Your beautiful sweet little puppy looks so adorable, but as they continue to grow, some dogs may develop tear stains, especially if your puppy is of lighter color. Tear stains can accumulate as excess moisture (referred to as epiphora) develops from tears causing bacteria and yeast to grow. This condition is most prevalent in certain breeds including Shitzu, Lhasa Apso and Maltese. The causes of excessive tearing include, but not limited to genetics, health, diet, bacterial infection, ear infections, teething, irritation, high mineral content in the dog’s drinking water, blocked tear ducts, poor diet, plastic bowls, etc.
Why Do Some Pets Have or Show More Tear Staining? Tear stains are typically the result of porphyrins. Porphyrins are naturally occurring molecules containing iron – waste products from the breakdown of red blood cells -- and are mostly removed from the body through bile and the intestinal tract, however, in some dogs porphyrin is excreted through tears, saliva, and urine.
When tears and saliva containing porphyrins sit on light-colored fur for any period of time, staining will occur. And if it seems your pet’s tear stains are worse after he’s been outside, you’re not imagining things. The iron-containing stains do indeed darken when exposed to sunlight.
How to Treat Tear Stains Safely
You can do a lot to control your pet’s tear staining by keeping his face meticulously clean and free of porphyrin-containing moisture. This means gently wiping his face at least twice a day with a soft, warm, damp cloth, keeping his face hair trimmed, and if necessary, making regular appointments with a groomer.