Bothered by tear staining on your dog’s face?

Lovely Doggy

Seems that somebody is always asking us as vets for some way to remove or prevent the moist brown streaks that tend to form along the nose near the eyes of certain dogs.  Small breed dogs, dogs with light colored or white hair coats and dogs with wrinkly skin or skin folds are most commonly affected.

Typically, this is mostly a cosmetic problem, but not always. Before you embark on any treatment please be sure to have your dog examined by your veterinarian for any of the various medical problems that can cause tear staining.  Sometimes tear staining can be caused by blocked tear ducts, eyelash malformations, allergy, dry eyes, glaucoma or conjunctivitis, and so on.  Basically, anything that causes increased tear production or poor or inefficient tear drainage can cause tear staining.  Some of these causes are serious and most can only be effectively treated by a licensed veterinarian.

Setting medical concerns aside for the moment, there are many dogs that have a facial conformation that simply results in increased tear staining. These kinds of problems are usually not fully correctable. Tear staining is likely to be a long term problem for these dogs.

For dogs in the uncorrectable group, here are 12 treatments that have been said to work for cosmetic facial tear staining. We haven’t tried all of them on dogs ourselves.  Also, the fact that so many treatments have been suggested over the years makes me suspect that no one treatment works in every case.

  1. Cleaning & Hygiene – Twice-a-day face cleaning with cotton balls soaked in warm water can help keep the tears from causing the stain to begin with. Keeping the face and nose fur clipped extra short helps even more.
  2. Petroleum Jelly – Brushing Vaseline on the fur with a tooth brush is also said to work well – especially when preceded by face cleaning as discussed above.  Allow 2-3 months for all the stained hairs to fall out on their own. The new hairs coming in won’t be able to pick up stain when coated in Vaseline.
  3. Powered buttermilk – This product is found in the baking section of grocery store. Users say you simply mix some into the pet’s food once a day. Not clear to me why or how it would work.
  4. Prostora Max – This all-natural probiotic dietary supplement from Iams is usually prescribed to help treat diarrhea and stomach disorders. However, it has also been found to be pretty darn effective against cosmetic facial tear staining as well, when given long term. There are no scientific studies to support this, but it has worked well in our hands.
  5. Fortiflora –This is a probiotic dietary supplement from Purina. Just as above, the mechanism of action is unclear and the product is not intended to treat facial tear staining. But it does seem to work. Effects are said to be noticeable by day two and quite dramatic after two or three weeks.
  6. Proviable – This a probiotic type for dietary supplement produced by Nutramax. Like the other dietary supplements, many people have reported great success using this product against cosmetic facial tear stains.
  7. Tear Stain – This is a dietary supplement available in powdered or soft-chew form, produced by Vet Classics. It contains Dried Whey, Natural Flavoring, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Silica Aerogel and Stevia.  As the name suggests, this product is specifically intended to treat cosmetic facial tear staining.
  8. Douxo Micellar solution – This is a topical solution for dogs that usually prescribed for ear disorders. When used for cosmetic facial tear staining, pet owners simply wipe it on the stained area once day with a cotton ball, and then once or twice a week, after the worst of the staining is gone. Some dogs seem to have more resistant staining than others, though most dogs will show improvement or resolution of the stains after two or three weeks.
  9. Lid ‘n Lash – This is a hydrating and moisturizing cleansing gel for sensitive eyelids and eyelashes. It is available as a spray, gel or medicated wipe. It may be used to remove excess secretions and debris from eyelids and eyelash. Daily use is recommended.
  10. Tylosin – This prescription-only powdered antibiotic is typically used in tiny doses to help treat inflammatory bowel disease and other intestinal disorders. However, many Vets report success in using this same antibiotic to treat cosmetic facial tear staining. For maximum effectiveness the powder must be added to the pet’s food daily forever.
  11. Angel Eyes – This is a commercial dietary supplement that contains the antibiotic, tylosin – same as mentioned above. Again, for maximum effectiveness, the powder must be added to the pet’s food indefinitely.
  12. Tetracycline – Tetracycline is another prescription-only antibiotic, available from your veterinarian. This drug is fairly inexpensive, but like all the other drugs, when it is stopped, the tear staining returns.

For more information on solution for Facial Tear Staining in the Dog, or to obtain some of the commercial products mentioned above, please contact the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group  or call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital at 972-529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital at 972-239-1309. 

What Can You Do About Facial Tear Staining in Dogs?

Does your dog have dark tear stains below or around his or her eyes? While tear stains may be unsightly, they can also cause your pet a great deal of discomfort. Occasional tear stains are generally not cause for concern, but tear stains may also be part of a more serious underlying health problem. Always visit your vet to address your pet’s specific symptoms, and review this helpful guide to some possible veterinarian-approved treatments.

