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How to Remove Your Dog’s Tear Stains

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No matter how much you take care of your dog, they often develop those very distracting, messy, reddish-brown tear stains drizzling down from their eyes. And just as quickly as you wipe them off, they return!

Tear stains can be due to several reasons, such as certain health problems, the shape of the eyes, ingrown eyelashes, blocked tear ducts, puppy teething, an ear infection, or allergies related to food or something in their environment.

Dogs with light-colored fur are more prone to tear staining and, of course, the dark streaks are more noticeable on them.


It is important to deal with tear stains, beyond just cosmetic reasons. When tears cause the hair on the dog’s face to remain wet, your pet may develop an yeast infection, making the staining even worse.

While the stains are unsightly, they are not dangerous to your dog’s health. Tear stains are usually easily removed with a few simple treatments. They can also be easily prevented, once they have been removed.

how to remove tear stains from dogs

Here are the top 10 ways to remove your dog’s tear stains.


1. Consider a Change in Diet

Many times, a poor diet can result in tear stains. So, take a look at what’s in your dog’s food and consider changing it to see if it makes a difference. Opt for a high-quality, grain-free diet.

consider a change in your dog's diet

A grain-based diet does not provide long-term health benefits to your dog. Also, such a diet can cause allergic reactions, resulting in excess tearing and other problems.

Feed your pet quality dog food and treats as well as probiotics for canines.

2. Provide Clean Water

You must also pay attention to the water your pet drinks. Dogs should be given purified, distilled water to drink.

provide clean drinking water to your dog

Avoid tap water, which often contains harmful bacteria, parasites and minerals like chlorine and fluoride that can be toxic to pets.

Make sure they do not drink stagnant water found in gardens or parks. Such water may result in more staining in response to excess minerals in the water.

Also, keep in mind not serve your dog’s food and water in plastic and ceramic dishes as they tends to become unsanitary after repeated use. Always use stainless steel or glass bowls for your pets and make sure to wash them with soap and water from time to time.

3. Maintain Eye and Face Hygiene

To prevent ugly tear stains from developing, it is important for owners to maintain proper eye and face hygiene of their pets. This will go a long way in keeping those stains at bay.


maintain eye and face hygiene

  • Regularly flush the eyes with an appropriate canine eyewash, recommended by your vet.
  • Moisten a cotton ball with canine eyewash and gently rub it underneath and around the eye area.
  • Wash the muzzle hair with dry shampoo and a wet washcloth. Comb and blow-dry it afterwards.
  • When bathing your pet, avoid getting water in your dog’s eyes to prevent irritation.

4. Trim the Hair

The hair around your dog’s eyes can cause eye irritation, leading to more tears and subsequent staining.

trim your dog's hair around the eyes

Keep the hair around the eyes trimmed to prevent irritation. Be sure to use a pair of blunt-nose scissors and work carefully to avoid accidentally injuring an eye.

If your dog is prone to excessive crusting in the corners of the eyes, ask your groomer to shave the hair off so you can effectively clean the skin under the eyes.

5. Cornstarch

Cornstarch can help absorb the excess tears and effectively get rid of tear stains.

cornstarch to treat dog eye tear stains

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with a little hot water and 1 drop of bleach. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Apply it directly on the tear stains and allow it to dry for at least 1 hour. Finally, wipe it away with a damp cloth. Repeat the treatment every other day for 2 weeks.
  • Cornstarch can also be dusted underneath the eye, around the muzzle and between the toes.
  • Alternatively, you can prepare a paste of equal parts corn starch, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia. Apply this creamy paste on your dog’s tear stains, leave it on for an hour, then rinse it off.

Note: Be sure to avoid getting any of the solution in your dog’s eyes, as it could cause irritation.

6. White Vinegar

White vinegar is another very effective remedy for tear stains. Its acidic nature will prevent bacteria or yeast from taking hold in your dog’s system, which can cause eye infection and excess tearing.

use white vinegar to treat dog tearstains

It may also help prevent future stains.

  • Dip a cotton ball in white vinegar and use it to clean the stained area around your dog’s eyes. Do not allow the vinegar to enter the eyes.
  • Also, add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water to combat the growth of micro-organisms in the body and make it more alkaline.

How to Remove Your Dog’s Tear Stains was last modified: April 11th, 2017 by Top10HomeRemedies
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5 thoughts on “How to Remove Your Dog’s Tear Stains”

  1. I have never noticed this trick listed. When I am about to bathe my Maltese, I rub Vaseline into any stained areas (and the “eye boogers”) about an hour before. It softens them so that it’s not so hard to grasp or comb them out, making it less painful/stressful for the animal. This also works well (she does play outside) when anything like a burr or other foreign thing gets caught in her fur (she gets them in the corners of her mouth) to remove them painlessly.

  2. Hi

    I have a question on the equal parts cornstarch hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia I can understand equal parts of h peroxide to m magnesia but how can you work out the equal part of cornstarch as 2 items are liquid and c starch is powder

    Can someone help me understand this


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