Tearing and Tear Stains in Dogs

Tear stains is a common problem in dogs though it is more noticeable in white colored canines. Sometimes the problem of tearing in dogs can be prevented to a degree and staining can be remedied.

Tear stains on dogs is a very common problem.

Most often, pet parents with white and light colored dogs notice it more than those with darker colored fur.

There can be various reasons why some dogs may tear more than others such as

  • Poor diet of foods that are loaded with added colors and dyes plus added minerals and iron.
  • Teething issues - young dogs teeth often, with excess drooling and watery eyes.
  • Female dogs in heat - female dogs tend to tear and stain more when they are in season.
  • Environmental problems - irritants in the air, especially at certain times of the year can affect dogs such as dust, pollen and man-made products like deodorizers, spray paints, cleaners, sawdust . . . and so much more.
  • Hereditary problems - tearing and staining can be a problem passed down from generation to generation.
  • Hair in the eyes - the hair around the eyes should be kept trim to avoid irritation.
  • Allergies, eyelid disorders, blocked tear ducts or other eye diseases can be some of the underlying causes.

Discoloring often appears under the eyes, around the mouth and on the paws, due to the dog licking and biting at the feet. Saliva and tears are clear fluids but a change in color on the fur indicates the internal body chemistry is altered. If an area of the body remains moist, yeast fungus and bacteria can grow. The skin under the fur will get red and the fur will begin to produce an odor.

A combination of theories can help in the treatment of this problem. The first step in the process is to find out the cause. If there is an underlying medical condition, your veterinarian or canine ophthalmologist need to be consulted for a diagnosis and treatment.

Once the underlying issues have been addressed, the next step is in keeping the eyes clean. Any eye matter or mucus must be cleared from the eyes daily as well as cleaning the tearing with an eye cleaning product. You can use a cotton pad dabbed with a little puppy shampoo to wash under the eye, and follow with a clean, wet washcloth.

If the problem appears to be an internal chemical problem, it is necessary to improve what your dog eats and drinks. Antibiotics can contribute as well and this is something to speak with your veterinarian about. Change your dog's water to filtered or distilled water as a lot of drinking water contains added minerals and iron.

Feed your dog a good quality dog food without added preservatives, food dyes, tomato pomace and beet pulp. Some treats also contain bad proteins, dyes and grains. To ward off the problems of staining due to food and water, you can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon to the drinking water.

To the daily food, add either a tablespoon of cream cheese or a teaspoon of powdered buttermilk. If your dog has allergies, speak with your veterinarian about the proper diet that is rich in a variety of good proteins and no by-products and chemicals.

If a bacterial or yeast infection has developed, special antibiotics will be prescribed by your veterinarian such as Tetracycline (Terramycin), Lincomycin (Lincocin), or Tylosin (Tylan). Tylan is available for purchase as a powder from pet supply stores, or as an ingredient in products for tear staining, but is more effective if given full strength.

This may assist in stabilizing the body chemistry and rid the infection. Some of these antibiotics may need to be camouflaged due to its bitter taste when administering to your dog.

To make a home remedy to wash your dogs eyes safely, make some tea with a tea bag. Once ready, weaken the tea, one teaspoon of the tea with a cup of warm water. Hold your dog's eyes open. Use a lint free pad or cloth and soak in the tea. Squeeze the soaked pad over the eyes slowly. You can lubricate the eye with a dropper full of cod liver oil, close the eye lid and massage. You can then follow with the next step.

Boric acid powder fights yeast and can be purchased at your local drug store. Clean and dry the affected eye, use a small old toothbrush dipped in the boric acid and brush it along the fur under the eye once or twice a day.

Be careful when applying, though boric acid is safe for the eyes and is contained in many eye drops.

With careful monitoring and care, you can keep the eyes sparkling clean and your entire dog's fur in great, stain-free condition.