How to Get Rid of Tear Stains on Maltese Dogs
Animal file: Maltese
There are various small white dog breeds which have become very popular as companion animals. Not only are they wonderful companions to a whole range of family types, but their beautiful white coat makes them aesthetically very pleasing. Unfortunately, such brilliant whiteness needs extra careful attention since it will stain easily. Many white dog breeds have the same issue when it comes to their eyes. Natural leakage of fluid from their tear duct creates stains around the eye on their white fur.
In this AnimalWised article, we reveal how to get rid of tear stains on Maltese dogs. Not only will it help whiten the eye area of a dog, but it will help promote hygiene and avoid eye problems which can stem from bacteria around the eye.
Why does my Maltese have tear stains?
While white dog breeds have the most visible tear stains around their eyes, they are not the only ones prone to this condition. Yorkshire Terriers (or Yorkies) are also known to deal with this issue. In fact, many dogs of all breeds will have some sort of stain around their eyes, but they are simply not as visible as a white-coated dog like the Maltese.
The brown stains which occur around the Maltese dog's eyes are not generally serious and the biggest result is the effect on their physical appearance. Fluid from the tear ducts will seep out, leaving traces of iron, magnesium and other minerals which constitute part of the tears. When the fluid comes in contact with the air it oxidizes, leaving the brown stains which can give the dog a somewhat sad appearance.
Problems occur when the tearing is excessive or the hair around their eyes is always wet. It can cause fungi and bacteria to develop. These both make the stains darker and pose a possible threat to their health if the eye becomes infected. In this case, you may see green discharge from their eye along with the tear stains.
An increase in seepage from the tear duct which leads to staining can be due to various reasons, including:
- Allergies: as with people, dogs can be allergic to almost anything. Allergies affect the dogs in various ways, but increased amount of tears is one possible symptom. You can also look for other symptoms such as scratching themselves. If you believe your dog to have allergies, you will need to take them to the veterinarian to determine the cause and remove it from the animal's environment.
- Nasolacrimal duct obstruction: something may be blocking their tear duct, a relatively common problem in the Maltese breed. Regular cleaning of the eye areas will help to avoid this problem, whether you do it at home or ask the groomer to take care of it.
- Primary tooth loss: in Maltese puppies it is very common for the loss of milk teeth to tighten the nasolacrimal duct and result in more tears. If this is the reason, it will likely stop when all of their adult teeth have developed.
- Nutritional deficiencies: what your dog eats and drinks is vitally important for their health. If they are not ingesting the right about of vitamins, protein and other nutrients they require to stay health, it can affect their eyes.
These problems can happen to almost any dog, but we may not notice the stains as easily. To know more specifics about this breed, you can look at the most common diseases of Maltese dogs.
How to get rid of Maltese tear stains
To whiten the eyes of a Maltese and remove their tear stains, you need to ensure their general hygiene is maintained. Remove any obvious build up regularly and prevent any foreign objects from coming in contact with the area. Irritation from dust, debris or almost anything can irritate and obstruct the nasolacrimal duct.
Maltese dogs often have very long bangs (a fringe of hair) which can fall over their eyes. The hair can irritate their eyes and cause them to water more than usual. For this reason, either have a groomer cut their hair regularly or keep it in a ponytail which prevents it from entering their eyes.
If your Maltese already has developed tear stains, then the best way to get rid of them is using the following tips:
- Distilled water: this is water which has both contaminants and minerals removed, so it is ideal to clean your Maltese eyes. Add some to a clean piece of gauze and gently wipe the stains. Bottled water may be a suitable alternative, but check the type just in case.
- Apple cider vinegar: add a teaspoon to your dog's water bowl. This way the tears become more acidic, helping to prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria that darken the tear duct.
- Chamomile: this is a natural lightener. You can wash your dog's tear duct every day with a gauze soaked in cold chamomile infusion to gradually remove the brown color from around the eye.
- Rose water: like chamomile, it is a natural lightener and we can wash our dog's tear tears stains daily with a soft gauze soaked in rose water to clarify it.
- Whitening products: in pet stores we find a multitude of cleaners created specifically to whiten the tear duct of dogs.
Food supplement with antibiotics: this remedy can only be prescribed by the veterinarian. It is only for dogs with serious problems with tear stains. Don't use it unless you have been explicitly told to by a vet.
What not to do when cleaning a Maltese dog's eyes
As you can see from the above tips to removing tear stains from the Maltese dog are gentle and non-abrasive. Although you should not get chamomile or rose water in the dog's eyes, they are natural products which shouldn't cause much irritation. However, some dog guardians may go too far in trying to whiten their Maltese's eyes by using inappropriate substances. You should never:
- Use irritants: although a kitchen spray or surface cleaner might be effective in getting rid of bacteria, it is not safe to use near a dog's eye. As careful as we might be, we can easily get some into the eye of the cat. Even if we don't put it close to the eye, the moisture can help it travel. They can also harm the dog's skin and cause dermatitis.
- Dye the hair: the only way you can whiten the eyes of a Maltese is to keep them clean. You cannot try to dye them with products as this can be very dangerous. If any were to get into the dog's eyes it can cause blindness.
- Overgroom: it is important the dog has some hair around their eyes. It helps to keep them healthy. You can trim some of the dog's hair, but don't overdo it. Especially don't shave the areas.
As we have stated above, in the majority of cases the stains on a Maltese dog's eyes will not cause any problems. If you have tried the tips above, but they still have some discoloration, it is perfectly normal. You may end up causing the dog harm if you try to get a perfectly white eye area. If you think the dog's health is affected, take them to a veterinarian for evaluation.
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