tear stains… they drive you crazy! how to clean tear stains is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our customers. Because tear stains themselves are reddish-brown in color, they tend to be more noticeable in breeds with light-colored coats like the Maltese.
And the most popular commercial tear stain products, including angel eyes, angel glitter, and pet sparkle, contain the antibiotic tylosin tartrate, which is not approved for use in dogs or cats. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a problem for both animals and people, so avoid using products like these.
Reading: Is angels eyes safe for dogs
Also, while tear stains are often just an unsightly annoyance, they can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious eye health problem. So before we explore how to treat tear stains, let’s first look at their causes.
- ingrown eyelashes
- ear infection
- passive exposure to smoke
- plastic food bowls
- poor quality diet
- excessive tear production
- insufficient tear drainage
- shallow eyelids or inverted
- eye infection
- eye injury
- teeth in puppies (if this is the case, tear stains should only be a condition temporary)
As you can see, there are a number of causes you’ll want to rule out before treating, so it’s best to see your vet first (see our local resource guide for a list of great local vets). Once you’ve made sure your dog’s tear stains aren’t the result of a more serious injury or trauma, you can begin to consider treatments.
Tear stains are usually the result of porphyrins, which are natural iron-containing molecules, waste products that are normally eliminated from the body through defecation (ie, poop). in dogs and cats, however, porphyrin can be excreted through saliva, tears, and urine. some dogs simply produce more porphyrin. it is not a dangerous thing; it just leads to pesky tear stains! When tears or saliva containing higher levels of porphyrins sit on light-colored fur, staining will occur. Also, due to the iron content, the spots darken when exposed to sunlight.
As mentioned above, tear stains are usually reddish-brown in color. However, if the spots are more brown than red, your pet may have a yeast infection. In addition to the brown color, your dog’s face may smell, indicating a yeast infection. Finding out if your dog is suffering from a yeast infection or porphyrin staining of the face is important in determining the course of treatment. however, to make things more confusing, your dog could suffer from both simultaneously!
the final note, before we get to “tell me what to do!” part of this blog is realizing that genetic predisposition plays a role in tear staining. while we suggest trying different treatments, it is possible that the staining will continue to occur and complete removal may never occur, depending on your dog’s genes. (how’s that for being the bearer of bad news!)
then let’s remove these tear stains!
- First and foremost, keep your dog’s face clean by gently wiping his face two times a day with a clean, warm, damp, soft towel, see out face washing video on Facebook.
- Come visit our groomers and have them trim the hair around your dogs eyes.
- Feed your dog a high quality, natural diet – raw food if possible. A good quality diet will help boost your dog’s immune system, if you need help selecting the best food for your dog, please call us for your free personalized diet consult.
- Use glass or stainless steel bowls instead of plastic. Plastic can harbor bacteria that can cause irritation and contamination. Some cool bowls we think you’ll love are the PawNosh Cubby Bowl and Singyep
- Use distilled or filtered drinking water instead of tap water which is often high in minerals and other impurities.
- After brewing some Organic Chamomile Tea take a cotton ball, soak it in the tea and gently clean your dog’s eyes.
- Use In Clover OptaGest Digestive Aid to support your dog’s immune system.
- Using a cotton ball, wipe your dog’s eyes with Colloidal Silver(118ml) which is completely safe to use around the eyes. Colloidal Silver has antimicrobial properties that can help clear up yeast infections as well as treat allergies, inflammation and infections.
The most important thing when dealing with your dog’s tear stains is to make sure there isn’t a serious underlying problem. once you have determined that this is not the case, try some of the suggestions above. Over time, your dog’s tear stains will become a thing of the past. But, if your dog is simply cursed with a genetic predisposition to tear stains, just remember, beauty is more than skin deep! let’s be honest; your dog loves you no matter what you look like! We know you feel the same way about your dog!
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