How do you get tear stains off a dog’s face? A Step-by-Step Guide

Eye Infections

Eye infections may cause excess tear production and weeping of the eyes, which can lead to tear stains and yeast or bacterial infections due to excess moisture.

“If the stains are brownish or rust-colored, they may indicate a current yeast or fungal infection on the skin, under the eyes, that is able to thrive because of the constant moisture from tears building up on the skin,” says Klein.

Pet owners who notice discoloration in tear stains or other symptoms of eye infections—such as redness, itching, or pawing at the eyes—should seek veterinary care.

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  • Hair growth around the eye: Your dog’s hair grows too close to his eyes, causing irritation or blockage of the puncta (drainage holes for tears).
  • Inward-turned eyelids: Referred to as entropion, this condition leads to excessive tearing or blockage of the puncta.
  • Infection or scar tissue: Prior eye infections can lead to scar tissue that blocks the drainage of the puncta.
  • Shallow eye sockets: Some dog breeds are prone to shallow eye sockets—if the eye sockets aren’t deep enough to contain the tears, they spill onto the fur surrounding the eyes.
  • Because all dogs are different, causes vary from one dog to another. However, there are certain breeds that are more prone to tear staining than others. Short-faced breeds in particular are at a higher risk for staining—these breeds include Pekingese, Maltese, Pugs, and Shih Tzus. In terms of blocked tear ducts, Poodles and Cocker Spaniels seem to be the most susceptible. And of course, dogs with light or white hair or long hair on their faces have a higher risk for staining. Finally, your dog could be suffering from environment or food allergies that cause his eyes to excessively water. Dust, pollen, gluten and smoke are common allergies that contribute to tear staining.

    Sahir Farid is a passionate blogger and a dog lover who also owns The Dogs Journal. The Dogs Journal was started in 2018 with the aim to spread love and awareness about dogs.

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