Every other day I have a customer ask me what they can do to get rid of or prevent TEAR STAINING on their dog.  Usually it is a shihtzu, poodle, maltese, yorkie, or one of the new little designer dog mixes.  To be honest I have the same problem in one of my poodles and I have tried many different products out there believe me and I have spent a lot of money trying to find a solution myself.   So far giving them bottled water and changing their diet to a better food has made a huge difference.  Also Keeping my poodles eye area wiped cleaned daily and face shaved clean really helps  a lot.  Keeping your pet groomed on a regular basis either yourself or by a professional groomer helps a lot.  Sometimes I think it's just genetics and it can be a never ending battle but here are a few ways and tips I've found to be helpful. 

Tear staining is most obvious on dogs with white and other light color coats. The stain is usually reddish-brown. It is often most associated with the Maltese, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu breeds and is common with light colored poodles. However, many other breeds can show signs of tear staining, especially those where the hair normally falls from the top of the head and rests in the eye area.

Whenever hair rests around the eyes some amount of tear staining results from the hair wicking moisture from the eyes. But there are many other sources of tear stains.

Tear staining can be traced to health and diet, as well as genetics. Most veterinarians agree that face staining results from excessive tearing. In this case, the damp face hair is a breeding ground for bacterial and yeast growth. The most common is "Red Yeast" which is usually associated with reddish-brown facial stains, and which may emit a moderate to noticeably strong odor. Tear ducts may become infected and result in excess tearing and noticeable staining.

Some of our clients have consulted veterinary eye specialists on the problem. The doctors advised them that the eye structure was the most probable source of the problem. If that is so, then genetics would like play a role and explain why the problem is more pronounced in some pets of the same breed. If you are purchasing a puppy and you are concerned about the potential for tearing and staining, you should observe the mother and sire, and others in the direct lineage.

Eye duct surgical procedures to increase their tear capacity may help some pets; ask your veterinarian.

Hair-coat stains also occur in areas other than the eyes. White and light color coats can acquire water stains from pet drinking water. Minerals in the water may stain facial hair in the whisker, beard and mouth areas, as well as other areas on the chest and front legs when water regular drips from their beards. Purified waters with low mineral content may be the answer.

It is possible for some some pet foods with color additives to stain hair in the mouth area too.

Your first step is to determine the source of tear and face stains. As we have noted, it may be water and food sources and that can be corrected. Tear staining often involves more complex solutions requiring veterinary introspection to determine the source.

If bacterial and yeast infections are involved you need to take steps to mollify and eliminate their presence. Veterinarians can prescribe medication to treat bacterial and yeast infections. Your veterinarian or eye specialist veterinarians can determine if excessive tearing is the source of stains, and describe alternatives available.

Tear stain removal has become much easier with various products now on the market just for this purpose.  I use and prefer Eye Envy products on my yorkie and miniture poodles.  Go to eyeenvy.com for more info on this great product.

Keeping tear stains at minimum is more of a concern for dogs that are shown, and for the dog not being shown, taking steps to safely minimize the condition should be satisfying enough rather than complete elimination. Consult your veterinarian with any questions you may have.

One of the best things you can do for your loved pet is to make regular appts. with your pets groomer!  Every 4-6 weeks is highly recommended for any dog!  A well groomed pet is a HAPPY and HEALTHY Pet!