White Dog Woes: How to Treat Stubborn Tear Stains

August 27, 2017


This is for all the pet parents out there with dogs plagued by annoying tear stains.  Keeping a snowy white dog pristine and clean is a full-time job, and those tear stains are so stubborn!  Before we tackle how to treat those reddish brownish stains on your pooch’s face, it’s worth discussing the cause.  


What Causes Tear Stains?

Breeds with short snouts and protruding eyes have a genetic disposition that causes the excessive production of tears.  There are also medical reasons for excessive tearing, including an ingrown eyelash, allergies and second-hand smoke. When tears, which contain porphyrins, sit on light-colored fur, a reddish colored staining will occur and darken when exposed to sunlight. Porphyrins are naturally occurring molecules containing iron that dogs remove from the body through tears, saliva, and urine.



Preventing tear stains comes down to reducing the amount of porphyrin production in your dog. If your tap water happens to be high in mineral content or iron, consider giving the dog bottled water, or use a filter to create cleaner water. A higher quality diet can also help reduce porphyrin production in some dogs. Read the label on your dog’s food and talk to your veterinarian before making a switch.



The primary treatment for tear stains is proper grooming and maintenance of your dog’s face.  Wipe your dog’s face with a damp cloth twice a day to remove excessive tears, and keep regular appointments with the groomer. It’s key to keep the hair around the eyes trimmed to avoid added irritation and tearing.


Here are some additional tips to try in between visits to the groomer:

  1. Moisten a cotton ball with a contact lens solution or liquid vitamin C and rub around the eye area.

  2. Give your dog a mini facial. Wash your pup’s face with dry shampoo and a wet washcloth. Then wipe his/her face using a paper towel moistened with 3% hydrogen peroxide.

  3. The product Angel Eyes is a supplement given to dogs to help with this very issue. Do some research on the product and talk to your vet to see if your pup could benefit.



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120 Wexford Bayne Road  |  Wexford, PA  |  15090

(724) 719-2788  |  woof@soggydoggyshop.com

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