Tears stains may be the result of numerous causes, but they definitely create a cosmetic problem -- especially in white dogs. Regardless of coat coloring, staining means an underlying cause needs treatment. Dogs with all-white coats require removing the stains, too.
The causes of tear stains vary, ranging from irritation to allergies to infection. The most common cause is excess tear production, often due to blocked tear ducts. Other common causes include eye shape, abnormal eyelids, excessive or long facial hair, bacterial or fungal infections, eye irritations, food allergies and heavy mineral presence in the water your dog drinks.
Treatment and Prevention
If tear stains are a regular problem, consult your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. Surgery, oral medications and even dietary changes may be necessary. Once treatment is initiated, focus on removing the stained hair. Various commercial products are available to treat tear stains and include oral treatments, as well as wipes or special cleaners. However, regular home cleaning and care is often enough. Cut away long stained facial hair. Clean each eye twice a day with a separate cotton ball soaked in warm water. A little dab of petroleum jelly over the area helps prevent staining from tears. Adjust food if allergies are to blame, and consider bottled or distilled water in areas with high mineral levels.
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