What are dog tear stains?

Tear stains are brown or red marks that appear under a dog’s eyes. Typically more visible in dogs that have white or lightly coloured fur, they tend to affect dogs with shorter noses and are generally caused by excessive tearing or insufficient drainage – the medical term for this is called Epiphora. The discolouration is caused by a pigment called Porphyrin, which is found in tears and saliva. This is why you may also find discolouration on your pooch’s paws and chin too.


The common causes of tearing in dogs.

The main causes of excess tearing are similar to what make human eyes tear up – dirt, allergies, irritation, infection – eyelashes or hair getting caught in the eye. Then there’s dietary factors to consider.

It’s vital before deciding on the best treatment for your dog that you see a vet to ensure there’s no serious underlying condition or infection. They’ll also check it’s not being exacerbated by allergies and that there’s no foreign bodies, scratches or other injuries that are causing excess tearing. Teething in puppies is a common cause in the younger of our furry friends, while Conjunctivitis and Glaucoma should also be ruled out before considering treatments.

Distichia (abnormal eyelashes) and entropion (eyelids that are rolled inward) are also common in some dogs, and long hair around the eyes can be a source of irritation. Short-nosed breeds with shallow eye sockets, like Pugs, Shih Tzus and Pekingese, often have problems with the puncta in the eyelids, (the holes responsible for tear drainage). If these can’t work properly, tears spill out of the eye instead of draining down the back of the throat.

Another common cause is short, sharp hairs near the eye causing irritation. With some dogs a groomer can trim around the eyes to add some relief, or in extreme cases a vet may need to perform surgery to remove the hair roots completely.

In some cases, a high mineral content in the dog’s drinking water can make them more prone to developing tear staining, so making changes in the water quality by using a mineral filter may help.

Once you’ve safely ruled out any medical conditions or ongoing issues – then it generally falls to genetics. Meaning that cross breeds are just more prone to having excessive tear production, and therefore more staining will occur.

How to clean dog tear stains: removal and prevention.

There are a number of steps you can take to help treat and prevent the occurrence of tear stains, especially if your pooch is prone to them and all medical issues have been ruled out.

Taking care with day-to-day hygiene and maintenance is vital. Have your groomer trim the hair close around the eye area to help prevent the accumulation of tears, and always check your dogs eyes for foriegn bodies, rogue eyelashes and irritation.

When it comes to the cleaning, cleansing and prevention of tear stains – only ever use safe, topical, all-natural products. Harsh chemicals and ingredients, such as parabens, peroxide, bleach, steroids or antibiotics should never be used. In particular, any product purporting to treat tear stains that contains the antimicrobial tylosin tartrate should be avoided at all costs.

Other known brands contain the antibiotic tylosin tartrate –  a medical drug that has never been approved for use in dogs or cats, nor for the treatment of conditions associated with tear stains. The truth is, there is no quick and easy solution for removing dog tear stains safely and effectively. Many tear stain removers out there may get quick cosmetic results, and It’s tempting to go for the quick and easy solution – but many of the chemicals contained in them end up doing more damage than good.

Many dog owners are too quick to throw in the towel with a treatment before it’s had a chance to work. Antibiotic resistance is just one hurdle to quick fixes – other chemicals can dry out your dog’s eyes, create skin reactions, or cause irreversible stomach issues after years of use. Any solution that gets to the root of the problem, is kind to your prized pooch, and helps prevent tear stains in the long term, is going to take a little time and effort. But like anything – once you get into a routine with a safe, pro-grade stain treatment, you can get lasting results that take very little time to maintain.

Happy Tears® is a pro-grade antibacterial tears stain remover treatment, designed for ongoing use. Your dog won’t build up resistance to it and it’s completely free of harsh chemicals or man-made antibiotics. Ethically-sourced. All-natural. Made without any of the nasty stuff. No more brown trails of destruction.


If your dog has sensitive skin, sensitive eyes, or suffers from allergies, Happy Tears® is the perfect product. Made with natural oils which provide anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing benefits, it also contains herbal extracts and colloidal silver which have powerful natural antiseptic properties to fight bacterial growth.

Doting owners of Maltese, Maltipoos and Cavapoos ourselves, over the years we’d tried and tested many products that attempted to tackle this pesky problem. Some would try to cover it up, some to harshly remove, all flattered to deceive. Happy Tears® was born out of frustration – the products available were simply too meek and mild, or too harsh and horrible. We wanted to create a truly best-in-class product that would cure and prevent. Care and cleanse. The sort of product we’d be happy to endorse for human use too. Not a superficial cover-up, or harsh abrasive. We wanted to make that product the best that it could be. We made Happy Tears®.

Happy Tears® = Happy dogs.

Two-steps to success.

Step One

Prepare the area by removing any loose debris from around the eye using a comb. Saturate a corner of the Happy Tears® Microfibre cloth with the Happy Tears® Solution and gently wipe away any gloop and build-up from around each eye – making sure to use a different corner of the cloth when switching from one eye to the other (the cloth can be machine-washed between each use).

Step Two

Using the supplied Happy Tears® Brush, use gentle motions to work in Happy Tears® Powder until the area is totally dry. Apply a little more powder to the stained area, and using small strokes or small circular motions, blend the powder. For best results, apply powder against the direction of hair growth. Repeat daily until the stained area is completely clear (typically 7-14 days.

For total prevention, repeat the process weekly to keep your prized pooch looking fresh.

As ever, if you have any questions about how to apply Happy Tears or other staining problems that you dog has, please don’t hesitate to get it touch, we’d be happy to help.

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