There are many causes of the unsightly tear stains that are very noticeable on certain dogs. There are also many ways of dealing with the stains, but ultimately you’re better off finding out the causes behind the stains before attempting to treat it.
You may find not just one cause, but several, are responsible for your dogs stained face. Let’s walk through some of the more common ones, as well as what to do about it.
Common Causes Of Tear Stains In Dogs
- Bacteria or yeast build up. They thrive in the moist warm area around the eye. Red Yeast will stain the hair of a white dog to a rusty brown color, and may have a slight odor.
- Genetics. The shape of the eye and way it is sitting can also contribute to the problem. The best way to avoid this is by selecting a pup, only after you have seen the parents, older siblings, and noted if they have the problem or not.
- Food Allergies. The most common cause of food allergies are beef, pork, corn, wheat, and soy. These are all ingredients common in lower quality foods, and should be avoided if your dog is itchy, has hot spots, is prone to ear infections, or tear stains.
- Red dye, added to color some food or treats, may be responsible in some cases.
- Drinking water with a high pH content or high mineral content.
- Plastic bowls cannot be properly disinfected so they may harbor bacteria.
- Problem with the eyelid, or eyelashes aggravating the eye, resulting in an increase in tearing.
How To Treat Tear Stains In Dogs
- If the problem is related to bacteria or yeast, a veterinarian can prescribe medication, but this should only be done if your dog is not a puppy, as the medication may stain the teeth permanently yellow.
- Adding a teaspoon of white vinegar to the dogs drinking water will alter the pH enough and will help reduce bacteria and yeast growth.
- Tums, a product for humans, may be given to dogs as a source of calcium which will also adjust the dogs pH. A large dog can have half a tablet twice a day, a smaller dog should only have ¼ of a tablet. Never do this if you are also adjusting the water through the white vinegar or putting the dog on medication.
- Give the dog a ceramic or stainless steel bowl, and wash it several times throughout the week.
- Have a vet examine the dog for signs of a problem with the eyelid or eye socket, itself.
How To Clean Tear Stains In Dogs
- There are several over the counter products for cleaning the tear stains, these are usually available from pet supply stores.
- Keep the area dry, especially after bathing, dry it well.
- If you wash the area, use salt water, or water with lemon juice added, be careful not to get any in the eye.
- Make a mixture of equal parts milk of magnesia, peroxide, and corn starch. Work it into the effected area and let sit for 4 hours. When dry wash it off, taking care not to get any in the eye. This may take repeated applications over three or four days, but will clean the area.
- Keep the hair around the eye trimmed short, or have a groomer do it for you.