Tear stains are not just unsightly on light coated dogs, they can also harbor infection causing bacteria and cause skin irritation. Removing the buildup caused by excess tear production is essential in stopping this, but regular face washing with water is not always enough. Tear stain removers are a great alternative, but with so many available on the market, which do you choose for your pet pooch? Our panel of experts and dog lovers have put together this list of the best dog tear stain removers to help you make the right choice for your dog.
Best Dog Tear Stain Remover Buying Guide
As well as knowing which products are the best, it can help to know more about the reasons why you may need to consider such a purchase. Tear stains are common in many breeds but what causes them, how can you prevent them, and why are some breeds more susceptible to staining than others? In this buying guide we look at these and other questions and provide answers that help you to make better informed choices for your canine companion.
What Are Dog Tear Stains?
Dog tear stains are the red brownish stains that appear mainly on light coated dogs. They are most common around the eyes but can also appear around the muzzle and between your dog’s toes. The staining is a result of excess tearing. As well as being unsightly the tear stains can also encourage the buildup of bacteria, cause irritation and even result in infection.
What Causes Excessive Tearing?
Tears are, as with humans, part of the eyes natural defense system. When the eye is irritated or has something lodged in it, it produces tears to try and remove the particles or irritations. Occasionally, the irritation is not easy to remove, and more tear are produced. This can lead to excessive tearing and further complications. As well as dirt, dust, and other debris becoming lodged in the eye, there are numerous reasons why your dog may develop excess tearing, including:
- The shape of the eye
- Puppy teething
- Blocked tear ducts
- Ear infections
Excessive tearing may also be a sign of an underlying health condition that is not directly related to the eyes. If your dog develops excessive tears for the first time, you should consult your veterinarian to rule out underlying health issues before beginning treatment with a tear stain remover.
How to Prevent Dog Tear Stains
Once underlying health conditions are either ruled out or are under treatment, you can begin to look at ways of removing existing staining and preventing future staining. Regular grooming, using your chosen tear stain remover is an essential part of this, but it is not the only course of action you should take.
- General health checks
If the excessive tearing was caused by an underlying health condition, then ensuring that you maintain your dog’s general health, have regular checkups, and treat problems quickly helps to prevent future occurrences of excessive tearing.
- Check food quality
Food quality can affect many aspects of your dog’s health, from their internal health, to their teeth, coat and skin. If the food is of poor quality it could be full of fillers and low in the nutrients, proteins, and vitamins your dog needs. This affects the ability to fight infection. Dog’s can also form allergic reactions to some of the ingredients used as fillers, including wheat, corn, and animal by-products. Allergic reactions are one of the main causes of excessive tearing.
- Check water quality
Ensuring your dog always has a source of fresh, clean drinking water is also important. If they are relying on less than clean sources, such as puddles or drains, this could be causing a buildup of bacteria, which in turn is causing the excessive tearing. If you are providing fresh water and are still noticing problems, check their water bowl and look for and where possible remove other water sources they may be accessing you your garden.
- Regular facial checks and grooming
Daily visual checks of your dog’s coat and particularly their facial area can help prevent a buildup of staining. Clean the eye area regularly, ensuring to flush out eyes if your dog has been in contact with potential allergens. For example, if you have been on a walk through a wooded area, in long grass, or through the mud. These are home to many potential allergens and bacteria.
- Keeping facial areas dry
All bacteria love damp, warm areas to grow in and the areas around your dog’s eyes and muzzle are perfect breeding grounds for the bacteria that encourages staining and further tear production. You can help to prevent this by keeping your dog’s face dry.
Which Breeds Are More Prone to Tear Stains?
While all dogs can be affected by tear stains, they are much more obvious on light coated dogs. They are also present more often in small breed dogs. Tear stains are most common in those breeds where the shape of the eye socket prevents proper drainage of tears and other fluids down the throat. The breeds most affected by tear staining are:
- Boston Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Bichon Frise
- Lhasa Apso
While you cannot complete irradiate tearing, by combining good hygiene, regular grooming, and looking at potential causes, with a quality tear stain remover, you can reduce the effects of tears on your dog’s coat. By choosing one of the tear stain removers discussed here, you can be assured that you are choosing one that is gentle and caring towards your dog’s coat and overall health.
- How to Prevent Tear Stains on Your Dog’s Face, American Kennel Club
- Dogs and Tear Stains, WebMD
- Different Approaches to Tackling Tear Stains in Dogs, Pets4Homes