Struggling with tear stains on your white or light colored dog? As a professional groomer, I see many, many dogs that have unsightly tear and beard stains. Additionally, some of these dogs will even stain their feet, legs, and body with the saliva they leave on their fur from licking and chewing.
Possible causes of tear stains
The coloration is usually reddish in color and sometimes emits an odor. It is important to try to determine the cause of the discoloration. Some possible causes are:
* genetic predisposition
* high mineral content in drinking water
* Eye infection
* Ear infection
* Irritating eyelashes or hair rubbing against the eye
* Yeast infection (from the area around the eye that stays moist)
* Clogged tear ducts
* Parasites such as fleas and mites
You should consult your veterinarian or groomer to try to narrow down the possible cause of the tear stains. Once you’ve ruled out some of the obvious medical conditions like infections, extra eyelashes, and blocked tear ducts, you can address the conditions that you may have control over.
When your dog develops an ear irritation or infection, the infection has often spread throughout the body, causing several problems. Many dogs that we see with tear stains are also affected by inner ear infections. So make sure your dog’s ears are clean and free of infection. Your vet will prescribe the appropriate ear drops and/or antibiotics. You must carefully treat the ears as prescribed to alleviate the condition.
HOW TO TREAT TEAR COLOR THAT IS NOT MEDICALLY INDUCED
Dog owners need to evaluate the food they feed their pets and make sure they’re using a quality dog food that isn’t rampant with sugar, salt, preservatives, and chemicals. If you feed your dog canned food, consider introducing a quality dry food to ensure optimal nutrition.
The next point to look closely at is the water your dog is drinking. Tap water can be high in minerals and well water can be high in various elements such as copper and iron, which can contribute to tear stains. A popular suggestion lately is to teach your dog to drink from a water bottle (thus preventing highly mineral water from sitting on the coat). Another idea is to use distilled water.
There are currently several products on the market that address the problem of tear staining. Many of these products contain a percentage of antibiotics. Unless you’re specifically dealing with an infection in your dog’s eyes or ears, it would be wise to discuss the effects of prolonged antibiotic use with your veterinarian.
TEAR SPOTS MANAGEMENT NATURALLY
There are two possible tear stain solutions that can be easily implemented. The first is to add a small amount of white vinegar (1 teaspoon) to your pet’s water. Start with a smaller amount in the water until your pet gets used to the taste. The vinegar changes the pH of the water.
Second, include 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese (yes, like the Philadelphia brand) in your dog’s food or as a treat daily. Customers who have tried this method have found that the tear stains are gone in three to four weeks.
In any case, check with your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions, allergies, or infections that could be causing your dog’s tear stains. Once you’ve ruled out those possibilities, you can move on to the other options. Always check with your vet when trying a new regimen.
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