American Eskimo Dog Rescue and Sanctuary of Iowa presents:

Introduction

Why does my dog or other pet have tear stains or stains where they constantly lick?

How does the liquid from the dog’s eye cause tear stains?

Why do tear stains and fur stains happen only in white dogs?

How can I remove tear stains from my dog? / Can the tear stains be removed?

Preventative actions

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Introduction

What is that brown color under their eyes? You may ask after acquiring a new dog or other pet. Is there something wrong with my puppy?  Is it going to affect their health?
Although it may seem unusual fact is; there are many dogs or puppies that experience tear stains without any impact on their health. 
Keep in mind that you may hear the term "eye problems" associated with this discoloration, it is quite common and not a problem as long as you practice normal hygiene on your pet..
The lighter color the dog the easier it is to notice, especially white dogs like the American Eskimo Dogs.

On this page you find some insight on how those tear stains appear and what, or if there is anything you can do about it.

Why does my dog or other pet have tear stains or stains where they constantly lick?

Tear stains are produced by a discharge in the animals eye that contain an amount of hemoglobin. When the animal is exposed to the sun there is a photo reaction that occurs making the discoloration.

You may also experience this staining reaction on an animal’s fur in other areas where he or she may continually lick.

The saliva also carries the same hemoglobin. Therefore the saliva soaked fur will have the same reaction to the sun.


Sapphire has stains on both of her eyes and under her bottom lip from saliva

How does the liquid from the dog’s eye cause tear stains?

 The dog’s bottom eyelid is shaped to allow the tear fluids to flow back into the eye. 
If it is shaped differently and doesn’t have the canal shape then the tears will flow from the top over the eye and continue over the eye lid, causing the discharge and consequent tear stains. It can also be a source of irritation causing the eye to produce more tears.


Notice in the diagram how the bottom lid on the left allows the tear fluids to flow back into the eye, not over the eyelid as in the diagram on the right.

Why do tear stains and fur stains happen only in white dogs?

Actually the stains happen to all dogs but are not as evident because of the color of the dogs fur.
The darker the fur, the less it can be noticed.

How can I remove tear stains from my dog? / Can the tear stains be removed?


Fact is, once this photo reaction takes place, the damaged fur can not be safely cleaned.

If the stains really trouble you, than a daily cleaning of the area with a veterinary approved cleaner can, in time, reduce the amount of stain in the future. 

Please be aware that the stained fur will not become unstained, but the constant cleaning will help the new fur become less stained.

There are also eye procedures that can surgically fix the bottom eye canal and will reduce the staining.

 


Notice along with tear stains, Mirage also has stains on her leg and bib caused by constant licking. The same hemoglobin photo reaction to the sun takes place in those areas..

 

 

 

Preventative actions

 It is a prudent practice for all pet owners to adopt a daily regime of cleaning to remove the sleep (crusty build up) from the eye. 
This will help protect your dog from potential infections in and around the eyes, whether your dog has signs of tear stains or not.

Be aware that most "tear stain removers" are not actually "tear stain removers" Although they seem to remove the stains and do work quite well, they are actually cleaning the new growth fur so the stain doesn't set in. 
In time the stain appears to be removed, but it has actually grown out. If you wish to keep the tear stains from coming back a constant cleaning regimen must be continued
indefinitely;

 


 Buffy's face is clean there is still evidence of tear stains

 

 

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