Are you a pet owner? If so, have you ever observed those unpleasant brown and red spots under your dog’s eyes? Those are tear stains caused by various things and can cause significant problems in the future for your dog if left without care, like an infection under the eye. But don’t be stressed; a few ways can help you remove your dog’s stain.
Tear stains are very common in dogs, especially those with long hair and light-colored coats. Tear stains may first appear as a little patch of wet fur under the dog’s eye, and it may not seem very harmful, but when they develop over time, they begin to irritate the skin your dog, infect it, and may even be unpleasant.
Keeping an eye on your dog’s health and identifying the problems initially can be a great way to keep your dog healthy. You take steps to maintain its hygiene. In this article, we explore the causes of tear stains in dogs and what steps we can take to get rid of them so that you can keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best.
What Is Dog Tear Stain?
Dogs’ tear stains are the unsightly brown streaks that run down from the inner corners of your dog’s eye to its face. They are caused by a buildup of pigments in tears and are mainly in three colors: reddish, brown, and dark black. They are not harmful at their initial stage, but they can be if you ignore them for longer.
If you notice tears forming on your dog’s face, there are some special wipes you can use to remove them immediately. With a little care, you can keep your dog healthy while making them look clean and bright.
Causes Of Tear Stain On Your Dog’s Face
There are several causes of dog tear stains, which may be due to underlying medical issues.
If your dog is allergic to something, whether the allergy is caused by food or the environment, like dust and pollen, it may always have watery eyes, which lead to tearing up and staining.
Infected Eyes Or Any Eye Disease
Tear stains can cause eye infections and diseases. If the stains are brown, your dog may suffer from an infection that can become major eye diseases like glaucoma, conjunctivitis, cataracts, etc.
If you observe that your dog is continuously scratching its eyes and has a brown stain, take him to the vet for a check-up immediately.
Poor hygiene is one of the most common causes of dog tear stains. If the environment around your dog is mainly unhygienic and its face is not kept clean, it can develop dirt on the face. Further, it results in a blocked tear duct leading them to spill on the front.
Poor Quality Food
Tear stains may appear if your dog consumes a lot of processed food, chemicals, and other unhealthy ingredients. These ingredients may irritate and inflame your dog’s eye, resulting in stains.
Puppies are born with milk teeth, and within 3–4 months of age, they start falling out and being replaced by adult teeth. As it is a painful process for puppies, they generally rub their faces on different objects and feel discomfort. It can lead to red and brown tear stains.
Blocked Tear Ducts
Tear ducts are responsible for draining tears from the eye. Therefore, when they become blocked, tears can accumulate and cause staining under the eye. Your dog will always have watery eyes if its tear ducts are blocked.
6 Ways To Remove Your Dog’s Tear Stains On His Face
Before jumping on a lot of chemicals, try natural ways that will help you remove your dog’s tear stains from its face. You can try using eye wipes and washing their face with warm water if they have stubborn stains. There are many ways to remove tear stains at home, and here are some of them.
1. Remove The Hair From Your Dog’s Eyes
Removing hair from around your dog’s eyes can be great if you want to get rid of tear stains. This will help prevent further staining, allow for quick removal of stained hair, and make cleaning the area easier. But be sure to trim carefully so you don’t harm your furry friend.
Once you are done with the hair removal process, you can use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to remove permanent stains. If your dog has stubborn stains, you may need to use the mixture several times, and if you don’t want to use hydrogen peroxide, you can try using a mixture of water and lemon juice.
Before using any solution, we recommend you speak with your veterinarian to get the proper guidance on which method will be the most effective and suitable for your dog.
2. Wash Their Face Every Day
Wash your dog’s face to eliminate tear stains, and make it a regular habit. This will help to remove all dirt and dust that can cause staining. Use a wet cloth to gently wipe your dog’s face, but be careful not to get too close to the eyes. You can also wash your dog’s hair with a natural and mild dog shampoo.
Consistency with these treatments will help you notice the difference in your dog’s tear stain within a few weeks. And whatever method you choose, just be sure to do it every day till you see visible results.
3. Use Tear Stain Removers
Have you ever used stain removers before? If so, you probably know how effectively this method removes tear stains. These are typically liquids that you apply directly to the stained area. You might have to use them multiple times before removing the stain. Just be sure to read the label carefully to ensure that it’s safe for your dog.
There are also home remedies that you can try, such as mixed apple cider vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. However, these should also be used cautiously, as they can irritate your dog’s eyes. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you’re not comfortable using these methods.
4. Provide Your Dog With Quality Food
Food plays a vital role in reducing the dog’s tears. A good-quality diet is one of the essential things you can do for your dog’s health. Choose a food full of all the nutrients a dog requires.
If you think your dog’s food may be contributing to its tear stains, then some special food can help your dog. These foods contain ingredients that can help decrease the tears.
Dogs are also allergic to certain foods, and there is a variety of dog food available on the market. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your veterinarian about which food is best for your dog.
5. Maintain Hygiene
As you maintain complete hygiene in your surroundings, it is essential to do the same for your dog. Maintaining hygiene means cleaning your dog’s area regularly, as it is crucial to clean your dog’s stains.
Brush its teeth regularly to prevent the development of bacteria that cause tear stains. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed; long nails can contain a lot of dirt and bacteria.
6. Speak With Your Vet If Required
Excessive tearing can be a sign of underlying health problems. If your dog is tearing up more than unusual, speak with your veterinarian immediately to identify the cause and the appropriate course of treatment.
Your vet will do a complete physical examination, including blood tests and other diagnostic tests, to determine if there are any medical causes for the increased tearing.
If no medical cause is found, your vet can discuss possible behavioral causes and help you develop a plan to stop the excessive tearing.
Some dogs are more prone to tear stains than others, but they’re common in every dog. But there are a lot of methods that can help you have a clean and healthy pet.
Be sure to choose the right way suitable for your dog and test it on a small area first to ensure that it won’t irritate your dog’s skin. We are sure that your dog will get rid of those unpleasant tear stains with a bit of patience.
Some breeds like Shih Tzus, Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, and Maltese dogs are more prone to tear stains.
Yes, there is a risk of human infection if a person comes into contact with bacteria from a dog’s eye discharge. The infection can also spread if bacteria find their way into an open wound.
Several symptoms indicate your dog has an eye infection, including-
• Irritation in their eyes
• Red eyes
• Yellow discharge
• Swollen eyes
• Continuously rubbing their eyes
You can mix warm water and baking soda and gently rub them with your fingers, then rinse them. Repeat this several times before the stain is removed, and before applying it to the whole face, try it on a small area for the test. You can try this method, but we suggest you consult with your veterinarian before trying anyway.
Coconut oil is a popular and natural stain remover. It has properties that may help you reduce the bacteria that can cause staining under your dog’s eyes and also help you reduce irritation. Coconut oil is the safest and easiest way to lighten up any stains.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.