Dogs that have lighter coats or white coats, such as the Bichon Frise, are more prone to develop those distracting, red-brownish tear stains underneath their eyes at some point in their lives. These tear stains are not only isolated to the undereye region, they can also appear around the dog’s muzzle and in between the dog’s toes. There are many things that may cause or contribute to the formation of these unsightly stains; among these causes are health issues, blocked tear ducts, eye infections, the shape of the dog’s eye, teething, and seasonal allergies. Below we will further discuss some of these common causes.
Causes Of Tear Stains In Dogs
Eye Infection: Eye infections have been known to cause a surplus of tear production within dogs. This can lead to the appearance of tear stains and bacterial infections within the dog due to the excess moisture that is being created. If you notice that the tear stains on your dog are brownish or rust-colored, it may be a sign that your dog is suffering from a yeast infection or fungal infection on its skin. These infections thrive in environments that are moist and continue to build up until the infection is properly treated.
If you notice that your dog is suffering from discoloration in its tear stains and other symptoms of eye infections such as redness, excessive itching, and discomfort, you should seek the help of a veterinarian for your dog to receive proper treatment and prevent further infection.
Allergies: There are many allergens that may cause your dog to develop tear stains. These allergens include pollen, dust, smoke, certain cleaning products, seasonal irritants, and environmental irritants. You may notice if your dog is suffering from allergies or immune response has been triggered due to allergens that it has watery eyes and itchy skin. If your dog is experiencing symptoms of allergies, you should take him to the vet in order to receive proper treatment. Your vet will likely prescribe an allergy medication to prevent adverse allergy symptoms within your dog.
The Shape of Eye and Eye Socket: Brachycephalic dog breeds (Pugs, Shih Tzus, Boxers, Bulldogs, etc.) have very broad and short skulls that create shallow eye sockets within the dog. Due to the dog having shallow eye sockets, they have a harder time draining tears out of their tear ducts in an efficient manner. This is especially the case when the dog’s eyes are irritated. This typically causes blocked ducts and other eye problems.
Long Hair Around the Eye: If your dog has long hair that curls towards its eyes, it can cause the tears that your dog produces to travel down the dog’s face, thus causing tear stains to form. Additionally, long hair around your dog’s eyes can also block the dog’s tear ducts; this prevents tears from following their natural channels down the dog’s throat. If your dog has long hair, regular cleaning is essential to prevent its tear ducts from becoming blocked and preventing unwanted infections.
Poor Diet: A lot of the cheap dog food that is found in department stores contains fillers and preservatives that are harmful to the health of your canine companion. Additionally, even some water contains contaminants and high amounts of iron which can cause increased staining around your dog’s eyes. If you believe that your dog’s diet is causing tear stains, you should start offering your dog healthier options compared to cheap dog food.
Natural Products to Remove Tear Stains
Hydrogen Peroxide: This method of tear stain removal requires you to soak a cotton pad in hydrogen peroxide that has been diluted with water. This mixture should roughly be one part hydrogen peroxide and ten parts water. Then, apply this mixture very carefully to the stained region and clean the area. If you use this method, it is important to take your time and be careful as you do not want to get any of the hydrogen peroxide mixture in your dog’s eye. Hydrogen peroxide can also be substituted with apple cider vinegar.
Milk of Magnesia: Mix together equal parts of milk of magnesia and hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Then, add a little bit of cornstarch to turn the mixture into a paste. Rub this paste into the area that is stained and let it sit for about four hours before washing it off of your dog. To prevent your dog from searching the past off, you may have to place an e-collar on him.
In addition to the above methods, your local pet supply store should also carry a variety of herbal and natural tear stain removers for dogs. It is important to be careful when applying anything around the dog’s eye to avoid unwanted injury to the dog. You can always take your dog to the groomer if you do not trust yourself to apply the solution.
When it comes to removing tears stains from your dog, the best method is to thoroughly clean the area often, preventing the stain from setting in. To do this, you will need to purchase a tear stain remover that you can apply on a regular schedule to your dog’s undereye region to prevent stains from forming. These removers typically come in liquid, powder, paste, or wipe form.
The method you choose depends on your dog’s situation and your personal preference. Liquid removers are best for softening crust that has dried around the dog’s eyes. A paste remover is best for preventing and fighting bacteria in your dog’s under-eye region. Wipes are best used for removing the gunk that has built up around your dog’s eyes as it allows you to be more accurate in your cleaning.
The above methods are great at removing and lightening stains on your dog; however, if you want to ensure that your dog remains tear-stain-free, you need to engage in preventative behavior. Below, we will discuss some steps that you can take to ensure that your dog remains free of tear stains in the future.
Prevent Tear Stains In Dogs
One thing that all dog owners will attest to is that tears stains on light-colored dogs are very stubborn and difficult to prevent and remove. If you are not taking action to address the root cause of the tear stain in your dog, wiping and cleaning the area will only serve as a temporary solution. Addressing the root cause of the issue is essential!
Diet: Do you know what you are feeding your dog on a daily basis? If you are purchasing cheap food for your dog to eat, it is likely full of cheap carbohydrate fillers, nasty chemical flavor additives, artificial colors, and meat by-products. The combination of these harmful ingredients can overwhelm your dog’s system and can worsen the formation of tear stains on your dog’s undereye region. If you are feeding your dog cheap food that is full of harmful ingredients, it is time to make the switch to a more natural and healthy diet. You should consider switching to a BARF diet or whole food diet to promote optimal health within your dog and prevent unwanted side effects.
Water: If you live in an area that has hard water and notice that there are tea-colored rings around your drains, you should consider giving your dog different water to drink. It is best to provide your dog with pure filtered water to prevent tear stains and unwanted health issues. Filtered water also removes harmful chlorine and other toxins that can be harmful to the health of your dog.
Long Hair: Is your dog’s hair long around its eyes? If this is the case, you should trim your dog’s eye region to help remove unwanted tear stains and prevent them from forming in the future. If you do not feel comfortable cutting your dog’s hair, it is best to seek the help of a tested groomer. They are trained to do this type of work. Going to the groomer one or two times in between your dog’s regular grooming for face trims can help prevent the formation of tear stains. In addition, keep your dog’s face as dry as possible and clean the undereye region twice a day to prevent the formation of tear stains.
If your dog continues to suffer from excessive tear staining, you should take him to the vet to rule out any other underlying health conditions. This will ensure your dog remains both happy and healthy!