We love our dogs for their personalities, for the times we spend playing in the park, or sitting on the sofa together for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. We want to see them happy and healthy; their fur glossy and vibrant, and their eyes sparkling. Yet, when you're grooming your dog, you may have noticed dark brown or reddish stains flowing from the inner corners of their eyes. For some owners, this can be quite worrying, possibly a sign their dog has an infection or other medical condition.
Such discoloration is known as a tear stain. Dog tear stains can occur in all breeds but are most commonly seen in certain breeds, including: English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pomeranians, Poodles, Frenchies, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Maltese. Dog tear stains can be concealed in dogs with dark furs, while dogs with white or light colored coats have more noticeable tear stains.
What Causes Dog Tear Stains in the First Place?
Unsurprisingly, excess tears are what cause tear stains on dogs. This occurs for various reasons including irritation of the dog's eyes or an inability for the tears to drain correctly.
Dog's eyes are similar anatomically to humans. Just as gunk can block our tear ducts, leading to infection and excessive tear production, so it can happen in dogs. However, some breeds have specific anatomical features that increases their risk:
- Shallow eye sockets
- Inwardly turned eyelids (Entropion)
- Excess hair growth surrounding the eye
- Blockage of the tear drainage holes (Puncta)
Ways to Address Dog Tear Stains
One surprising factor to consider is lifestyle changes, as certain food additives such as wheat and preservatives can lead to increased tear stains. Consider transitioning your dog to grain-free foods and high-quality foods without additives. Some studies also suggest replacing plastic food and water bowls with glass or ceramic can reduce tear stains in dogs.
Can Dog Tear Stains Be Removed?
Dog tear stains can and should be removed. The moist environment provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If an infection was not the cause, then it may well be the result. If the hair around your dog’s eyes is too long and is causing irritation, trim it back. In the process of trimming, you may also cut away some of the discoloration from the tear stains. Never use scissors near your dog's eyes or face; for obvious reasons, this can lead to severe accidents. Instead, use guarded clippers or tweezers. If you do not feel comfortable trimming, then most groomers will be able to assist.
However, in order to truly remove dog tear stains and prevent them from forming in the future, you will need to thoroughly clean the area, and keep it cleaned.
How Can Dog Tear Stains be Removed?
Some guides to removing dog tear stains will advise covering up the stains with corn-starch, whitening creams, or powders. However, you don't want to accidentally get products like whitening creams and powders in your dog’s eyes. These only cover up the problem and still leave your dog at risk of infection.
That’s why we came up with the perfect solution to safely remove those tear stains from your dog’s face, and prevent them from reforming: Squishface Tear Stain Paste. Our all-natural hypoallergenic formula is made from plant-based ingredients and does not contain harsh chemicals, making it safe for even the most sensitive dogs. You will see a noticeable improvement in the appearance of your dog’s tear stains.
However, Squishface Tear Stain Paste doesn’t just remove tear stains, you'll be applying a natural shield against infection. Both our fragrance-free Squishface Tear Stain Paste and Squishface Wrinkle Wipes contain natural zinc oxide and coconut oil. These ingredients soothe the skin and act as a water-repellent barrier to reduce future tear stains and prevent bacterial growth and infection.
Both products can be used on all breeds of dogs with tear stains-- from our squishy faced friends, such as bulldogs and pugs, to the lavishly long-haired Shih Tzus and poodles. With Squishface, we created products by dog owners for dog owners!
To read more about how to clean your dog’s tear stains naturally, check out our other blog post here.