients, Ralphie & Tori:
Step one in managing tear stains is to wash your dog’s face usually.
Use a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball to softly wipe away any tear residue.
This helps prevent the buildup of tear stains.
Check your dog’s eyes usually for signs of irritation, redness, or excessive tearing.
In the event you notice any issues, call your vet and schedule a visit to deal with the underlying problem promptly.
Trimming Facial Hair
Keep the hair around your dog’s eyes trimmed to assist reduce tear staining.
Longer facial hair tends to trap tears and moisture, which ends up in more noticeable tear stains.
Filtered, Clean Water
Make sure that your dog all the time has access to fresh, clean water.
Hydration is important for overall health, and it will possibly help dilute the tear fluid, which reduces the intensity of tear stains.
Also, try giving your dog filtered water!
Some dogs are sensitive to minerals and additives in tap water, which might contribute to tear staining.
Adjust Your Dog’s Food plan
Tear stains can sometimes be linked to a dog’s weight-reduction plan because some foods can exacerbate tear staining.
This was the issue for Bichon Frisés Ralphie and Tori!
As I already mentioned earlier, common culprits include foods with artificial coloring, soy, wheat, or corn.
The dry pet food that Ralphie and Tori ate after they had noticeable tear stains was crammed with them.
So their owners switched them to a much healthier, homemade pet food that consists of blending healthy proteins with so-called base mixes.
You possibly can read more about any such homemade pet food here.
Also, in case you suspect that your pup is sensitive to certain ingredients, try doing a dog sensitivity test with them.
I personally have had great success with the Glacier Peak Holistics Pet Wellness Life Stress Scan.
Granted, my pup Wally didn’t have any tear stains, but boy, was he itchy.
Seems he can’t have any chicken, quail, salmon or grains!
Stainless Steel Or Ceramic Bowls
Along the lines of allergies, some dogs can even have allergies to certain materials utilized in their food and water bowls.
That said, try switching to chrome steel bowls to see if it helps reduce tear staining.
Avoid Face Rubbing
Last but not least, attempt to stop your dog from excessively rubbing or scratching their face because this will irritate the attention area more and spread tear stains.
Every time you catch your dog beginning to rub their face, redirect their attention to a favourite toy, treat, or a fun activity to interrupt the habit.
You can even give them a mild face and head massages to scale back the urge to rub their face.
When you may’t actively supervise them, you may have them wear a snug cone for dogs.
It’s a much softer version of a rigid plastic e-cone.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Tear Stains?
Sometimes, tear staining in dogs is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition, reminiscent of allergies or a tear duct blockage.
If the tear staining is persistent or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, I like to recommend you seek the advice of your veterinarian for a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
They might recommend specific eye drops or medications to administer your pup’s tear production.
Specific eye drops helped my Husky client Haley after her owner took her in for a vet visit!
Best Product To Remove Tear Stains On Dogs
Coming up next, I’ll share a number of products that worked for several of my dog walking clients and their white dogs.
Nonetheless, please note that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution, and what works well for one dog may not work for one more.
That said, you could have to try a number of different options to seek out one which works to your pup.
Dog Tear Stain Wipes
Dog tear stain wipes are pre-moistened wipes specifically designed to softly clean the world around your dog’s eyes, removing tear stains.
Search for wipes which can be freed from harsh chemicals and fragrances to avoid irritation.
They worked well for my Goldendoodle client Lulu, pictured below!
Tear Stain Remover Solutions
Tear stain remover solutions are liquid solutions you may apply to a cotton ball or soft cloth to wipe away tear stains in your dog.
They contain mild cleansers or natural ingredients like aloe vera to interrupt down and take away the staining.
Tip: Avoid liquid tear stain removers with colloidal silver on the ingredient list as some dogs are allergic to silver.
It may also disrupt the natural balance of the dog’s skin microbiome.
Tear Stain Powders & Chews
Tear stain powders are often sprinkled onto a dog’s food and are available different flavors:
These powders contain natural ingredients like cranberry, oregon grape root and marshmallow root.
The tear stain chews contain similar ingredients, but you obviously don’t must mix them in together with your dog’s food.
You possibly can just offer them as treats.
Granted, not all white dogs get tear stains.
But tear staining is more common in white-coated breeds or dogs with light-colored fur because it’s simply more noticeable on their light-colored coats.
Also, certain breeds are more vulnerable to tear staining attributable to their physical characteristics.
For instance, dogs with flat faces (brachycephalic breeds) like Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, and Pugs are inclined to be more liable to tear staining because their tear ducts are sometimes shallow and may’t efficiently drain tears away from the eyes.
Once you select a tear stain removal product, consider the next:
- Safety: Search for products which can be specifically formulated for dogs and are secure to make use of around their eyes. Avoid products with harsh chemicals, artificial ingredients and colloidal silver.
- Veterinary Guidance: Before using any tear stain removal complement, it’s all the time a superb idea to seek the advice of together with your veterinarian, especially in case your pup is on specific meds. That way, you avoid risking any unwanted interactions between the 2 products.
- Consistency: Tear stain removal often requires consistent and regular application of the chosen product. Be patient and follow the beneficial usage instructions.
Do not forget that while tear stain removal products may help manage tear staining, they won’t eliminate the issue entirely.
Also, what works for one dog may not work for one more.
In some cases, tear staining may be related to an underlying medical issue, so addressing the foundation cause is important for effective management!
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