Dogs and Tear Stains
Your snow-white poodle is so cute -- but he'd be even cuter without those reddish-brown streaks under his eyes. Dogeye discharge and tear staining are common problems, especially with certain breeds. So, what causes these issues, and what can you do to remedy them? WebMD offers answers to four common questions about dog eye problems and discharge.
1. What causes tear stains under a dog's eyes?
Excessive tearing, technically called epiphora, can occur as a result of irritation to your dog's eyes or because your dog's tears are not draining properly.
Just as your eye waters if a speck of dust blows into it, dogs' eyes will make tears when irritated to flush away anything harmful. When the eyes are continually irritated, this can lead to chronic tearing that produces stains. Conditions that might irritate the eye include dog eye infections, glaucoma, and eyelash or eyelid problems.
In a normal dog eye, there are small holes that drain tears away from the eye and down the throat. A variety of dog eye problems can affect this drainage, causing excessively watery eyes. These conditions include:
2. Which types or breeds of dogs are more susceptible to dog eye discharge and tear stains?
Regardless of breed, white dogs are more likely to have visible tear staining on their faces, because the pigments in their tears can easily dye light-colored fur. Also, dogs with long hair on their faces may be more prone to excessive tearing.
Short-nosed dog breeds, such as Shih-tzu, Pekingese, Maltese, and pug, are prone to excessive tearing because they often have shallow eye sockets or hair growth in skin folds around the eyes that cause problems. Also, cocker spaniels and poodles are more likely than other breeds to have blocked tear ducts.