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Treating Tear Stains on Light-Colored Dogs

By Doghaus University, Apr 11 2017 09:28PM

Treating Tear Stains on Light-Colored Dogs

If you have a light or white-colored dog, then it would not have been long before you noticed the otherwise pristine fur on their face stained by their natural tears. However, it is not their own tears that often stain the fur, but something else. The moisture produced by a dog’s tears make the area around the eye a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. As a result, the hair under their eyes appears stained. So how do you deal with tears stains when it comes to grooming your dog?

Dealing with the Cause

The easiest way of removing tear stains on your dog and preventing them from coming back is to identify the cause. Typically the cause is excessive tears which can be caused by a number of different reasons including environmental, medical, and even genetic factors.

When searching for environmental causes, the drinking water, food quality, and allergens are often to blame. It is believed that a high mineral content in the dog’s drinking water can contribute to staining. If you dog also presents staining by the mouth, this should be a good indicator. As for food quality, food dyes and preservatives can have the same effect as high mineral drinking water. Finally, allergens will increase a dog’s tears, thus making the growth of bacteria easier and more frequent.

As for medical causes of tear stains, there are many minor medical maladies that can present in dogs that may be the cause. This includes ingrown eye lashes, abnormally large tear glands, stress, medication, and ear infections. If you have ruled out environmental factors, a veterinarian can help diagnose any potential medical factors that may cause the stains.

Finally, there are some breeds that are sadly predisposed to tear stains. These include Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon, and Pekinese breeds. These dogs are prone to producing more tears than others, and thus may have some staining. While there is little you can do about genetics, you do know that you will need to combat tear stains for a lifetime rather just clear up one cause.

Removing the Tear Stains

Once you have found the reason behind the tear stains, be it a treatable condition or unfortunate genetics, it is time to learn how to clear them away. There are two courses of action to go about.

The first is to visit your veterinarian in order to get medication that will either cure a bacterial infection or change the pH of the tears themselves to prevent bacterial growth. This will typically stop tears stains.

The other method is to treat the actual external stains themselves. It is important to know that there are a number of miracle substances marketed out there that claim to do just that. Some may work, others may just be snake oil, and a spare few may actually be dangerous. However, there are a number of holistic solutions you can try at home.

The most effective solution includes mixing a little lemon juice with contact cleaning solution (the kind that includes boric acid). This will serve to both kill the bacteria and whiten the fur underneath it. However, because of the lemon juice, naturally you will want to be very careful to not get any of the solution in the dog’s eyes.

Cleaning a dog’s face, much less that area around their eyes is a daunting and occasionally impossible task (depending on the dog), but you don’t have to do it yourself. If you live in the Madison, WI area, contact us today and let up clean your dog’s tear stains away for you. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect trying to find and treat the source if it is not a genetic trait of your dog breed.

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