What Foods Cause Tear Stains in Dogs?

Paw-some pet parents, you’re probably scratching your head wondering what’s causing those annoying tear stains on your furry friend’s face. Well, don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure out what’s to blame and how to keep your dog looking their absolute best. So grab your pup’s favorite treat and let’s get started!

Bulldog drinking water out of a bowl on the grass

Understanding Tear Stains :

You may be wondering, what are tear stains? Tear stains are reddish-brown streaks that form beneath a dog's eyes, usually near the tear ducts. Often the tear duct that is supposed to carry fluid away from the eye is blocked, resulting in an excess of tears escaping from the lower eyelid. Due to the area being constantly wet, stains arise. This condition is called Epiphora and can be caused by several factors, including genetics, your dog’s breed, allergies, eye infections, environment, stress, and overall health.

Foods to Avoid - The Tear Stain Culprits:

Grains: While grains are commonly found in commercial dog food, some pups may be sensitive to them. These grains stimulate melanin production and can trigger allergic reactions, which darkens the fur beneath the eyes. In dogs with sensitivities, grains such as wheat, corn and soy can also lead to inflammation and digestive problems. Please note that not every dog will suffer from tear stains due to these grains.

Iron-Rich Food: Iron is a vital nutrient for dogs, as it helps in maintaining their red blood cells. However, certain iron-rich foods, such as red meat and liver, can increase melanin production, which can result in pesky tear stains. Dogs that are sensitive to iron sulfate, or those that have an intolerance to it, will be more likely to develop tear stains.

Dog Foods with Preservatives: Beware of dog foods containing artificial preservatives. Tear stains can be caused by preservatives in dog food, such as the two most common preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). They're okay for humans to eat, but they can cause a lot of health issues in dogs, especially if they are consumed over a prolonged period of time. Not all dogs will have these reactions, but your dog’s health and age play a large factor.

Foods with Artificial Colors: Vibrant-colored kibble might look appealing to you, but it's a no-no for your dog. Some dogs may be allergic to food colors such as red #40 or yellow, both of which are commonly used in dog food. These dyes contain porphyrin, which is a type of iron-rich molecule known to induce melanin production in dogs, which as a result can cause them to develop tear stains. Food colors can also cause food allergies or digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc. It is important to read the food labels and be cautious to avoid feeding your pup dog food that contains these artificial colors.

Foods High in Sugar: According to some studies, excessive sugar consumption can also result in an increase of tear stains for your furry friend. The reason for this is that sugar increases the production of yeast, which in turn increases inflammation in your dog's body. When your dog's tear ducts become inflamed, the yeast will cause a discharge that will stain the fur underneath your dog's eyes. 

Choosing the Right Dog Food - Ingredients and Benefits

Now that we've uncovered some tear-stain villains, let's explore what you should look for in your dog's food to keep those tears at bay!

Fresh Ingredients: Opt for dog food that boasts fresh, natural ingredients. Fresh meats and vegetables provide essential nutrients that can promote healthy tear production.

Balanced Diet: Ensure your pup's diet is well-balanced, meeting their specific nutritional needs. A balanced diet can help prevent allergies and excessive tearing.

Non-Processed Food: Steer clear of overly processed dog food. Processed food may contain additives and preservatives that can trigger these pesky tear stains.

The Hidden Trouble in Tap Water

We all know how important it is for our furry pals to stay hydrated, but did you know that tap water might be a root cause behind tear stains too? Tap water is often high in mineral content, including iron, and can also contain impurities such as chlorine and fluoride, which are toxic to dogs and can worsen tear staining. 

It's not just the food and water; the way your pup dines can also make a difference! Opt for stainless-steel or ceramic bowls instead of plastic ones. Plastic bowls can develop cracks over time, which can harbor bacteria. This bacteria can lead to eye infections, causing excessive tearing and, you guessed it, tear stains!

Squishface to the Rescue - A Tear Stain Solution!

Now that we've tackled tear-stain culprits and nutrition, let's talk about a paw-some products that can help get rid of tear stains – Squishface Wrinkle Wipes, Squishface Wrinkle Paste, and Squishface Tear Stain Paste!

Start by gently cleaning the area thoroughly with Squishface Wrinkle Wipes. These alcohol-free wipes are gentle on your dog's sensitive skin, containing no unnecessary irritants such as essential oils, aloe, fragrance, or lanolin. The antifungal and antibacterial properties can effectively eliminate tear stains without causing any harm or discomfort to your fur baby. They also contain the power trio of ingredients known as Ketoconazole, Chlorhexidine, and PhytosphingosineNext, apply Squishface Tear Stain Paste (great for long-haired breeds) or Squishface Wrinkle Paste (great for short-haired breeds, dogs with wrinkles) to the affected area. Rub a small pea sized amount of Paste into the fur and onto your dog’s skin. Squishface Tear Stain Paste & Wrinkle Paste contain natural zinc oxide and coconut oil that creates a water repellent barrier in order to keep fungus and bacteria at bay.

Before & After picture of dog using Squishface Products

The Bottom Line:

Tear stains may seem like a never-ending challenge, but with a bit of nutritional know-how and some preventive measures, you can keep your canine companion looking fabulous. Remember to choose dog food with fresh ingredients and steer clear of grains, iron-rich foods, preservatives, artificial colors, and excessive sugar.

Stay vigilant about your pup's water source, opting for filtered or bottled water if necessary, and provide them with a stainless-steel or ceramic bowl to quench their thirst. Finally, the Squishface Wrinkle Wipes, Squishface Tear Stain Paste, and Squishface Wrinkle Paste can be your secret weapon in the battle against tear stains – gentle, effective, and free from harmful irritants.

Keep your pup's eyes bright and clear, and embrace their tear-stain-free cuteness with pride! Happy and healthy pups mean happy pet parents, and that's what it's all about. So, be sure to give your furry friend all the love and care they deserve! 🐾

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