Tear stains are a dark reddish-brown colored stain that appear at the inner corners of a dog's eyes, and usually continue down the side of their cheeks. This usually is most obvious on white or light-colored dogs, but also occurs in Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Pomeranians, and Yorkies, to name a few. It is not only unsightly, but can also lead to discomfort and health issues in your dog. To a large extent, it is natural but can be caused by poor diet, allergies, or naturally by an enzyme from the liver. If left unchecked and a continuous accumulation occurs, it can cause sores and raw spots under the eyes where it builds up the thickest.
Here are some tips to help prevent and lessen the build-up, and keep your dog looking good and being healthy. If it is allergy or food related, look at your current dog food. If corn is one of the first several ingredients, you might consider changing their food to one without corn, or at least further down on the ingredient list. Corn is the most common offender in a dog food for health-related issues in dogs. Also try to avoid foods with chicken bi-products. These bi-products can include beaks, feet, feathers and the like, not actual meat. Another thing that will help is giving your dog blueberries daily, which contain an anti-oxidant that will help break down the liver enzyme that usually causes the tear stains. In a small dog like a Yorkie or Maltese, one a day is usually sufficient, in a bigger dog you might consider two to three. Most dogs actually like them and can be either added to their food or given as a treat.
There are several things you can do to remove the tear stains, but you will need to do some of them on a daily basis, and some on an "as needed" basis, depending on how severe the staining. To remove stains after they occur you can mix Milk of Magnesia and Hydrogen Peroxide in equal parts and add corn starch to make it the consistency of a paste and apply it to the stained area, be careful to avoid getting it into the eye itself. If you accidentally do get it into the eyes, flush the eye with pet eye-wash available at vets or pet stores. Let the mixture dry in the stained area and remove with a damp cloth. If there is redness on the skin afterwards, you can apply diaper rash ointment -- again, be careful to not get it in the eyes. On a daily basis, or as needed, you can remove excessive build up with a plastic flea comb, or damp cloth, or just trim the stained hair away with pet thinning shears. If your dog is nervous or fidgety when you work around the eyes, the trimming should probably be best left alone though.
There are products on the market that advertise to help prevent or eliminate tear stains, and I myself have tried many, but the most effective seems to be a product called "Angel Eyes." It is available in pet stores, some vets, or on-line on Petedge.com. "Angel Eyes" is an additive you sprinkle on top of the dog's food. It helps eliminate tear stains internally. I've seen many owners use it for dogs with bad tear stains, and these dogs now have very light stains or none at all.
Thanks for reading, and hope this helps! If you have further questions on this, or any other grooming=related question, please feel free to message me! My goal is to simply help keep grooming cost down for dog owners, so that dog ownership does not have to be as expensive, and more can have happy homes!