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Your Dog's Health: Tear Stains

Tearstains Tear stains -- those unsightly, rust-colored discolorations that appear in the corners of dogs' eyes -- are common in many dogs and will probably appear at least once in a dog's lifetime, whether the dog is purebred or mixed breed, furry or smooth-coated, and with a light-colored or dark-colored coat. Of course, the stains tend to show up more prominently on dogs with white faces, and they do seem to be more common in smaller dogs.
These stains are caused by excessive tearing and generally are not harmful. The excessive tearing keeps the hair under the eye wet, and that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. In fact, the reddish-brown stain you may notice could be the result of a "Red Yeast" infection.
Chronic tear stains can be a sign of other conditions. While a visit to the vet is advisable to determine the exact cause, these are some of the possible causes:
  • Clogged or infected tear ducts
  • Eye infections (bacterial or yeast)
  • Irritants in the air, such as smoke, room deodorizers, or pollen dust
  • Low-quality commercial dog food which contains additives, preservatives, or beef pulp
  • Teething (in puppies)
  • Female dogs in heat.
Remedies for Tear Stains 
If you've determined the cause (with help from your vet if needed), you can begin a program to keep the staining under control. There are two basic kinds of solutions to the problem: topical products and internal products.
Topical products are applied daily, directly to the stained area. The best known topical product, endorsed by vets and groomers, is Eye Envy, a safe and gentle externally applied cleanser that comes in a liquid solution and powder. For more information, visit:
Internal products treat the problem via dietary intake. The best known internal product is Angels' Eyes, a safe, wheat- and dye-free formula that is sprinkled on your dog's food. For more information, visit:
This article originally appeared in Clippings, the Bandanas Mobile Grooming newsletter.


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If your dog is allergic to Angels Eyes, I've heard that you can use human eye drops to help with tearing. You should always ask your vet first, though. Also, make sure your dog is eating a well-balanced diet.

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