How to Prevent Dog Eye Stains

Easy
10 - 15 Minute
1 Day

Introduction

There is nothing more beautiful than a well-groomed pup with white hair, that is unless your pup happens to have stains underneath his eyes. In some cases, these stains can be the result of certain health issues, caused by nutritional issues, or the result of breeding that has occurred over countless generations. The good news is that in most instances, there is a way to prevent these unsightly stains from appearing. With the right care, most of these stains can be removed. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes before you attempt any preventative measures. 

Dog's Perspective

Your pup's tears are his eye's natural response to some form of irritant and are attempting to wash whatever irritant is bothering them. When excessive tearing, known as epiphora, reaches the point at which it has become chronic, this excessive quantity of tears can become a breeding ground for a variety of bacteria and yeast, which only serve to make the problem worse. In time, a red stain caused by a pigment called porphyrin begins to form under his eyes. 

The Understanding Tear Stains Method

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Step
1
Start at the vet's office
The first part of gaining control over your pup's tears is to take your pup in to see his vet. There are several medical conditions that can lead to this problem. Once these have been ruled out, you can continue on with other methods of stain removal and prevention.
Step
2
Examine the tear ducts
Your pup's eyes produce tears in order to keep the surface of his eyes properly moistened and wash away dust and debris. The tears should drain away via the tear ducts, but when they become blocked, your vet may need to remove the blockage.
Step
3
Look for narrowing of the ducts
It is also possible for your pup's tear ducts to become narrower due to an infection that may require antibiotics to reduce the infection and allow the tear ducts to return to their proper size. Bear in mind that the narrowing may be possible due to the breed of your dog or the actual condition causing this problem.
Step
4
Flush his eyes
If your pup has narrow tear ducts (common in breeds such as Bichon Frises, Chihuahuas, and poodles), your vet may be able to spread them out with a saline flush, but this may not help. Your vet is the only one who can tell you whether stretching the tear ducts is a good idea or not.
Step
5
Keep his eyes clean
Finally, there are medicated pads you can buy from your vet or local pet supply store that can be used to wipe your pup's eyes every two or three hours or as needed to keep the stains from building up. Your vet can also advise you on their proper use, be sure to follow his instructions very carefully to avoid problems.
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The Reduction Method

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Step
1
Keep his eyes wiped regularly
One of the most important things you can do to help reduce or eliminate the stains under your pup's eyes is to keep them wiped clean on a regular basis. You can do this with either vet prescribed medications or over the counter products.
Step
2
Use a cotton swab
Often, you can remove large amounts of crust using your fingers, but one the crust has dried completely you may need to use a cotton ball that has been soaked in water that has been boiled and then cooled. Do not use straight tap or bottled water as it may contain parasites, viruses, and chemicals that can cause significant injury to your pup's eyes and sight.
Step
3
Soak the crustiness
Use the cotton ball to soak the dry, crusty buildup in the corner of his eyes until you can easily remove it using your fingers. You need to be very gentle and keep the cotton out of your pup's eyes to avoid damage.
Step
4
Be careful with using over-the-counter cleaning products
If you are going to use an over the counter cleaning product, be sure to read the warning labels and follow the instructions very carefully. Some of these products contain chemicals that may cause damage to your pup's eyes or the skin surrounding them.
Step
5
Never use peroxide
You should never use hydrogen peroxide clean the area around your dog's eyes as it can cause serious damage to his sight. If you cannot get the stain cleaner to remove the stains and keep them at bay, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet to rule out any medical conditions. Only once this is done should you attempt to the area around his eyes.
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Caution & Considerations

  • First and foremost, be sure to have your vet take a good look at your pup's eyes to ensure there isn't a medical cause of his excessive tears.
  • Have your vet check for conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and uveitis.
  • Follow any treatments your vet recommends very carefully to avoid any risk of injury to your pup's eyes.
  • Keep the fur around his eyes trimmed back to reduce the risk or irritation that can lead to excessive tearing.
  • If your dog keeps scratching and pawing at his eyes, you may need to use an Elizabethan collar (aka the "cone of shame") to prevent him from scratching his eyes and damaging them.
  • Be very careful with any cleaning products you choose as many contain chemicals that can damage your pup's eyes.
  • For the best results, use cleaning supplies obtained from your vet and follow his instructions very carefully. 

Conclusion

While the staining itself is not likely to cause your pup any lasting problems, it can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Be sure you take your pup into the vet's for a complete checkup before you embark on any course of treatment to rule out any underlying medical causes. Beyond this, make sure you keep your pup's eyes clean using a warm washcloth or cotton ball soaked in cooled water that has been boiled. 

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