How to Avoid Dog Tear Stains

Dog Tear Stains
With Tear Stains Tear Stain Free

If you have a light or white colored dog, you probably know what dog tear stains look like. Here are 2 photos, the one on the left has dog tear stains and the one on the right has none.

Typically it’s not a major health issue, however tear stains can make your dog look sick &/or dirty. It’s much more common in certain breeds (e.g. Shih-tzu, Maltese, Spaniels, Poodles, Westies).

Kobi - tear stain free
Kobi tear stain free

The condition is caused by tears that pour out of the eyes onto the fur, i.e. excess tear production. When the area around the eyes stays moist due to excessive tearing, red yeast bacteria start to develop which results in the staining. In most cases, the problem is only cosmetic, and not an indication of a health problem. To be on the safe side, check with your vet. There are other tear stain causes such as blocked tear ducts, shallow eye sockets, hair growth around the eye and eyelids that turn inward. Various allergies can also be responsible for it.

My dog, Kobi, occasionally has a tear stain issue. I purchased Angel Eyes because the reviews looked fairly good. I realized there was an antibiotic in the product, but I figured I would see if it had any affect. In Kobi’s case, this product did not work (i.e. there was no real change with tear stains) and as such, can’t recommend it.

Kobi has various allergies (e.g. grass, trees, mold), which likely contributes to tearing. Some people recommend changing your dog‘s diet (e.g. to a premium dog food). I imagine this is because your dog could have a food allergy &/or have a bad reaction to fillers often put in dog food. While Kobi has always eaten premium dog food, we did switch him to grain free dog food and it appears to have reduced his allergy symptoms.

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Face Grooming Comb
Face Grooming Comb – We Use It Daily

How to Avoid Tear Stains

Clean the eye area regularly. Especially in the morning, look for that eye “goop” and clean it. It’s just like cleaning the “sand” out of your own eye. We have a face/finishing comb which features tightly spaced stainless steel pins to rid the “goop” from the hair around the eye and it helps a lot! If you can clean the tear duct area before it spills onto the fur, you can avoid the tear stains. It’s become a part of our daily routine and generally keeps tear stains at bay.

If tear stains start to build, then clip the fur just below the eye. I usually just clip the stained portion. I don’t use any other types of products for tear stains. I have not found any cleaning product that can get the stain out of their hair (including Vitacoat Diamond Eye), which is why I recommend just clipping when those stains appear.

1 thought on “How to Avoid Dog Tear Stains”

  1. We were on Reddit and saw some other alternative solutions. Note we haven’t tried these ourselves, but they might be helpful:
    From: googoogoojoob Bouvier, Poodle:
    “Boric acid solutions like Johnsons Diamond Eyes lighten the red color to pink, but then sunlight darkens it again. Other topical solutions like Eye Envy work better on some dogs and worse on others. Cosmetic coverups like Chris Christensen white chalk and Bio Groom Stain Free are effective but they wash off.”

    From: mrsdrjeff:
    “We started giving our dog yogurt daily as a treat (frozen in a Kong) and noticed his eye staining was greatly reduced. Worth a shot!”


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