Tear Staining and The Raw Dog Food Diet

By Maria Sweeney, Owner at Vanity Fur

Bichon tear staining

A Bichon with common staining

When was the last time you saw a Bichon, Maltese, Shih Tzu or other white dog that didn’t have that reddish-brown tear staining around their face? Chances are most of you that own a white or light coloured dog will see this in varying degrees on your pet, and the bad news is no amount of washing is going to get rid of it.

There is lots of detailed scientific information available as to what causes this staining if you care to read up on it, but essentially for lay people like you and me, the discolouration is a result of the yeast and bacteria that grows in the nice moist environment that the tears and mouth area provide.

What causes your dog to produce tears in the first place can be down to various different factors – allergy, environmental factors, blocked tear ducts, fleas, teething etc, and you are advised to consult your vet if you suspect your pet has excessive tearing. However regardless of what is causing the tear production, the staining problem is the same.

I see it every day in the grooming salon, and I also see those who don’t suffer from it at all and look like snow white show dogs. The simple answer is that in nearly all cases, it comes down to diet. Treating the staining problem from the inside out has by far been more successful than any other treatment.


Stain free Bichon

Poochie the Bichon – stain free

Dogs on the raw food diet (read more here from canine nutrionist Dr Conor Brady) rarely, if ever, see this problem, along with enjoying a host of other benefits (healthy skin, a silky coat, no bad breath, no smelly stools, no anal gland blockage, calmer disposition etc). Dogs on dried food with high cereal content however suffer worst from this red/brown staining issue. Gluten is the biggest culprit in causing this staining, followed by processed cooked chicken and beef and the added chemicals that are found in dried food.

If you really want to treat your dog’s unsightly staining problem, give the raw food diet a go. Research it first though and make sure you do it correctly – you need to take a gradual approach.

If you feel the raw food diet isn’t suitable for your pet however, then you can look at topical solutions to treat the problem cosmetically. We’ve found success with a product called Eye Envy, and are now stocking their Starter Kits at Vanity Fur. This kit contains everything you need including solution, powder and application pads, and comes neatly packaged in a little shimmery Gingham bag. It costs €24.99

Eye Envy Starter Kit €24.99

Eye Envy Starter Kit €24.99

Alternatively you can try a natural homemade remedy as posted by Dr Conor Brady on his website. Mix one cup of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of boric acid, 2 egg cups of apple cider vinegar and a dash of tea tree oil.

If anyone has had success with any of these solutions we would love to hear your comments so please share your experience below.