By Honor Tarpenning, NextDayPets.com Staff
Tear stains are a common issue among many light colored and toy dogs. The first step towards ridding your dog of tear stains is to pinpoint the cause. Once you know why your dog is getting tear stains, you can get rid of the problem, clean the stains, and move on.
The main cause of tear stains is excess tearing. The moisture as a result of excess tearing collects around the eye making it a prime location for the growth of bacteria and yeast. Most of the reddish-brown stains one sees on dog’s faces is due to ptyrosporin, or red yeast.
The causes of excessive tearing can be genetic. The shape of the dog’s head and eyes can contribute to blockage of the tear ducts and an overflow of tears onto the hair around the eye. This problem can be passed from parents to their offspring. In this case one must be diligent and keep up with staining by using tear stain cleaners.
Hair in the dog’s eye can easily contribute to irritation and excess tearing. Trim the hair around the eyes and you’ll probably see an improvement. Too much hair around the eyes will also wick moisture from the eyes and make the problem worse.
If there is a high mineral content in the water your dog drinks, you might find staining on much of your dog’s face. Switch to filtered or bottled water to reduce staining from mineral-heavy water. Also, feeding your dog out of stainless steel bowls, rather than ceramic or plastic will help with facial staining. Stainless steel is easier to clean and less likely to develop scratches and cracks that harbor bacteria. Whatever bowl with which you choose to feed, make sure you wash it regularly.
Use great care when shampooing your dog. Shampoo and other chemicals that find their way into your dog’s eyes can contribute to excess tearing.
Some believe that feeding a natural, dry kibble with no food coloring, preservatives or additives will help tear and face staining. You can also try adding white vinegar to your dog’s water, this is believed to reduce tear staining by changing the pH of your dog’s tears.
Fleas also contribute to tear stains. Fleas need moisture to survive. When your dog is experiencing excessive tearing, there is plenty of moisture around the eyes. This attracts fleas which then leave behind waste, staining the area.
Extreme ear and eye infections can also cause excessive tearing. If your dog has not experienced tear stains in the past, and is presently tear stained, see your vet. Your vet will be able to help you ascertain the cause of staining and possibly recommend a prescription antibiotic to stop the problem at the source.
The following products are widely used to either prevent or remove tear stains:
-Angels’ Eyes Tear Stain Eliminator
-Around Eye Pet Swabs
-Four Paws Crystal Eye
-Pretty Eyes Tear Stain Remover
-Spa Fresh Facial Scrub and Tear Stain Remover
-Tear Stain Prevention Supplement
-Tear Stain Removing Eye Pads
-Tear Stain Pet Guard Swabs