Are you a pet owner and wondering how to clean puppy tear stains? You may want to know what works, so here is how to clean puppy tear stains.

3 Home Treatments To Clean Puppy Tear Stains 1

How do you clean tear stains from a puppy?

There are 3 ways you can clean your puppy’s tear stains at home. They include using vinegar, milk of magnesia, and hydrogen peroxide. Start by wiping the tears and trimming the fur around the puppy’s eyes.

Our desire to find the best ways to get rid of puppy tear stains drove us to an in-depth research-finding mission. We talked to many dog owners, breeders, and vets about the best practices they apply to ensure their dogs are tear-mark-free. We have thus compiled all the information we gathered below.

What Are Dog Tear Stains?

These refer to tear stains on the dog’s face that are often triggered by too much tear production in a condition known as epiphora. 

Under normal circumstances, the dog’s tears should drain through their eyelid, nasolacrimal duct, and eventually into the nose. But, unfortunately, sometimes, this duct is blocked and fails to develop as expected.

Consequently, the dog’s tears get backed up and eventually flow from their eyes. This tear residue ends up in the dog’s coat and is often seen as reddish-brown. In some cases, the tear stain appears rusty in color, usually caused by porphyrin, a waste by-product caused by the breakdown of the red blood cells.

It is easier to notice a tear stain in your dog if it has a lighter coat. This means breeds with lighter-colored coats are likely to have more conspicuous tear stains. Therefore, finding the best ways to clean these stains is essential.

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What Causes Dog Tear Stains?

Experts suggest that dog tear stains are triggered or caused by various reasons. Note that all dogs are different, and causes may vary significantly. Some of the most common causes include.

Ingrown Eyelashes and Hair

The dog’s overgrown hair around the eyes could be the reason for the excessive tearing. This happens whenever this hair or eyelashes get caught in the tear ducts.


Some dogs are susceptible to allergens from the environment. Something as simple as tap water or changes in weather or seasons can be a severe trigger leading to dog tears’ overproduction.

The Dog May Have Shallow Eye Sockets

The physical appearance of the dog can be a factor causing it to over-tear. For example, some dog breeds have a facial structure with sunken eye sockets and noses that are shorter than most. Such physical makeup can be a reason for excessive tearing in dogs.

When the Tear Drainage Holes are Blocked

Vets and breeders have revealed that this is often why most dogs tear. When the puncta (the drainage holes)get blocked due to a previous infection or excess scar tissue, there will be no proper draining of the dog’s tears. The dog’s tears flow outside, leaving behind tear marks on the fur.

Since some of the causes of tear stains are not controllable, it is up to the dog owner to ensure that the tears are not left uncleaned. Fortunately, most tear stains are manageable, especially when not linked to health conditions. However, stay alert and observe the color and odor of the tear stain.

For example, tear stains that appear to be more brownish than red and are mostly accompanied by a foul smell often indicate the presence of a yeast infection. In such cases, before taking any action, it is best to consult your dog’s vet. In addition, you must understand the specific causes behind the tear stain if you are to fix it appropriately.

3 Ways to Clean Puppy Tear Stains

Once you know the cause of the tear stain, creating a cleaning solution at home is possible. Below are a few suggestions that work.

1. Using Vinegar

This requires combining white and apple cider vinegar in your dog’s drinking water daily. The goal is to increase the acidity of the dog’s pH. Doing this takes care of the tear stains and prevents recurring bacteria and yeast infections, which are responsible for unsightly tear stains.

Make sure to dilute the teaspoon of the mixed vinegar in a gallon of water. Then, when the dog regularly consumes this water mix, the tear stains will disappear over time.

2. Use Milk of Magnesia

Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia in a bowl. Add cornstarch to make a paste and rub this paste to the tear stain on the fur. Leave it for a few hours before washing it out, and ensure the dog does not rub the paste off.

3. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

It would be best to exercise caution when using hydrogen peroxide to clean the tear stains. Instead, soak some cloth or wipes in the hydrogen peroxide and carefully clean the stain on the fur. Be sure not to allow the hydrogen peroxide into the dog’s eyes.

How Do You Prevent and Clean Dog Tear Stains?

Most of the tear stains are easy to remove. Proceed as follows.

Clean the Tear Stain

Using a soft rug or a clean paper towel moist with warm water, clean the corner of the dog’s eyes. You should do this regularly if you are comfortable with it. Alternatively, have the groomer clean every time your dog is being groomed.

There are special wipes formulated to clean the dog’s tear stains. These at-home-use wipes can be found at any pet or vet shop you visit. Find out the best-recommended wipes that you can use at home.

Trim the Dog’s Hair

This is something that every dog owner should observe. Pay particular attention to the hair around the dog’s eye. The goal is to minimize the excess fur around the eye that could clump and trigger more tearing.

Choose Filtered Water

If your dog is triggered by tap water, invest in filtered water for their bowl. Please pay attention to the allergic triggers and eliminate them where possible. Furthermore, tap water could cause more staining when the dog tears because it contains many more minerals than filtered water.

Talk to the Vet

Sometimes the tear is triggered by an infection. Consult the veterinary officer for medication. Your dog may need oral medication to get rid of the constant tearing.

Key Takeaways

  • Always find out the cause of the dog’s tearing before you can tackle the tear stains
  • Consult and work with the vet to ensure that an infection does not cause the tearing
  • Note that different dogs tear for various reasons, so you must always find the root cause
  • It is possible to get rid of unsightly tear stains from your dog’s fur
  • Good grooming can help keep unsightly tear stains away from your dog’s fur

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