What Is Tear Stain?
If you spot dark brown or reddish-colored stain around the inner corner of your dog’s eyes, those are tear stains which are mainly caused by excessive tear production.
Tear stains are typically not painful nor dangerous, however, it could be a potential sign of an underlying medical condition or eye-related diseases. Thus, it is important to determine the causes of your dog’s tear stains and to treat them from it.
Why Are Shih Tzus More Prone To Eye Stains?
Shih Tzus, Maltese, Pekingese, Pugs and the Lhasa Apso are more vulnerable to tear stains as they are Brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs. Due to the shape of their head and their narrow eye sockets, they are prone to excessive tearing.
Breeds aside, light-colored fur dogs are more susceptible to have visible tear stainings as the pigments in their tears can easy dye their fur. In addition, dogs with long hair on their face are also more prone to excessive tearing.
What Causes Eye Stains?
“Tear” stains, as per the name, is usually caused by tears running down from your dog’s eyes and when the hair comes in contact with saline, fur and hair discoloration occurs which results in the discoloration around your dog’s eyes.
There are many reasons for this excessive tearing which are listed below:
Skin infection around your dog’s eyes may cause symptoms which resemble tear stains. If the stain is brownish, it may be caused by yeast infection rather than bacteria infection. Infection may also be caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses or irritants like shampoo, second hand smoke or even dust.
Other common symptoms of infection are odors, itchiness or irritation. If your dog is experiencing any of the above, it is advisable to get a professional diagnosis from your vet to determine if he/she has an infection and if yes, what is the cause.
- Allergies Due To Environment
Our dogs may experience allergies due to various environmental factors such as change of season, using of unfiltered drinking water or even the materials used in their food and water bowl. Similar to humans, their bodies naturally responds to what they perceives to be a threat which can cause their eyes to produce excessive tears.
Unfiltered drinking water or well water often have a higher mineral content and some dogs may be allergic to plastic food bowls. Allergies reactions are often mistaken for tear stains as it is usually redness and inflammation around your dog’s eyes, noses, ears and lips.
If you suspect that your dog may be allergic, try switching to bottled or distilled water, or switching their plastic food bowls to stainless steel or ceramic bowls.