Tear Staining: What Is It? What Causes It?
Tear staining is usually caused by epiphora, which is the technical word for excessive tear production. The tearstains themselves are reddish-brown streaks under a dog's (or cat's) eyes. The condition is much more prevalent in certain breeds (for example, the Maltese, the Lhasa Apso, and the Shih Tzu), and is much more obvious in animals with light-colored coats. While tear staining is typically no more than a minor annoyance, it can also be a symptom of a serious eye health problem.
Why Some Pets Have or Show More Tear Staining
Tearstains 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 in the usual way (in poop). However, in dogs and cats, porphyrin can also be 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 tearstains 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 Tearstains 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.
We also use and recommend Glow Groom™. It is a powerful natural supplement that is proven to gently and safely eliminate the causes of excessive tearing and staining. Effectively supports your pet’s immune system to fight and heal itself without interfering with the natural production of tears. The active ingredient in Glow Groom™ is a nutritional and herbal supplement, effective in combating severe inflammation of the eye and combating abundant and irritating eye discharge. It also has excellent detoxifying properties. Glow Groom™ does not remove pre-existing stains nor is it a quick temporary fix to the problem. It is a proven product that works from within on the underlying cause to gradually reduce weepy eyes and tear and coat stains at the source.