How to Treat and Remove Dog Tear Stains

"Brown or pinkish dog tear stains are common in light colored dogs or puppies and in dogs with over sized eyes. The condition is caused by tears that poor out of the eyes onto the fur. In most cases, the problem is only cosmetic, and not an indication of a health problem. Your veterinarian will seek to determine the cause of the excessive tearing. In some dogs it is perfectly normal, while in others it could indicate some type of dog eye problem. Several possible causes include the physiology of a particular dog or breed, the over production of tears leaving the eyes (called canine epiphora) or from abnormal eyelashes (called distchia). Home treatment options include continually washing the area with hydrogen peroxide as well as homeopathic and over the counter products that can address the problem. In chronic cases, surgical correction is also available. Discuss the problem with your veterinarian who can determine if the tear staining is normal or due to some type of ocular or eye problem."

If you own a small-breed light-colored dog or puppy, for example a shih tzu, maltese, West Highland white terrier, as well as lhasa apso, you are most probably particularly no stranger to the everyday malady of tear-staining because of dog eyes. Most puppy owners don't care for the physical appearance of tear stains located on their dogs, however some don't realize there exists several things you could do to remedy the condition.

dog tear
In most dogs dog tear stains are normal.  They are caused from tears that come in contact with the coat .
Source: Washington State University

Causes of Dog Tear Stains

This podcast from the American Veterinary Medical Association provides a helpful issue on the causes of dog tear staining.

Tear staining in your dog takes place when there's a steady presence of tears emptying out of the eyes towards the facial hair, which is referred to as chronic epiphora. Sometimes this kind of continuous epiphora comes from an abnormality associated with the family dog?s eyes. Some kinds of dogs also often times have an overabundance of fur in the corner of their eyes, which contacts the eye resulting in a consistent, mild inflammatory reaction that will leads to epiphora. 

Other dogs might be suffering from an abnormal eyelash, referred to as a distichia, which will develops right into the eye instead of outward. Distichiae are hard to diagnose, and, sometimes even the veterinarian needs special lighting and magnification to look at all of them. Simply pulling the eye lash out is not going to fix the problem permanently. The fact is, distichiae sometimes call for surgical treatment to have a long-term resolution. Other eye health problems including conjunctivitis or corneal ulcers could cause tearing, but are in most cases associated with various signs, most notably pawing towards the eye, squinting, plus redness.

For lots of dogs, persistent epiphora is simply a consequence of their unique physiology. Breeds that have proportionately sizable eyes often times have reoccurring tearing  (e.g.; Shih Tzus, Maltese, Pugs). The typical eye generates tears consistently, and the extra tears are drained in the nasolacrimal duct by using a modest opening in the lower eye lid. In large-eyed dogs, often the opening to the duct is too small for its eye, or alternatively has become stretched in a way that will no longer will allow drainage in to the duct. Sometimes the outlet onto the duct is way too small. In most of these cases, all of the tears need to go somewhere, so they just discharge outside the sides of the eyes to the fur.

Even when the tear discoloration is not a medical issue and does not impact the overall health of a canine friend, many dog or puppy owners would rather cut down on the discoloration caused by the tears if at all possible. 

Dog Eye Tear Treatment

In adult dogs, any of the options listed below can be tried to eliminate tear stains. If your puppy seems to have brown tear discoloration, you'll want to first see your vet to rule out medical-related causes of persistent epiphora.

Home remedy for dog eye tear stains:

The initial thing you might like to consider is undoubtedly extensively washing the area regularly, utilizing a little bit of peroxide on the discolored coat. With repeated washing, the peroxide can bleach all the fur, creating a better outward appearance. It is vital if you utilize hydrogen peroxide that you take care not to ever get any into the eyes. It goes without saying that this is not the best approach if your dog will not sit still. 

Over the counter solution for dog eye tear staining:

There are two popular over the counter options for removing dog tear stains.  Note that these approaches do not eliminate the problem, only makes any stains less noticeable.

Homeopathic: i-clenz is an all natural herbal product specifically formulated to remove and prevent dog eye tear stains by inhibiting bacterial growth, a contributor to dog eye stains.  It contains ingredients such as Dandelion, Eye Bright and German Chamomile, all well known herbal cleansers.

Tetracycline:  If extensive cleaning will not improve the issue, you ought to confer with your vet in regards to an over the counter solution called  Angel Eyes. This product has a minimal dosage of a tetracycline antibiotic, which will help to inhibit the chemicals inside tears that cause the brown staining. So, although epiphora will continue, the actual brown pigment will disappear. 

dog tear stains
Before and After Photo of Dog Tear Stains Cleaned with Angel Eyes
Source Amazon/Caspian

Dog Eye Tear Surgery

In severe conditions, certain surgical procedures can be executed by a veterinary ophthalmologist to boost eye tear drainage. Few dog owners elect to carry out this treatment method.

Talk to your doctor before starting any kind of products and solutions for tear-staining, as they might not be suitable for each and every dog.

References for Dog Tear Stains

Washington State University



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