How to manage tear stains in dogs
How to manage tear stains in dogs
Struggling with tear stains on your white or light dog? As a professional groomer, I see many, many dogs that display unsightly tear stains and spots on their beards. In addition, some of these dogs even discolor their feet, legs and body with the saliva they leave on their fur from licking and chewing.
Possible causes of tear stains
The coloring is usually reddish in color and sometimes emits an odor. It is important to try to determine the cause of the staining. Some possible reasons are:
* genetic predisposition
* high mineral content in drinking water
* eye infection
* ear infection
* irritating eyelashes or hair that rub into the eye
* fungal infection (from the area around the eye that remains wet)
* blocked tear ducts
* parasites such as fleas and mites
You should consult your veterinarian or groomer to try to narrow down the potential cause of the tear discoloration. Once you’ve ruled out some of the more obvious medical conditions like infections, extra eyelashes, and blocked tear ducts, you’ll be able to tackle the conditions you may have control over.
If your dog is experiencing ear irritation or infection, there is a high chance of the infection going all the way through his body and causing a host of problems all over. Many dogs that we see that have tear stains are also affected by inner ear infections. So be sure to confirm that your dog’s ears are clean and free of infection. Your vet will prescribe the appropriate ear drops and/or antibiotics. You will need to be diligent in treating the ears as prescribed to relieve the condition.
HOW TO DEAL WITH NON-MEDICATED TEARS
Dog owners should evaluate the food they feed their pets and make sure they are using a high quality dog food that is not high in sugar, salt, preservatives and chemicals. If you feed your dog canned food, consider introducing a high-quality dry food to ensure optimal nutrition.
The next item 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 color. A popular suggestion recently is to train your dog to drink from a water bottle (thus preventing water with a high mineral content from getting stuck on the coat). Another idea is to use distilled water.
There are several products currently on the market that address the problem of tear stains. Many of these products contain a percentage of antibiotic. Unless you are 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 STAIN MANAGEMENT NATURALLY
There are two possible solutions for tear staining that can easily be applied. 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 can adjust to the taste. 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 each day. Customers who have tried this method have found that tear stains clear up in three to four weeks.
In any case, please consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions, allergies, or infections that may be the cause of your dog’s tear staining. Once you rule out these options, you can turn to the other options. Always consult your veterinarian when trying a new regimen.
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