Tear stains are hard to miss, especially if you have dogs with light-colored or white fur. The marks are often brown colored blemishes that run just below your puppy’s eyes. Now the stains result from dried tears that your dog produces. And the main culprit here is excessive tearing, or rather Epiphora.
There are several causes of excessive tearing ranging from the actual tear production to your animal’s inability to regulate tear draining from its ducts. Either way, it is critical to try and mitigate Epiphora not just for cosmetic reasons, but also for your dog’s overall wellbeing.
Here are a couple of things you should know about tear stains first.
Why Do Tears Leave Behind Stains
Typically, tears are colorless and, most times, resemble any clear liquid. However, once they dry up, brownish marks are left behind. The marks stem from porphyrin, which is a pigment that makes up tear fluid. The pigment gathers under your pup’s eyes in its tears and eventually stain this region.
Porphyrin is rich in iron gotten from the animal’s blood. In other animals, this pigment is released from the intestinal tract and as part of bile. In dogs, however, these molecules are abundant in tears and saliva. Iron exhibits a reddish-brown color naturally and confers the same to dogs’ iron-rich tears.
That is why you will often find the fur in places your dog has licked turn brown, more so if they are light-colored breeds. These stains are more apparent under the sun’s light as the pigment darkens.
Which Breeds Are At Risk Of Tear Stains
Tearing is perfectly normal in dogs, but some types produce more of this liquid for one reason or another. In our quest for the perfect canine, we bred and turned wolves into modern-age dogs. This constant, relentless breeding led to changes in these animals’ physical structure, especially around the tear-ducts.
Protruding eyes and short noses are all adorable features in some breeds like boxers and bulldogs. Nonetheless, these physical alterations lead to warped tear ducts, and subsequently, excessive tearing becomes common-place among these breeds.
Breeds that are at risk of excessive tearing are Poodles, Maltese, Pugs, Shih-Tzu, Pekingese, and other short-nosed breeds.
While the impact of genetics in this condition is immense, dog owners can still manage the situation. There isn’t an exact prescription that will halt excessive tearing, but rather, tear management is the way to go.
Other Causes Of Excessive Tearing In Dogs
As mentioned earlier, all dogs tear up once in a while only that other breeds are genetically pre-disposed to excessive discharge. Even so, genetics is not the only reason dogs get tear stains.
Medical conditions are some notorious causative agents of excessive tearing, and none is as evident as eye infections. Several conditions affecting your dog’s eyes lead to lacrimation (excessive tearing).
- Eye infections are notorious causes of excessive tearing and the subsequent tear stains that are left behind. Eye diseases have a wide array of roots ranging from allergens to bacteria, viruses, and a host of parasites. Glaucoma and conjunctivitis are notable medical conditions that are sure to leave unsightly tear stains on your pup’s face.
- Ingrown eyelashes are not preventable because it affects particular dogs due to its innate nature.
- Irregular dog ocular features because of genetic breeding. Dogs with shallow eye sockets, for instance, cannot fully enclose their eyes. The inability to do so irritates the eyes and leads to tearing.
- Irritants such as dust, smoke, and allergens are sure to tear up your puppy once exposed. The tears in such a scenario indicate the body’s defense mechanism coming into action to clear up foreign objects.
How Can You Remedy Tear Stains
While it can be challenging to control excessive tearing, the root cause of tear stains, you can still take care of the resultant stains. Since the pigment porphyrin is responsible for those unsightly streaks under your puppy’s eyes, merely managing their presence should go a long way in eliminating the stains.
Here are a couple of methods you should consider to remedy tear stains in your dogs
A readily available natural antibiotic, Tylosin, offers a quick solution to tearing problems in your dog. It is usually used to treat livestock infections. Tylosin excels in other areas as well and is a stellar anti-inflammatory product as well, especially in small animals.
You must consult with a vet before using medication on your dog. They are the experts and can recommend the right dosage according to your dog’s weight, health, and other parameters.
Follow Face Grooming Procedures
This is one of the surest ways to remove eye stains. It merely involves removing dried-up tears from your dog’s fur. Grooming eliminates stain-causing pigment porphyrin from the dog’s coat. It’s quite a straightforward measure and restores your animal’s beauty once more.
Besides the fur around your dog’s eyes, you could also flush their eyes. Go for an appropriate eye-wash dedicate to canines. Moisten a piece of cotton with the wash and rub around your dog’s face, on the underside mainly where the tears and stains collect.
If you don’t have any canine eye-wash, opt for a home-made mixture instead. Mix a tablespoon of boric acid in distilled water and ensure it is refrigerated. Reusing your homemade mix is not recommended, so making weekly batches should suffice.
Washing the hair around your dog’s muzzle also contributes to alleviating tears stains. Use dry or waterless shampoo coupled with a washcloth to rub it in.
Canines with a lot of fur around their faces are more at risk of tear stains. Therefore, consider trimming this region as often as the hair regrows. Doing so saves your puppy from irritation, tearing, and the subsequent stains that are left behind.
Offer High-Quality Food
They say you are what you eat, and this applies to your dog as well. Their physiological makeup depends on the type of dog food you are offering. Grain-rich diets are often inferior since dogs are carnivorous animals.
As a result, such low-quality food does not ensure long-term health, and dogs are prone to infections and allergic reactions. Dogs consuming these products are hence subject to excess tearing and ugly tear stains on their faces.
Consider a grain-free diet for the sake of your dog’s overall health and even appearance.
Avoid Moisture Buildup On Your Dog’s Face
This forms part of your puppy’s grooming and helps keep this area clean, dry, and free from stain-causing pigments. Additionally, other measures can be considered to prevent moisture buildup. For instance, you can opt for glass bottles when offering your dog water. It is also a good idea to have paper towels nearby to dab around your puppy’s muzzle.
Use Stainless Steel And Glass Food Bowls
Besides their high quality artistry, stainless steel and glass rarely develop cracks and crevices over time, unlike plastics. Plastic food bowls, no matter how shiny, will over time harbor bacteria and other microscopic disease-causing pathogens. These elements are situated in the right place to cause infections, especially to your dog’s facial structure, i.e., eyes, muzzle, nose, and so on.
Your puppy’s eyes are especially critical and can potentially contract infections, get irritated, and tear up. This eventually leads to tear stains. So throw out any plastic feeders.
Take Into Account The Water Quality Offered
Water that is high in mineral salts and particularly iron is not recommended for your pup. We have seen above how the pigment porphyrin is rich in iron, the element that lends color to dry up tears. Go for distilled water instead as it is low in minerals. Alternatively, consider running this water through a filter to remove some of the impurities.
Tear stains are an eyesore to many dog owners out there, and therefore, there is a need to get rid of these unappealing marks. Consider the steps explained in this article to clear tear marks from your dog’s face.
You will have noticed by now that it isn’t an extraordinary undertaking clearing tear stains. Clear away porphyrin from their faces, keep them dry and watch for infections.
Of importance, however, is that you must consult with your veterinarian before using any medicine such as Tylosin. Several issues stand out around the use of antibiotics like Tylosin. Your vet should give you sound advice on their usage.
Also, you might want to keep your dog’s face free from foreign objects. It is okay to let your kids play with them but do so as you monitor their interaction. Do not allow them to use any makeup, makeup remover, hydrogen peroxide, or any other concoction around your animal’s eyes.
Finally, tear stains are not a death sentence. You shouldn’t have to condemn your puppy to an ugly face when you can control the condition at home. Remember to seek a qualified vet’s opinion on the matter in case of any arising difficulties.