Tear Stains On Dogs
By Lori Newman
• Heredity plays an important part in eye staining.
• Nutrition and dental health play a role in tearing. Excessive tearing can be caused by water or foods given to your dog. Canned dog foods are bad about staining your dogs face. Always stay away from food and treats with red or dark colors. Dog tears and saliva contain porphyrins. These are natural pigments that turn your dogs face a reddish-brown color over time.
• Tonsillitis and dental disease are major underlying causes of tearing. Your dogs teeth should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent eye stain.
• Allergies can play an important role in tearing and stains. Dyes or additives can attribute to tissue swelling around tear ducts that obstruct the tear flow. Bacterial infections of tear ducts must be treated with antibiotics. If you suspect your dog has allergies, you should have your vet do a blood test. This test will tell what your dog is allergic to and which antibiotic to use. The problem may be as simple as changing his food or it can be pollens causing the tearing. Dogs are allergic to pollens just like we are. Allergy shots may eliminate the symptoms.
• Water that has a high mineral content can add to stains of the whiskers and tear staining. You should give your dog only bottled, distilled or filtered spring water. Using a water bottle can help keep your dogs face dry and prevent staining.
• Any problems with the eye may cause tearing which causes tear staining. Trimming the hair around your dogs eyes may help the tearing. The hair can cause irritation of the eyes. Ingrown eyelashes can cause tearing. Have your vet check your dogs eyes for ingrown eyelashes. Tear drainage is another cause of tearing. Tears overflow because of an obstruction or blockage of the normal drainage system in the eye. Many things can cause this. The ducts may be blocked or not exist due to a birth defect. After an eye infection, the ducts can be narrowed or scarred. Some dogs have granular eyelids. Your Vet may scrape your dogs eyes to help this condition.
• The environment of the dog can cause it to tear too. Dogs that live in homes of smokers seem to tear more. Dogs that stay outside generally tear more than dogs that live inside. Wind and dirt can irritate the eyes and make tearing worse.
There are numerous treatments that help tear staining:
• You can use dry cornstarch on your dog’s face on a daily basis to lighten the stains. Apply the cornstarch to your dogs face and rub it in. Then use a fine tooth comb to brush it into the hair.
• Desitin can be used to prevent staining. It coats the hair and repels moisture. Tear stained eyes can be prevented with eye envy or tylosin for dogs.
• A dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide can help tear staining. You should mix one part hydrogen peroxide to 10 parts of distilled water.
• Avoid diets containing beet pulp or added food coloring which can contribute to facial hair staining. Sometimes feeding an all natural dog food can help tearing.
• Ear infections such as yeast or bacterial infections can cause a dog to tear more. Ear mites have a tendency to cause a dog to tear more too. You should use a miticide to get rid of the ear mites.
• As a last resort you can try antibiotics. Tetracycline is the antibiotic of choice. It should be given for 3-4 weeks. Puppies can not be given tetracycline until the permanent teeth come in. If given to puppies before they cut their permanent teeth, it can stain the teeth yellow. People that show their dogs add tetracycline in the low doses to the dog’s food or water to prevent staining.
• Surgery is an alternative solution. The operation consists of removing the gland of the third eyelid, which reduces the volume of tears.