Almost every dog parent comes across the issue of tear stains around the eyes and fur of their four-legged furry friend nearly every day, and, more often than not, the sight is not only unpleasant but is also smelly.
Most people think only light-haired dogs are prone to these stains, but dark-haired dogs have it just as bad as any other dog, except that the stains are not visible. And while everyone wishes for these stains to go away or better not show up at all, the problem is as common as anything else. The only thing one could do is reduce the stains by taking preventive measures apart from cleaning it up for your dog whenever it appears. But, one needs to know the cause of tear stains before getting to the precautions and cure.
What Causes Tear Stains On Dogs
Although no pet parent can help but think that the tear stains are because their dog had cried or is suffering from depression and requires therapy, it is not the case, so do not worry.
The tear staining can be due to several physical conditions. It could be as simple as eye irritation due to ingrown eyelashes reaching up to the seriousness of it being a symptom of an underlying health condition that requires medical attention. While the chances of any serious implications are very thin, one must not delay consulting a vet in case of prolonged tear staining.
Shallow Eye Sockets
Some dogs naturally have very shallow eye sockets. These kinds of eyes just don’t have enough space to hold tears leading them to spill over the fur surrounding the eyes, causing stains.
Eyelids That Are Turned Inwards
A condition called ‘entropion’ leads to the eyelids folding inwards, in which case the skin and the eyelashes rub against each other, resulting in either blockage of the puncta (tear drainage holes) or excessive tearing.
Hair Growing Around The Eyes
Who hasn’t been in a teary situation when an eyelash or hair strand is in your eyeballs. Well, dogs are no different, just that they have a lot more hair, making tears almost inevitable. The fur surrounding your dog’s eyes growing out too long might just be the issue, causing them constant irritation in the eye and dog tears. The hairs might even be blocking the tear ducts (puncta), so make sure you check well enough and trim them regularly.
The Breed Of Your Dog
Though all dogs are lovable, you cannot deny that their breed does determine a lot of their physical traits, conditions, and even the diseases they might be more prone to. The same is the case with tear stains. Some dog breeds with a short face like the Maltese, Shih Tzus, etc., are more prone to tear stains. At the same time, breeds like Cocker Spaniels and Poodles suffer from blocked tear ducts instead of tear stains, making it more of a trait rather than something to worry about.
Scar Tissues Or Infections
If your dog has previously suffered from an eye infection, even an ear infection, or a yeast infection, the chances of him developing conditions like excessive tearing or blocked puncta due to scar tissues increases by multi-folds.
Now that we know the most common reason behind tear stains let us discuss how to get rid of them and ways to take better care of your furry friend.
Give Your Dog A Deep Cleaning Bath
The most imperative and obvious step is to give your dog a good and deep cleanse before clearing the stains, especially around the eyes. It is best if you take your dog to an expert for a good professional bathing session as it will save you efforts and make the process of removing the stains a lot easier. They might even help you get rid of the stains or give you recommendations on a bunch of safe products you could use available in the market.
Get Your Dog’s Hair Trimmed
Although there are many other conditions one could blame the tear stains for, the untrimmed and outgrowing fur near the eyes is undoubtedly the prime cause in almost 90% of the cases, or is at least making the condition worse by irritating the eye further. Though you can undoubtedly give your furry friend a nice hair trim at home right away, it is best to seek professional help for the job, as getting the hair near the eyes trimmed at home requires a great deal of skill and patience, not to mention the risk of cuts and injuries.
Home Remedies To Try
Now that your dog is all clean, it is time to treat the tear stains. And, though one can easily find good all-natural tear stain removers on a pet store, it is as easy to make a home alternative for the same, which are as effective as the former, if not more. Let us have a look at some home remedies you must give a try:
Milk Of Magnesia – Make a paste using equal parts of milk of magnesia and hydrogen peroxide, with a bit of cornstarch. Now, rub this paste on and around the area of tear stains, letting it sit for at least four hours before you wash it off.
Tip – restrain your dog from scratching away the paste by constantly keeping an eye on him, or you could use a “cone of shame” for the same.
Apple Cider Vinegar/ White Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar is greatly beneficial for your dog’s overall health. It takes care of the tear stains for them and prevents yeast or other bacterial infections from recurring. One just needs to add a tablespoon of distilled apple cider vinegar/white vinegar to their dog’s water bowl, which, when consumed, increases the PH levels in the dog.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Apply diluted hydrogen peroxide(1 part hydrogen peroxide to 10 parts water) using a cotton swab around the stained area while being careful that it doesn’t get into your dog’s eyes. Rinse the area gently with warm water in about 10 minutes.
Precautions To Take
One might or might not be able to get rid of the condition completely. However, you can bring some precautionary moves into the routine to avoid it from getting worse, reducing the issue over time.
- In the morning, whenever your dog’s eyes look too dry or wet, make sure you use a saline flush that is pet-friendly to clean them up.
- Using a wet cloth, routinely wipe the corners of your dog’s mouth, nose, and eyes, paying special attention to removing the eye gunks and clearing stains.
- Take better notice of your dog’s eating habits and make sure he is in his best condition, as poor health can further negatively influence the staining situation.
- In many cases, the color of the stains can easily indicate health problems your dog might be suffering from. For, e.g., dark brown stains indicate a yeast infection due to bacteria and constant moisture.
Know When To Take Your Dog To The Vet
The possibility of congenital disability and underlying medical condition, however thin, is not something that you should overlook, especially when your dog is in a constant state of irritation with excessive tear production despite regular attempts to eliminate it. Consult the vet as soon as possible in such a situation and proceed with further instructions.
Though a dog can do many things, telling you the health issues they are suffering from using words, sadly, is not one of them. The dog owner must take it upon themselves to notice such fine details and find a cure to maintain the perfect health of their furry friend. Regular vet visits and consultation sessions apart from a good hygiene routine are also a good way for the owners who are busy to keep the health of their pets in check.