Closeup of Maltese dog

Proper Grooming Techniques

Because tear stains can be symptomatic of chronic, serious health conditions, it’s important to be sensitive when handling your pet. You might increase your pet’s comfort level by wiping around his eyes with a moist paper towel. You may also want to visit your grooming technician to have the hair around his eyes trimmed down.

Veterinary Treatment Options

During your visit with a vet, your pet will be examined and tested for  common conditions such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and glaucoma. If your vet determines that sinusitis is the problem, treatment will focus on getting your pet’s allergies under control. In severe cases, your vet may need to perform surgery to open the nasal cavity and allow tears to drain properly. Your vet will also make sure that there is not a foreign body in the eye causing the irritation.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medicine is a great option to deal with chronic tear stains. After your vet has given your pet an otherwise clean bill of heath, ask him or her about your options for special products designed just to treat tear stains. Be sure to keep an eye out for any symptoms like itching or redness, and return to your vet if you notice any side effects.

For general veterinary care and emergency pet services, call the attentive and experienced vets at  Chastain Veterinary Medical Group  of Dallas today. Whether your dog needs allergy medication or emergency surgery, our vets can guide you through your treatment options. For the highest standard of veterinary care, call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

November Grooming Tip from Sara @ Meadow Brook Animal Hospital!

When bathing your pet at home, make sure your pet is completely dry (all the way to the skin) before allowing him outside into cool weather.

towel dry

Tips for Shampooing and Grooming Your Cat

Cats are famous for their fastidious grooming habits. If you are a cat owner, your pet probably spends a large part of each day grooming her own fur. But even with their natural skills cats can’t remove everything from their fur. Regular shampooing and grooming can remove tangles, burs, and dander and prevent hairballs. Frequent shampooing of the felines in the house is also a good first line of defense for those humans that have mild to moderate cat allergies. Read on to learn how to properly shampoo, brush, and groom your cat.

Cat in the shower

Professional Help May be Useful

Before you bathe and groom your cat, we suggest that you first trim the cat’s toenails. This will temporarily disarm the kitty thus making life easier in event of a physical disagreement over who exactly is going to be bathed and when. If you feel comfortable trimming your cat’s claws great; if not, toenail trims are available seven days a week and generally for free at the Chastain Veterinary medical Group. You should also visit your groomer ahead of time if you have special concerns or simply prefer to let the professionals handle tangles or furballs. Lastly, before the actual bathing, use a brush to remove any loose hair or mats in the fur. Hair mats only get tighter and more tenacious once they are wet.

Perfect Timing

For best results,  always schedule baths when your cat is at her most mellow, and try to introduce your kitten to bathing early on. Try to make bathing a game, or a fun experience. If your cat doesn’t enjoy being bathed, try using a toy to calm her down maybe; or perhaps one of the feline calming pheromone products. In our experience some cats will tolerate a bath better if bathed in a closed, solid –wall shower stall, or if restrained in a tub by means of a harness on several feet of leash.

Warm Water

When it’s time for a bath, simply place a rubber bath mat in the sink or a tub so your cat doesn’t slip. Using lukewarm water, wet your pet with a hand-held hose and some vet-approved pet shampoo. Make sure not to spray directly in the nose, eyes, or ears. Some people will reportedly place cotton in the cat’s ears to keep water out, but we have never found that to be useful or even feasible.

Drying Off

When you are all done, rinse well. It is important to remove all the shampoo residue in the rinsing as dried shampoo residue can itself become an irritant. After your cat has been rinsed off with a spray hose or pitcher, use a washcloth to gently wipe her face. For the face area, you can use plain lukewarm water.

Whether you are interested in a pet wellness exam or want to learn more about the dog and cat grooming and boarding services offered at our veterinary practice, contact  Chastain Veterinary Medical Group  of Dallas today. We offer a full range of veterinary services, and our vets are available for emergencies. To schedule an appointment, call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Brushing Your Cat’s Fur for Her Everyday Comfort

If you are like most cat owners, you want to keep your cat looking and feeling great between visits to your vet. Watch this video to learn how you can groom your cat at home in between pet grooming appointments.

Brushing a cat’s fur is often under-rated. If you have a longhaired cat, it’s important to brush your cat every day. This reduces tangles and mats. Even if you have a short-haired cat, brush regularly to evenly distribute natural oils through the coat and check for ticks and fleas. Make sure that your kitten is brushed early and often, so as to help ensure a positive, non-threatening experience that the adult cat will tolerate well in later life.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group of Dallas is a full-service veterinary practice that also provides  pet grooming services and boarding. To schedule an appointment, call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Important message from Dr. Sue

With the upcoming holidays, be careful what is left around the house!  Chocolate and candy-  these in the correct quantities can be toxic to dogs or at the very least  cause GI distress.   If your pet ingests something they are not supposed to, please give us a call so that we can determine if there is a potential danger to your pet.

-Dr. Sue

holiday pet donts

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