My two-year-old Yorkie has terrible tear stains. Opthalmologist checked, no
blocked ducts, any ideas to get rid of them?
Yours is one of the most common questions I receive in practice. It turns out that large numbers of cats and dogs have tear stains beneath their eyes.
The eyes produce tears throughout the day. Under normal circumstances, two ducts drain the tears from the eyes into the nose. Sometimes, however, the drainage doesn’t work quite right. This is especially common in short-nosed breeds such as pugs, Persian cats, Boston terriers, and bulldogs, in which the ducts can become kinked. However, it can happen in any breed.
When tears chronically overflow from the eyes, they stain the hair beneath the eyes red-brown. Although pets with severe tear overflows can develop skin infections from the moisture, in most cases tear stains are completely harmless.
There are some medical conditions, such as blocked tear ducts or eye infections, that can lead to excessive quantities of tears spilling out of the eyes. Therefore, you’ve already taken the appropriate first step and had your pet checked by a vet. Once your pet has a clean bill of health, you can take heart from the fact that the problem is strictly cosmetic.
Preventing or eliminating tear stains is frustrating. Several products are available from pet stores that claim to remove the stains. However, I have received very weak reviews of these products from my clients. The simplest, cheapest, and safest technique is to clean the areas beneath the eyes with a warm, moist washcloth once or twice daily. Don’t use soap or detergents that could get into the eyes. This method doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s as good as anything else I’ve seen.