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How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 17, 2017
How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs

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Have you noticed brown or red stains under your dog's eyes? It is probably the result of epiphora, the scientific name for what happens when there is excessive weeping. This doesn't mean crying in the human sense; it happens when tear ducts are obstructed, owing to a poor diet or even an allergy.

Iron, magnesium and other minerals oxidize when they come into contact with air, as it happens when dogs cry. This creates a dark shadow that makes your pet look sad. Furthermore, the damp fur or hair can cause the apparition of fungi and bacteria, further darkening the stains.

Because of this, we at AnimalWised will offer you a series of tips on how to get rid of tear stains in dogs. for getting rid of dog tear stains.

You may also be interested in: Types of Dog Brushes and Combs
  1. What causes tear stains?
  2. Products to remove dark tear stains
  3. Natural remedies to get rid of dark tear stains

What causes tear stains?

Before using any product for the first time, you should make sure that it does not pose a health problem. As such, we recommend that you consult a trusted vet, who will explain why your dog cries and will find a solution with you. Some of the possible causes for epiphora include:

  • Obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct
    It tends to happen in small molosser dogs such as Pugs, although it can also occur in larger breeds such Boxers. If that is indeed the reason, the vet will perform a regular cleaning to prevent it from occurring.
  • Allergies
    If the problem occurs after the introduction of a new food to your dog's diet, you should start considering if your dog is suffering from any type of allergy. Soy or corn can sometimes provoke unwanted reactions. You can rule out these allergies by going to the vet so they can perform the relevant tests. Check out our article on homeopathy for dogs with allergies.
  • Nutritional deficiencies
    Do you know what your dog really needs? Read up and analyse whether the products you're giving to your pet contain all the required vitamins and proteins.

Remember that dark marks under the eye are common in white dogs, older dogs and small breeds such as Chihuahuas or Shih-Tzus.

How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs - What causes tear stains?

Products to remove dark tear stains

You'll find countless products on the market which are fairly effective in treating your dog's tear stains. Their composition is based on a chemical antioxidant which gradually eliminates the darkness around its eyes. It's imperative that you follow the instructions listed on the back of the product carefully, and make sure the product doesn't come into contact with its eyes during application.

Application can be carried out through gentle rubbing with a thin gauze pad, using a different one for each eye. Dry afterwards with warm cloth or paper. Take into account that you may need to repeat the cleaning once or twice a day, depending on the severity of the case.

How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs - Products to remove dark tear stains

Natural remedies to get rid of dark tear stains

In addition to the chemical products available on the market, you can aid the removal of the unwanted stains that make your dog's fur look dirty yourself. Here's a short list of natural remedies you can try:

  • Water with low mineral content
    If you give your pet water with fewer minerals, it will enhance the disappearance of dark tear stains.
  • Hygiene
    Regularly check your dog's eyes to make sure that they are free of any unwanted hair or objects. You should also make sure that you dry its eyes and regularly clean its environment and toys to avoid the proliferation of bacteria.
  • Apple cider vinegar
    Add a tablespoon to your dog's water, which will make it acidic.
How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs - Natural remedies to get rid of dark tear stains

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1 comment
Cindy Britton
How can I stop my Bichon Frise from itching. I think all it is, is dry skin. I thought I would give him a bath and then put some really good masque for hair and let it stand on for a while. Really thick would be my choice to ensure it gives his skin some moisture. What do you think?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Cindy,

There are various reasons a dog would need to scratch. You can check them out for yourself here:

Since there are so many possible reasons, it might not be as simple as bathing them. Taking them to a veterinarian for diagnosis would be best.
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How to Get Rid of Tear Stains in Dogs