How to Whiten Stains on a Dog's Face

A tiny dab of petroleum jelly under your dog's eyes each day will protect the fur from tears.
Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

Though any dog can develop tear stains that streak from his eyes to his nose, the marks are most noticeable on white or cream-color dogs. Reddish pigments, called porphyrins, found naturally in dogs' tears, saliva and urine cause the stains. In breeds prone to tear overflow or blocked tear ducts, including poodles, cocker spaniels, Maltese, Pekingese and flat-faced breeds like pugs, the prolonged contact of porphyrins on the fur leave stains. Not only are the stains unattractive, a dog can develop a bacterial or yeast infection from constant moisture on the skin. You don't need special products to keep your dog's face stain-free, just common household items.

Step 1

Trim the hair underneath your dog's eyes with a small pair of blunt scissors. Have an assistant hold your pet's head still during the process.

Step 2

Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 pint of boiled water. Let the solution cool to room temperature before use.

Step 3

Dip two cotton balls into the salt water, and use one to wipe the fur underneath each of your dog's eyes.

Step 4

Wipe your dog's face with the mild saltwater solution once or twice each day. This will be a regular part of your dog's daily care.


  • Visit your veterinarian to rule out any serious or treatable causes of excessive tears such as ingrown eyelashes, inflammation or infection, plugged tear ducts and allergies.


  • Tear stains will begin to fade with continued daily washing of your dog's face.

  • If you don't want to mix your own stain-removal solution, visit your local pet shop for commercial products.

  • Keep the fur under your dog's eyes trimmed short. Be cautious when using scissors near his eyes.

Items You Will Need

  • Scissors
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cotton balls