If your dog is not bothered by his tear stains, why should you be?
According to veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly, tear stains are just “a pesky cosmetic problem and usually not a significant health care issue”.
Let’s look at how tear stains are formed.
When the body breaks down red blood cells, dye-containing molecules are produced as a by-product. This by-product is mainly excreted through bile and the intestinal tract and especially in dogs, a significant amount is present in the saliva, tears and urine.
When the by-product containing tears and saliva rests on light coloured fur, staining results. The reddish-brown color is intensified under sunlight.
So for doggies who love to lick their paws, you get free stained paws!
And.. for doggies who love to lick their lips clean, you get free lipstick.
But wait! Don’t dogs have tear ducts to drain tears from their eyes?
Yes they do have tear ducts. However, there are some issues that dogs “inherit” over the many generations of “creative” breeding.
- Shallow eye sockets – If the eye sockets aren’t big or deep enough, tears can spill out onto the fur around the eyes.
- Eyelids that are turned inward – If the eyelid is rolled in toward the eyeball, the drainage holes for tears may become blocked.
- Hair growth around the eye – If hair grows too close to the eye, it can wick tears away from the eye and onto the face.
- Blocked tear drainage holes – Previous eye infections or eye damage can cause scar tissue to form that blocks some of the drainage passages for tears.
Okay! Now I understand about tear staining and how it does not harm my dog, except aesthetically. Could you advise on how I can reduce the stains then?
I would advise you to keep the surrounding area of your dog’s eyes clear of fur and clean your dog’s eyes, mouth and paws regularly. I always highlight to my clients that in order for a product to be so effective in removing tear stains from your dog within minutes, it must be really strong and who knows, harmful if not used correctly. So why not spend that extra few minutes a day to clean your dog?