- Tear stains are dark or reddish brown stains under a dog's eyes.
- They are caused by an overflow of tears that accumulate on a dog’s face.
- Many times, tear staining is an aesthetic issue. But they could signal a medical problem.
- Cleaning the stained area with our eye cleaners can help remove them.
- Regular grooming and keeping the eye area dry are the best prevention methods.
Dark tear stains may be visible around the eyes if your dog has a very light coat. Sometimes, this is a cosmetic issue. However, tears can indicate more serious health issues. It is important to contact your veterinarian if you notice tears.
Breed and Color
Although tear stains on white dogs (and light-colored dogs) may be more obvious, they can occur in any dog, regardless of breed or color, veterinarians say.
However, some breeds appear to be more predisposed. Brachycephalic (short-snouted) dogs—like Maltese and Shih Tzus—tend to be prone to tear staining, which attributes to the structure of their heads and eyes.
The shape of the muzzle and the eye placement may prevent proper outflow of tears from the eye socket into the tear duct, which normally drains them away from the eye.
Eye infections may cause excess tear production and weeping of the eyes, which can lead to tear stains and yeast or bacterial infections due to excess moisture.
If the stains are brownish or rust-colored, they may indicate a current yeast or fungal infection on the skin, under the eyes, that is able to thrive because of the constant moisture from tears building up on the skin.
Abrasion to the Eye
Corneal ulcers, in which the eye’s protective outer layer has been traumatized, can also cause excessive tearing. These are often caused by an injury, such as getting a thorn or blade of grass stuck in the eye, or due to a scratch from another animal during play.
Brachycephalic breeds, again, are more prone to these injuries, as their eyes tend to bulge, making it more likely that they’ll become injured. Dogs with a corneal injury will generally be very uncomfortable, and you’ll notice an active discharge rather than tear staining.
This is a disease of the eye that can cause increased tear production, as well as pain. “It is due to an eye having an increase in intraocular pressure.”
The pupils may change size compared to one another, and your dog will appear uncomfortable in the eye. While you may notice tear staining in dogs with glaucoma, you’ll also see a lot of active discharge.