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Monday, June 24, 2024

Tear stains in dogs

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As pet owners, we have grown familiar with seeing the unattractive reddish-brown marks near the eyes of our pets, usually those with white fur. While dogs that have tear stains are not bothered, as pet guardians, we see them as troublesome.

What do tear stains on dogs signify?

Tear stains on dogs manifest as reddish-brown marks stretching from the inner corner of the eye onto or along the sides of the dog’s muzzle. While those with white dogs are often familiar with this appearance, identifying the distinctive color in dogs with darker fur can be challenging for many pet owners.

Tear stains pose various issues. They can indicate an underlying health issue. Neglecting to clean them can result in infection, and they can be visually unappealing for pet owners.

What leads to tear stains on dogs?

“In humans and dogs alike, tears usually flow from the eyes to the inside of the nose via a structure known as the nasolacrimal duct,” said Dr. Nathaniel Barberet in “What Dogs’ Tear Stains Mean” published in the Pets United website.

“Tear stains in dogs are commonly triggered by differences in the structure of the eyelids, leading tears to drain onto the face rather than through the nasolacrimal duct,” Barberet added.

While it is possible for a dog to have a blocked nasolacrimal duct or an issue causing excessive tear production, the majority of dogs with tear stains do not have an underlying eye ailment. However, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian if your pet suddenly develops tear stains.

How to effectively and safely address tear staining in dogs

Eliminating tear stains from dogs may require some trial and error to determine the most suitable approach for your pet. Before attempting to remove tear stains, it is important to rule out any underlying medical issue. If a medical condition is suspected, it is essential to follow your veterinarian’s guidance on removing the tear stains and treating your pet’s condition.

According to Barberet, there are several straightforward methods for addressing tear staining in dogs:

1. Maintain short hair around your dog’s eyes and nose.

2. Keep your dog’s face clean and dry by using a warm washcloth and mild baby shampoo to gently cleanse the area. After washing, ensure to thoroughly dry the area with a clean towel to prevent wet skin-related issues. Various eyelid and cleaning pads are also available for this purpose.

3. Consider administering probiotics to your dog, as they may help reduce tear staining.

Ensure to wipe away from your dog’s eye and take care to prevent the product from entering the eye. You can apply cleansers to cotton balls or soft wipes.

It is essential to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new solution to your pet’s eyes, particularly if your pet is already receiving prescribed eye medications. Trimming the hair may be necessary to aid in the removal of the tear stain.

Avoiding Tear Stains in Dogs

While tears in certain dogs, particularly those with specific facial structures, may be unavoidable, we can prevent staining by regularly cleaning their faces. To deter the development of tear stains, ensure the hair around your pet’s eyes is kept short.

Clean the area around the eyes at least twice daily using a slightly damp washcloth or cotton ball. You can utilize standard contact lens cleaning solution containing boric acid to cleanse around the eye (avoiding contact with the eye itself).

Some supplements claim to diminish the amount of porphyrin in tears, potentially reducing fur staining.

It is important to note that what works for one pet may not be effective for another. With patience and experimentation, you can establish a cleaning routine that effectively removes tear stains and maintains your dog’s facial hygiene.

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.


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