Those reddish brown stains under your dog’s eyes generally indicate a malfunction in how he is able to drain or produce tears. Before you address the cosmetic aspect of the problem by shopping for fur-stain removal products, find out how to treat the medical side first. Solving the tear stain problems involves first diagnosing the cause for why the cat or dog is getting the stains in the first place. Learn how to kick-start the stain treating process.

Treating Tear Stains

Clean the tear-stained area. Wipe the fur under the dog’s eyes with a disinfectant cloth that will kill the bacteria that causes infection. Then consider trimming the hair under the eye, which will help to remove any matted, sticky or crusted hair. This will also expose any infections, skin irritation, or lesions that may be developing under the stains. Once the area is exposed, rub a little antibiotic ointment over any sores or legions, and keep the disinfectant face wipes close by for future use.

Change your pet’s pH level. We know your dog is not a swimming pool that needs daily pH monitoring, but doing something as simple as adding some additional calcium or TUMS to your dog’s diet, will help eliminate the bacteria and yeast in the tears he produces. This will help minimize the stains below his eyes.

Speak to your vet. Before finding an eye doctor, it is always advisable to speak to your vet. This might be something as simple as a quick phone call to the health clinic, rather than setting an actual appointment. A veterinarian who knows your pet’s medical history and might be able to offer some helpful insights as to the cause of the tear staining, which you can then relay to a specialist.

See a specialist. For specific eye-related health issues, taking your pet to an ophthalmologist is a good step toward solving the problem. They will be able to detect what is normal and what might be of genuine concern. The doctor may recommend testing your dog for closed tear ducts, drainage issues, or to see if there are infections, allergies, or objects causing the irritation. Once your pet is in the clear, then the cosmetic issue can be addressed.

Use tear stain removal products. If the physical causes for tear staining have been dealt with, then it is time to consider how to get rid of the stains. Whether you are looking for over-the-counter washes, wipes or bleaches, home-made remedies, or prescription stain removal ointments and pills, there are numerous options available to help clean up the area around the dog’s eyes. Some groomers also offer coat brightening shampoos that can improve a pet’s fur color around his face.

NOTE: Topical treatments for tear staining can effectively remove the brown marks from beneath a pet’s eyes. But, while this might appear to solve the problem by bleaching the fur, if the underlying health issue that caused the tear stains is being neglected, then the cosmetic clean-up will be only temporary. Consult with a vet to ensure that that the surface level solutions are working in conjunction with any medical treatment for your dog’s health problems.