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Tear Stain Solution

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Causes and Solutions To Unsightly Eye Staining
by Shannon Lynnes, CMG, NCMG

As a professional groomer, I am often asked how to remove those awful eye
stains that some light-colored dogs are prone to. These dogs are easy to spot, with their
raccoon-like masks around their eyes. There are dozens of products on the market that claim
to take these stains away with regular usage. Be forewarned; they do not work. Unfortunately,
there is no magic potion that will remove the dark stains from around a pet's eyes.
Many different breeds suffer from excessive eye drainage. It is more noticeable with
lighter-colored dogs because of the hair color change that takes place. The telltale
reddish-brown stain is easy to spot, but hard to cure. As in many things, prevention is
the name of the game.

First, it is important to rule out any health problems that may be causing the eye irritation.
The purpose of tears in a dog's eye is to cleanse and lubricate the eye. If there is excessive
tearing, this may be caused by a medical condition that would need care from a veterinarian.
The first step in solving this dilemma is to rule out any health reasons for the tearing.
The reddish-brown stains are caused by iron in the dog's system. It actually dyes the hair
that color, just like a rust stain you might find on a recently laundered piece of clothing.
These stains can show up not only around the eyes, but around the dog's mouth, too, or also
in any area that he might be licking excessively. The saliva acts like the tears, staining
the rust color permanently onto the dog's coat.

One of the easiest ways to reduce staining is to give the dog only distilled water to drink.
This is an old trick used by many white poodle breeders to reduce the staining problem, and
it is usually very effective. Filtered water will not work; it must be distilled water, and
it must be given to the dog consistently. Other things can contribute to staining also.
Some of the inexpensive commercial dog foods contain high levels of food coloring, which can
also add to the staining problem as well. Feeding a premium quality food with fewer dyes and
preservatives can sometimes dramatically reduce the staining.

In addition to the unattractive appearance of the staining, often the eye matter collects and
dries around the dog's eyes, leaving a hard lump in the corner of the eye. Not only is this
unsightly, but, if left untreated over time, it can become quite odorous and the area around
the eyes can become infected. This can be horribly painful for the animal, and usually means
a trip to the veterinarian for oral and topical antibiotic treatments.

Finally, there are other common sense issues that can indeed help with the staining problem.
Keeping the dogs face clipped short is an obvious solution. If the hair around the eyes is short,
the tears then don't have anything to cling to. Also, wiping the dog's face two or three times
per day with a warm washcloth will do wonders in reducing the amount and severity of the staining.

Categories: Tips, Information