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March 5, 2022

How Do You Remove Dog Tear Stains? 5 Ways to Prevent and Treat Dog Tear Staining

Simba, one super cute maltipoo was in recently for his regular bath and brush out and while his tear staining is quite minimal, his mum asked if there was anything they could do to help prevent or remove.

As it’s a question that regularly comes up, we thought it was worth sharing our top tips  on how to remove dog tear stains naturally.

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What are Dog Tear Stains?

The medical term for excessive tear production is known as Epiphora. Epiphora is the inability to properly drain tears. Often the canal (tear duct) which is supposed to carry the fluid away from the eye is congested and blocked resulting in an overflow of tears escaping from the lower eyelid. As the area is constantly wet, stains result, normally starting from the inner eye.

These ‘Tear stains’ are typically reddish or dark marks that show on a dogs fur beneath your dog’s eyes. You’ll spot this more on dogs that are white or light in colour and certain breeds can suffer more with this.  There can sometimes there may be discharge too


What Causes Dog Tear Stains?

While there are a host of reasons behind tear statins, the most common reasons include:

#1 Breed Genetics

Maltese, Lahsa Aspso’s. Bichons and Shih Tzus are the most common breeds we notice in our dog salon who suffer from tear stains.  There is def a common theme and as mentioned above, it is more noticeable on lighter colours within those breeds.

#2 Irritation or Allergies

As a dog owner, you’ll know that if your dogs eyes have been irritated they can use their paws to rub their face, or rub their face against other items (Hope does this when she’s just out of the bath!!).   Some suffer from seasonal allergies which can make dog tear stains worse but food and other environmental allergies can cause the tear duct to swell and block producing dog tear stains.

#3 Infection

Whether cause by an irritation or other, fungal and bacteria infections can cause the skin below the eye to build up tears.  This itself ca result in yeast infections due to the increased moisture in the area.  Thus why it’s important to try and clean tear staining too (not just for aesthetics).



5 Ways to Prevent and Treat Dog Tear Staining

It’s worth remembering that dog tear stains can be more common in puppies and may naturally stop/reduce but also that tear stains are purely aesthetic and that most of the discolouration of the fur isn’t permanent.

However, if the fur has been stained for some time, even doing the below may not remove fully and you may need to grow out the hair and for it to be trimmed at your next groom before it is removed completely.

#1 Consider Your Dogs Diet

Sometimes a change to higher quality food or protein can aid.  Try to eliminate food groups/specific proteins to see if this helps. It may take time but lots of our raw dog food customers qutoe this as a benefit of changing to raw.

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#2 Change to Filtered Water

Verity Hardcastle, Poodle Owner/Breeder and Master Groomer/TV Judge has recommended this simple change many times over on her Instagram page.


#3 Wipe away those tears frequently

Using a a gentle, slightly damp cotton wool pad or cloth. You will need to do this at least daily (and probably more than once a day!). However it is super effective.


#4 Add a Tear Stain Treatment Onto Your Next Dog Groom

Most dog groomers will offer spa treatments specifically tailored to removing dog tear stains.  Whether it’s a blueberry facials or other natural remover, these typically work best when followed up at home with these other tips.

Just holler if you’d like to add this onto your groom with us!


#5 Use a Natural Tear Stain Treatment/Eye Cleaner

Perosnally we love Wildwash Tear Stain remover which ,you can find HEREand can be used at home. Again to see any impact, its likely that you’ll need to use at least daily to see an improvement.


BUT… Do Not Use DIY Treatments to Remove Dog Tear Stains

As always we’d never recommend DIY methods we often see posted in fb groups (vinegar/apple cider, whitening shampoos etc) – please do be super careful about what you use around a dogs eyes and there are lots of natural ways to help!



So, How Do You Remove Dog Tear Stains?

So while there are genetics and diff causes to tear stains, some small changes can have an impact and help remove those reddish/brown stains.

We hope that our tips help and no matter how bad those tear stains look, using the diy methods are super dangerous to your friends eyes! So please stop and think before doing so.

Don’t forget to consult with your vet if you are concerned about excessive tear staining – this may help rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Otherwise, a little bit of patience and frequent care of those precious eyes, should help reduce and/or prevent over the longer term.

Vicky (and Millie and Hope too) xx

p.s has your friend suffered with tear staining? Have any of these methods helped? Jump into the comments to let us know!


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