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Fix your dog's tear stains!

Updated on September 16, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

It's tough to be a blonde....

Teddy, my French Bulldog, is the first light-colored dog I've ever owned. And, for the first time ever, I've had to deal with tear stains. I know that many dark-colored dogs probably have them, but you can't see them, so they didn't matter.

The reddish-color stains are, according to All Pet Naturals "The red tear stain condition in dogs, just below the eyes is called epiphora and its caused when wet facial hair from excessive tearing gets moist and thus becomes a breeding ground for a reddish type yeast bacteria. Not only is it unsightly but may be very irritating to your pet. The staining may also emit a moderate to noticeably strong odor."

Tear stains aren't a huge health problem, but they are unsightly and can cause some odor.

Also - I hate the way tear stains look. It's one of my "pet peeves" - and probably one of the reasons I never had white or light-colored dogs before Teddy.


Some options are better than others

I started doing some research on products to remove tear stains.

The most well-known product is easy to use - it comes in several flavors and you sprinkle it on the dog's food every day and it does work.

It's also an antibiotic called "Tylosin," which, according to Wikipedia, "Tylosin is a coccidiostat food additive used in veterinary medicine. It has a broad spectrum of activity against gram positive organisms and a limited range of gram negative organisms. It is found naturally as a fermentation product of Streptomyces fradiae. Tylosin is used in veterinary medicine to treat bacterial infections in a wide range of species."

In August, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to the companies marketing products with tylosin as treatments for tear stains, saying "these tear stain remover products that contain tylosin tartrate are new animal drugs, as defined by section 201(v) of the FD&C Act, [21 U.S.C. ยง 321(v)], because they are not generally recognized among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs, as safe and effective for use under the conditions prescribed, recommended, or suggested in the labeling."

I decided I didn't really want to give my dog an antibiotic every day for purely cosmetic reasons. What would happen if/when he truly needed an antibiotic to work on a real fungal or bacterial infection? Would we have to use a high-powered, more dangerous drug because his system was accustomed to a low-level of antibiotics?

Eye Envy Starter Kit
Eye Envy Starter Kit

We found a tear-stain remover that works for us

I found Eye Envy at a pet supplies trade show.

It contains no antibiotics and is applied externally - the solution is wiped on with a cleaning pad and then powder is applied with a finger.

It's safe - Eye Envy contains a cleanser, an astringent (to dry the area) and herbal flower extract (acts as a natural antibiotic) and an antibacterial. It's okay if some accidentally get in the dog's eye - it's safe.

I'm so impressed with Eye Envy that I insisted we carry it in our shop - Golly Gear. We have an agreement with our customers - every product we sell we have personally tried and can wholeheartedly recommend.

Teddy "after" Eye Envy
Teddy "after" Eye Envy

The "after" picture

Teddy's tear stains are gone!

I started using Eye Envy every day on Teddy.

The tear stains took about three weeks to disappear entirely. When I noticed the stains disappearing, I used Eye Envy every other day, then every third day.

To maintain the clean look I love, I still use Eye Envy on Teddy about once or twice a week. I have noticed that in the Spring and Fall, when he tends to have some allergies, I need to use it a bit more often.

We've been using Eye Envy for about two years now and Teddy is still stain-free!

Using Eye Envy

After watching this video, it appears that Eye Envy didn't work to remove this dog's tear stains, but it does give you a good look at how it's done and the solution and powder.

Like anything else - it works for some people and not for others. It has worked for my dog - who remains tear-stain free.

Does your dog have tear stains? - How have you dealt with them?

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    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      4 years ago from USA

      I hadn't heard of tear stains before now, but I will definitely keep a watch out for them in my dog! This is a well written article and very informative.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @Lensmaster...Good information on tear stains. I have a Border Terrier mix (with me in my profile picture). She's the first light-faced dog I've had, so the tear stains began to show up, and I've wondered what was the safest and easier method to clean them. I'll try your suggestion. Thanks

    • Charliejo41 profile image


      6 years ago

      Our shih tzu Sugar has really bad tear staining I have tried rinses that are supposed to get rid of tear stains, they did not work at all. Eye envy sounds like something I might have to try. I also don't believe in antibiotics for cosmetic use. I don't mind the staining part I just don't like the irritation the tears cause her.

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind Guides 

      6 years ago from USA

      Okay, a little gross, but still a nice idea for a lens!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      6 years ago from Diamondhead

      I have a black and white Schnauzer, he currently has a red stain on his beard. I thought it might be from his food, so we switched brands and it won't go away. I bet it's a yeast infection.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My white dog has them on his face as well as his front paws. I did not realize this was a yeast infection, thanks for the info.


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