Editorial

Tear Stains: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Dog Tear Stains Causes and Removal

Many people have asked mama how she managed to prevent tear staining around my eyes. To prevent or remove tear stains, you’ll first need to know the causes.

Many people have asked mama how she has managed to prevent staining on the fur around my eyes.

Not known to most, I had very bad tear stains before mama came into my life. The reason given by the shop owner was that I was a crybaby, which sounded as ridiculous then as it does now. However, he did offer a good suggestion to drop colloidal silver into my eyes (see its use below).

Fortunately after my first grooming session when my stained fur got snipped off, I never had problems with tear stains again. I also proved that I am not a crybaby! Mama thinks the real reason was a combination of diet, environmental changes, and growth.

What Causes Tear Stains?

Tear stains are a result of a condition called Epiphora, which is caused by excessive tear production, tear drainage obstruction, or both. When the fur around the eyes gets in contact with iron-containing Porphyrin found in tears for a prolonged period of time, it will develop a reddish stain.

Tear stains are more common in certain breeds, such as Maltese and Poodle, and appear more prominent in pups with light-coloured coats. Moreover, some pups produce more Porphyrin than the others, so the extent of staining varies.

Some reasons for Epiphora are:

  • Eye irritation
  • Eye disease or infection, such as glaucoma and conjunctivitis
  • Ingrown eyelashes
  • Poor quality water and diet
  • Medication

Chronic Epiphora also provides a constant moist environment, which may foster bacteria and yeast. Hence, even if you find the staining acceptable, it’s important not to ignore this condition.

How to Treat and Prevent Tear Stains Safely

  • See a trusted vet to rule out eye diseases and infections
  • Keep the fur around the eyes clean and dry at most times by grooming and wiping your dog’s face regularly
  • Clean your dog’s face with colloidal silver. Its antimicrobial properties help prevent irritation and infection around the eyes. It’s also safe to apply 1-2 drops into each eye to treat minor eye irritation
  • Keep the living area clean and wash your dog’s toys and beds regularly to reduce possible allergens that may irritate your dog’s eyes
  • Feed a good quality diet and filtered or distilled water. Tap water contains minerals and impurities that may worsen the staining

If you have any good suggestions to add to the list, do share it with us!


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Latte is the happy Westie behind Vanillapup, a website for dog lovers. Discover latest products and services, dog-friendly hangouts, helpful tips and advice, and exclusive perks.


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