All dogs have tears, they are part of their natural defense mechanism. However, when these tears become excessive, they can lead to staining. While this can occur in any dog breed, it is most obvious in those with light color coats, and can be very frustrating, especially if you show your pet pooch. It is possible to remove these tear stains with a high quality tear stain remover and a little patience. However, before doing this it is important to understand a little more about tear stains and the possible underlying causes of excessive tearing.
Understanding Tear Staining in Dogs
Tear stains occur when your dog experiences excessive tearing or insufficient drainage around the eyes. The medical term for this is Epiphora. The problem is easy recognized by the red or brown staining that can be seen around your dog’s eyes, muzzle, and in some cases on their paws and underbelly if they lick or chew excessively in these areas.
The discoloration is the result of a buildup of Porphyrin; a pigment that is found in tears and saliva, as well as in urine. This explains why dogs who lick constantly also have discoloration around the underbelly and paws – or other areas they pay constant attention to.
There are numerous causes of excessive tearing in dogs including environmental factors such as dust, dirt, and pollen. These can cause irritation in the eye, resulting in tears being produced to try and clear the irritation. Where this is not easily achieved the result can be excessive tearing.
Allergies and sensitivities can also cause excessive tearing to occur. These sensitivities and allergens could range from pollen to sprays such as air fresheners that are used around the home. Hair and eyelashes getting caught in the eye are other common causes, along with skin and eye infections. Genetics, the shape of the eye, and even poor diet can also play a role in causing excessive tearing in your four-legged friend.
Puppies are also prone to excessive tearing during teething. However, tear staining caused through teething should simply disappear as puppies grow out of this stage.
First Steps in Dealing with Excessive Tearing
Before dealing with the tear staining itself it is important to find, and were possible treat, the underlying cause of the tearing. Not only is this important for the overall health of your dog, but it means that you can reduce the risk of the reoccurrence of excessive tearing in the future.
A visit to your regular veterinarian helps to rule out allergies, infections, and eye disease. Your vet can also advise on possible environmental factors that may be causing the problem and suggest ways of reducing the problem, such as changing the time of day you walk your dog, not using spray air fresheners in rooms that they regularly frequent, improved hygiene routines to reduce dirt, dust, and debris on the face and around the eyes. They can also advise when it comes to possible dietary factors, recommending foods that are less likely to lead to issues and which will improve your dog’s overall health.
If it is eyelashes or the short hairs around the eyes that are causing the problem, then they may trim these hairs or even surgically remove those that are causing issues. You can keep on top of the trimming with your local groomer, however, hair removal from the root should only be done by your vet.
When it comes to genetics there is very little anyone can do. Some dog breeds are more prone to tearing than others due to the shape of their face and eyes. Most breeds have small holes under the eyes that aid in draining away tears, with the liquid draining down the throat. However, for breeds that have shallow eyes this drainage system is not as effective and excessive tearing is a regular occurrence.
How to Remove Your Dog’s Tear Stains
Once you have dealt with, or are at least aware of, the cause of the excessive tearing, it is time to deal with the staining. There are numerous products on the market to help you deal with staining, but not all of them are effective or even safe. It is important to choose a product that will not harm your dog and that is easy to use so that is does not cause stress to either you or your pet pooch.
We recommend using SPA by TropiClean Tear Stain Remover. The main reason for this is that it works, but it is also because it uses all-natural ingredients and does not lighten your dog’s coat; making it suitable for use with all dog breeds and coat types.
Check out our guide on the Best Dog Tear Stain Remover.
To remove tear stains using a facial wash product:
- Encourage your dog into the bath or shower
- Wet their coat all over, including their face
- Use your normal dog shampoo to wash them as normal
- Place a small amount of the facial cleanser onto your hands and massage into your dog’s face
- Pay special attention to stained areas, but avoid getting into the eyes, ears, or mouth
- Carefully rinse and dry your dog as normal
Used as part of your regular bathing and grooming routine a good tear stain remover should be able to prevent stains from occurring. If you are using tear stain removing wipes or liquids, ensure your rinse the area thoroughly after use and avoid getting the product in your dog’s eyes. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before using any product. If using a product for the first time it is a good idea to test the product on a small area of their coat first. Not only does this ensure that it does not stain or whiten the coat, but it also tests to see whether your dog has an adverse reaction to the product before it is close to sensitive areas, such as their eyes.
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Excessive tearing may not always be preventable or treatable, but with good hygiene and by using a quality product such as SPA by TropiClean, you can keep tear stains under control. Regular use of such a product, along with the other tips in this article may even be able to prevent the stains from forming in the first place.
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Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.