How to Get Rid of Bulldog Tear Stains

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bulldog tear stains

Tear stains are a common problem for english bulldogs. Learn about what causes them and some simple solutions to treat them and keep them from coming back.

Where Do Tear Stains Come From?

Tear staining is caused by the overflow of tears from your dog’s eyes. In addition to being unsightly, tear stains can become problematic if the eye duct becomes infected or the moisture creates a veritable breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Tear stains could also be an indication that a blockage or inflammation is preventing your dog’s tear ducts from draining properly.

How To Spot Tear Stains:

bulldog tear stain

• Look for reddish-brown or pink discoloration around the eye area.

• Watch for sensitivity, itching or scratching around the eyes.

• Excessive moisture under eyes.

• Yeasty smell in eye region.

• Lift up & check underneath eye wrinkles.

Tear stains can cause dark, reddish-brown discoloration to your bulldog’s face below and around his eyes. Tear stains affect all bulldogs, but they’re most evident in white or light-colored bulldogs with particularly heavy wrinkles.

What’s Causing Your Bulldog’s Tear Stains

Tear staining can be attributed to a number of different causes, with a combination of causes possibly at fault.

  • Genetics: The eye structure of certain bulldogs can make them more susceptible to staining.
  • Diet: Certain additives used in some pet foods, or allergic reactions to certain brands or food types, can cause facial discolorations and staining.
  • Excessive tearing: Constant, heavy moisture in the eye area is a surefire recipe for tear stains. The underlying issue may be allergies.
  • Infected tear ducts: Infected tear ducts may be another reason for excessive tearing.
  • Drinking water: Certain minerals or bacteria in the drinking water can add to the problem.
  • pH imbalance: A pH imbalance in your bulldog’s system can make him prone to infection and yeast growth.
  • Irritants and allergens:  Airborne pollutants like dust, smoke and toxic chemicals can cause tearing as an auto-immune response.

How to Treat Your Bulldog’s Tear Stains

Getting rid of tear stains is a two-part process. You want to cleanse the area and remove the existing discoloration, but you also want to tackle the root cause of the problem to stop the tear stains from constantly coming back. 

  • Genetics: Your vet can assess if eye duct surgical procedures to alter tear capacity could help.
  • Diet: Steer clear of grain products in general. Try switching to a different brand or type of food if you suspect food allergies.
  • Infected tear ducts: Treating the infection with medication your vet recommends is the way to go on this one.
  • Excessive tearing: Here you may again need help from your vet to determine what allergens or issues are contributing to the tearing.
  • Drinking water: Try stainless steel water and food bowls, cleaning them daily and sterilizing them in a dishwasher at least three times per week. Pure or distilled water may also help.
  • pH imbalance: Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the drinking water can change the water’s pH. Tums are another way to help balance the pH levels in your dog’s system. Try giving your dog one-half of a fruit-flavored Tums tablet twice a day. You can also purchase an at-home pH test kit to test and modify pH levels as needed.
  • Irritants and allergens: Air cleaning systems like HEPA air purifiers can eliminate 99.97% of airborne allergens and irritants.

Homemade Tear Removal Paste Recipe:

A popular alternative treatment for tear stains is homemade stain removal paste.

Ingredients: Milk of Magnesia (MOM), corn starch and peroxide:

Directions: Mix equal parts MOM and peroxide, adding corn starch until it becomes a thick paste. Work into the tear-stained area, allowing it to dry for four hours. Rinse it off thoroughly, dry well, and add a thin coating of Desitin diaper rash ointment to the area.

Frequency: Continue the treatment every day for three days, then skipping a day, for dogs with heavy staining. Apply every other day for lighter stains. Keep up the treatment until stains are removed.

Daily Cleaning Tips

Even after you get your dog’s tear stains under control, it’s important to clean around his eyes every day. Wipe your bulldog’s tear stains with a cotton swab at least once a day. You can use a natural antibacterial agent like hydrogen peroxide to kill topical bacteria. You can also use antibacterial dog rinse or shampoo and gently wipe the area with warm water to remove any leftover residue.

Signs You Should Visit The Vet:

Underlying Skin Infection

If the tear-stained skin area has become infected, you can try Panalog, or its cheaper genetic equivalent Anamax ointment or another over-the-counter, generic equivalent known for clearing up infections caused by allergens, bacteria and yeast.

Raw and Sore Areas

A trip to the vet is in order if the area is raw or sore, typically an indication of advanced infection that may require prescription medication.

Promptly removing tear stains not only makes your dog look better, but it also helps to prevent more severe issues from developing down the road.

How have you dealt with tear stains? What remedies have worked or not worked? Let us know in the comments section.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.

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