If the beauty of your dog’s face is marred by rusty red streaks caused by dog tear stains, schedule a veterinary examination before using a dog tear stain remover. Many eye diseases and conditions can cause dog tears and resolving the underlying issue is better for your dog’s health and comfort.
If your dog suffers from red eyes, eye discharge or any of the following conditions, getting treatment for them may resolve your tear-staining issue:
- Corneal ulcer or injury
- Foreign bodies
- Glaucoma (elevated intraocular pressure)
- Distichiasis (extra eyelashes that rub on the cornea)
- Entropion (rolled eyelids causing haired skin to rub the cornea)
- Tear duct obstruction
Why Is My Dog Crying?
While widely believed not possible in the same sense as human tears, a 2022 study published in Current Biology may have changed that thinking. The researchers found that a dog’s tear volume increased when the dog felt positive emotions, such as during a reunion with their owner. The researchers believe “emotion-elicited tears can facilitate human-dog emotional connections.”
Tear Stain Prevention
If your veterinarian confirms your dog’s eyes are healthy, here are some simple things you can try to prevent and/or remove tear stains before trying a dog tear stain remover:
- Keep long hairs on the face or near the eyes trimmed back. Long hairs rubbing on the eyes are very irritating. Long hairs around the eyes also wick tears down the face, worsening tear staining.
- Cleanse your dog’s periocular (around the eyes) area at least once a day. Use a moistened cotton ball or cloth. Eye wash solutions containing boric acid can be safely used. Never use hydrogen peroxide near your dog’s eyes.
- Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly onto the hairs near the inside corner of the eyes after cleansing. This helps keep the tear pigment from penetrating the hairs, which helps minimize staining.
Food Allergies and Tear Stains
Because food allergies can cause excessive tearing, you can try changing your dog’s diet. There are many hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diets out there to try. Probiotics, which are good for your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and general health anyway, have been purported to help minimize tear staining, so they are well worth a try.
Best Dog Tear-Stain Remover
The most popular and widely known commercially available dog tear stain remover for eliminating and preventing tear staining is Angel Eyes, currently manufactured by H & C Animal Health. Years ago, this product gained popularity because it really did work! The active ingredient was antibiotic, initially tetracycline followed by tylosin.
The FDA eventually cracked down on the use of these antibiotics for tear staining in dogs. Without tetracycline or tylosin, the product is less effective. The more recent addition of cranberry extract, which has bioflavonoids that alter bacteria’s ability to stick to body tissues, may help. It should help with any odor associated with tear staining.
Tear-Stain Home Remedies
There are many anecdotal reports of this or that helping with tear staining, such as adding buttermilk flour, parsley flakes, or apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food.
Before trying anything, including commercially available dog tear stain removers, always talk to your veterinarian. And remember, provided any underlying medical conditions have been ruled out, tear stains, while unattractive, are not harmful to your dog.