Unsightly but harmless, eye discharge is common in numerous breeds of dogs causing rust-colored pigments known as porphyrins to appear under the eyes. This problem is more prevalent in light-colored or long-haired dogs. Commonly known as tear stains, their removal can range from pricey pet store solutions to easy home remedies. However, if your dog's eyes seem constantly runny, consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical condition.
The easiest way to remove tear stains is as near as your local pet store. Numerous products are conveniently available over the counter such as tear removal sprays and cleansing pads. Simply spray a cloth or cotton ball with the solution, wipe the tear stains away then rinse with a damp cloth. Pre-soaked disposable pads are also sold; just wipe and rinse with a damp cloth. Wipes typically offer more protection against accidentally spraying in the animal's eyes.
Other commercial options are preventative powders. These food additives come in a variety of flavors for picky palates, but are more expensive. Some contain antibiotics which clear up the tear stains, and some contain probiotics which work in the intestinal tract to break down the porphyrins. Check with your vet before using any of these food additives; she can help you select the correct product for your pup.
For those who prefer home remedies, a damp cotton ball should work. Wipe outward from the corner of the eye carefully to avoid scratching it. A visit to the groomer to have the fur clipped is an option for longer haired dogs. For lighter coats or tougher stains, use a mixture of 10 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and water with a 1:1 ratio. Wipe carefully to avoid the eyes then rinse with a damp cloth.
The Cover Up
An alternative to chemical removal is to cover the stains. A small amount of cornstarch will usually do the trick. However, use sparingly, as cornstarch can actually lighten your dog's coat. It is also important to keep the cornstarch out of your dog's eyes. Face cream or powder is another method. Choose a color which matches your dog's coat. Gently wipe the makeup on, then brush the excess off, leaving only the cover. Chalk can be used in the same way for pure white coats.
- Dog Grooming For Dummies; Margaret H. Bonham
- PET MD: Tear Stain Products For Pets, Redux
Kim Phillips is a writer based in Leesburg, Va. Her work has appeared in "The Floridian Magazine," as well as various historical publications. In 2010, Phillips released her first book, "Then and Now, Lee County," through Arcadia Publishing. She is also a certified dog trainer and the owner and head trainer at St. Jude's Canine Academy in Leesburg, Va.