How to clean tear stains around my dog's eyes

How to clean tear stains around my dog's eyes

What causes tear stains and why are they a rusty-brown colour?

Let’s start by first understanding what causes tear stains and the associated rusty-brown colour. Dog tear stains are rusty-brown because animal tears aren’t clear like human tears. Scientifically speaking, dog tears carry naturally occurring, iron-containing molecules. It’s the iron molecules that discolors the dog tears.

Importantly, dog tear stains can be caused by a wide range of reasons. Certain dogs suffer from seasonal allergies and others may have slightly plugged tear ducts. Additional causes could be; abnormally placed eyelashes, injury, infections etc. More often than not, your dog might just be the teary type! It’s always best to make sure that the tear stains are not due to a pre-existing health condition.

How to remove dog's tear stains

It’s important that you keep the tear stains cleaned to prevent any infections that may result from the hair being moist.

1. Tear stain remover and eye wipes

Tear stain removers should be a priority on the shopping list! If used regularly, you should be able to see some improvement around your dog’s eyes in no time. Using organic tear stain removers means that there are no nasties and harmful chemicals such as peroxides and bleaches and are safe to use on your pet daily.

Good pet care also involves cleaning your dog’s eyes with pre-moistened wipes to get rid of the dust and any accumulated gunk that contributes to the brown stains in the first place. You could also use a soft clean washcloth or sponge to clean your dog’s eyes. Simply moisten the sponge/cloth with room-temperature water (avoid extremes of temperature).

Petsy tips and tricks:

  • If you are using a washcloth or sponge, avoid using too much water as your dog may feel ‘soggy’ and reject having his/her face cleaned.
  • Avoid using paper towels or napkins as these shred and disintegrate when wet. They may leave shreds on your dog’s coat when wiping.
  • Cotton balls may work as a great alternative for more sensitive pets.
  • Be gentle but firm. Use only as much force as necessary to clean the area around the eye.
  • Remember to make your dog as comfortable as possible throughout the process. Be sure to approach this area slowly so you don’t spook your dog.
  • Never wipe your dog's eye itself.
  • Using shampoo or soap near your dog’s eye is a complete no-no as this may cause irritation or even damage your pooch’s eye.
  • Reward your dog with plenty of treats, love, and affection throughout the process. Cuddles are a must! This will allow your pet to associate eye cleaning time with a pleasant experience. It’s crucial that you provide for such an experience especially when your dog is a young pup.
  • Whatever option you choose, remember to only use products made specifically for pets as human products can be very dangerous to your pet.
  1. Using clippers

If the area around your dog’s eyes is a little too tainted, you could use clippers to cut off any excess brown fur. For safety reasons, it’s important to use clippers and not scissors around your dog’s eyes. Professional groomers can assist with this easily. Regularly use eye wipes

  1. Visiting your local vet

If the above doesn’t seem to work, or you’re concerned about the amount of gunk build-up, visit your local vet. He/she should be able to ascertain the root cause of the problem and provide a solution.

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