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All About Tear Staining

Tear Staining

Tear StainingDon’t cry for me little Fido or Fiona…

You may have noticed that certain animals have a tendency to express their tears more noticeably than others. That’s not to say that these four-legged fur babies are exceedingly sad or defective, it’s more so attributed to their anatomical makeup. Let’s break it down a little.

What Causes Tear Staining?

Either too many tears or improper drainage can lead to tear staining. More often than not, excess tearing is because of these two causes. However, it can also be an indicator of something much more serious. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to rule out a more serious condition before assuming the tears are no big deal.

When Is Tearing Normal?

Tearing is to be expected when puppies are teething, when it is a side effect of a medication, or when the tear duct openings are abnormally small. Tearing can also be a symptom of something more. This includes a poor diet, stress, environmental changes, inverted eyelids, allergies, eye infection, or a more serious eye disease.

Who Are The Likely Victims?

Causes of Tear Staining

Tear staining can happen to any and all animals, though it is less likely to be seen in bigger dogs and most cat breeds. Small and teacup breed dogs, as well as cats with flat faces and bulging eyes (such as Persians), are those most often seen with tear staining. It is more noticeable in light-coated animals and usually produces a brownish-red color.

What Causes The Stain?

The stain itself comes from the chemistry of the tear reacting with the bacteria and oils found in the hair and skin surrounding the eyes. Tears in animals contain a molecule called porphyrins. Porphyrins are iron-containing waste products that can be excreted through saliva, urine, tears, and poop. When tears or saliva sit too long on the fur or hair of an animal, it can actually begin to stain a rust color. When it is exposed to sunlight the color may begin to deepen. The color of the staining is important here because rust colored stains signal iron, whereas brown colored stains imply yeast. When an animal is overrun with yeast, the tears that sit on the skin may start to stain it a darker brown and also emit a sour smell.

How To Treat A Stained Eye?

Animal Tear Staining
There have been multiple products advertised to help with tear staining, though several of them could do more harm than good. For instance, not long ago many tear treatments were pulled off the shelves because they contained an antibiotic not listed on the label. When shopping for a shelf ready remedy, be certain to do your research before making a purchase and do not always blindly trust the product. For mild cases of tear staining, taking a damp warm washcloth and wiping the eyes a few times a day will help. Trips to the groomer are important to prevent hairs from poking the eye and causing excess tear production. At home, feeding a high

quality diet free of processed by-product can help with the internal biochemistry. Avoid feeding out of plastic bowls and instead use stainless steel or porcelain dishes that get washed frequently. This will help keep unwanted bacteria from hanging around. Using running water rather than a stagnant water dish can also help keep that bacteria at bay. In addition, you can replace tap water with filtered water to remove unnecessary amounts of chlorine, fluoride, and other minerals.

Colloidal silver, my own personal favorite, is AMAZING for healing and helping eyes. Though my personal animals do not have regular tear staining issues, the couple of times they have come down with conjunctivitis this product has been our savior. It is completely safe to use around the eyeball and is a natural antimicrobial. It’s soothing and calms inflammation without any side-effects. There are some great herbal remedies to help with tearing as well as a plethora of supplements such as milk thistle and dandelion that have shown improvement when it comes to staining. The best thing any interested fur parent should do is to contact his or her holistic veterinarian and/or veterinary naturopath to get the details on what can be done.

One thing you should never, ever do is attempt to clean the eye with human eye drops or medications. These are NOT meant for our animals and can cause much more harm than good. As stated before, always check with your veterinarian before attempting self-medicating!



Eye cry via photopin (license)
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Street puppy wanna eat some food! via photopin (license)
Niko’s Perspective via photopin (license)
Olivia head shot via photopin (license)

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