The 5 most Common Reasons for Dog Tear Stains


A beautiful white maltese with beard and tear stains

If you’ve ever seen a dog with red or brown marks in the areas around and just under the eyes, you’ve seen a dog that is suffering from tear staining . The staining can matte around the dog’s eyes and leave a gooey, thick mess that is hard to clean. Most people assume that the stains are caused by excessive moisture from the dog’s eyes and that they’re just a fact of life. In fact though, tear stains have many different causes, and figuring out the root of the problem could end up saving you some work and also improve your dog’s life.

1.) Ear Infections

Tear staining can be linked back to ear infections, so it’s important to keep your dog’s ears as clean and dry as possible. If you notice that your dog is getting a lot of ear infections which also coincide with excessive tearing, the two are probably related. Use a good cleansing product to make sure the ears are clean and your dog’s tear stains might be reduced as a result.

2.) Allergies

Dogs can experience reactions to thing just like humans, and tear staining can often be a reaction to allergens or irritants. In fact, some dogs will suffer reactions to their food which will change the pH level in your dog’s system which in turn can cause excessive tearing. If you notice that your dog’s tear stains get worse in certain situations than it might be an environmental factor that is adding to the problem.

3.) Blocked Tear Ducts

Some dogs are born with tear ducts that are closed which need to be surgically opened by a vet, but this isn’t the only way a duct can be blocked. At times, a dog can develop clogged tear ducts which can add to excessive tearing, and unfortunately, a trip to the vet will be needed to irrigate the ducts. Luckily, this isn’t a very common problem, but if you suspect clogged tear ducts, it should be taken care of, lest your dog suffer unnecessarily.

4.) Red Yeast

One of the biggest causes of tear staining is from a dog having an excessive amount of tears. This high level of moisture can keep the hair around the face wet, which then becomes an area where bacteria can breed. One of the most common forms of this bacteria is called Red Yeast, which causes a yeast infection around the eyes and leads to the brownish-red stains that you sometimes see on dogs.

5.) Water

Some waters contain a high mineral content, which can cause staining on a dog’s entire face and beard. A lot of moisture can remain on the face trapped in the hairs after a dog drinks, which can be moved to eye level by the dog trying to lick his face clean. And, if the mineral content is high, it will increase the level of red-brown staining on a dog’s face. If you notice both tear stains and a discolored beard, try switching your dog’s water to combat the problem.

Red or brown tear stains are not attractive to look at, and they can be a symptom of a larger problem. If your dog has excessive staining around they eyes and on its face, it might be worth looking into what the cause of the staining is.

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  1. My chihuahua her right eye watery and stained red underneath what could it be

  2. She may have an infection or picked up some debris. Take to Vet. On the subject of Tear Stains – I own a Maltese and have the same problem. We used a great product from Tippy Toes Pet Boutique at Amazon – it was just over Ten Bucks

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