Is your Frenchie prone to tear stains? Here’s how to get rid of them.
Ahh, the dreaded tear stains.
The one question I get THE MOST, by far, is: “How do you get rid of tear stains?”
I have a lame answer: they don’t get them too often.
Weston never really had them BUT I was looking at photos of baby Fira and she did have some dark under eyes. Well, I hear tear stains are mostly from diet and/or genetics.
Why do dogs get tear stains?
Dogs can get tear stains for a multitude of reasons, including genetics, health issues, and environmental factors. Tear stains are usually caused by an overproduction of tears, which can be caused by allergies, eye infections, or even a blocked tear duct. When the tears overflow from the eye, they can create a moist environment that is ideal for bacterial growth. Over time, the bacteria can cause the fur around the eyes to become discolored and stained, resulting in unsightly tear stains.
Certain dog breeds, such as the Maltese, Shih Tzu, and French bulldogs, are more prone to tear stains due to their facial anatomy and the way their tears flow.
From Pet MD:
“Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs can be prone to tear stains. “The shape of the head and the way the eyes fit into the socket will affect whether a dog is prone to tear stains,” according to Klein. “This is because the connection to the muzzle can be configured in such a way that the tears accumulate instead of flowing through the ducts that normally drain them away from the eye.”
Tear stains usually are from the overproduction of tears or the tears not being able to drain away like normal.
But is there still something we can do about our pups who have tear stains? And what about natural remedies for dog tear stains? I started digging into it some more.
Choosing a diet as a natural remedy for dog tear stains…
When Fira came home at 11 weeks old, her breeder recommended she stay on the food she was already on til she was 6 months old. So, she stayed on a puppy kibble but after 6 months, I then switched to homemade cooked foods and fresh human-grade foods from dog food companies. This was mostly because of Weston’s super-sensitive stomach.
Fira’s under eyes immediately cleared up after switching to homemade food, and to this day, both Weston + Fira’s under eyes are so bright and white. In my experience, homemade dog food can make a big difference in getting rid of your Frenchie’s tear stains naturally.
Most commercial dog foods contain artificial ingredients, fillers, and preservatives that can cause allergies and other health issues in dogs. These ingredients can contribute to tear stains by irritating the eyes and causing excess tearing. By making your own dog food at home, you control the ingredients and make sure your dog is getting a high-quality, balanced diet. Homemade dog food inevitably improves your dog’s overall health and immune system with a healthy diet that is rich in essential vitamins and nutrients and reduces the risk of infections and other health issues that can contribute to tear stains.
Here’s a timeline:
Fira at around 4 months old. You can see her wrinkles were very dark. We weren’t really that diligent about wiping them, admittedly, but her eyes did seem to water more when she was younger, causing more tear stains.
Unedited photo. You can really see those tear stains here.
8 months old, after we switched to homemade dog food. Starting to lessen.
One year old! Under-eye stains are hardly visible and the area looks nice and clean. At this point, that’s 6 months on a fresh-cooked food diet. You can really see how making homemade dog food can be a great natural remedy for tear stains.
I think the food you feed your dog makes a HUGE difference. I’ve heard so many stories from people about switching food and their pups’ tear stains lessening or completely going away.
Use only filtered water to help with your Frenchie’s tear stains.
Making sure your dog’s water is only filtered can help, too. Filtered water helps remove potentially harmful contaminants from your dog’s drinking water, such as chlorine, lead, and other chemicals that can be present in tap water. By providing your dog with clean, pure water that is free from potential irritants and allergens, you can help reduce the risk of health issues and promote overall wellness.
Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water.
Even adding a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar can help as a natural remedy for dog tear stains. I’ve never tried it myself but I’ve heard from others that this has worked.
By adding apple cider vinegar to your dog’s diet, you can help restore the body’s natural pH balance. The pH scale is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, with a range of 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). While a dog’s body naturally has a slightly alkaline pH level, factors such as diet, stress, and illness can cause this balance to become imbalanced.
Although vinegar is an acidic substance, once it is metabolized by the body, it actually has an alkalizing effect. This means that it can help create a more alkaline environment in the body, which can be beneficial for preventing infections from happening.
If your dog has environmental or food allergies, that’s going to cause your dog’s eyes to water more than usual or not drain properly. You can ask your vet for a food allergy test or try an elimination diet on your own at home.
Don’t have time to make your own homemade dog food?
One common culprit of tear stains is the presence of food allergens in a dog’s diet. Many commercial dog foods contain ingredients that dogs can be sensitive or allergic to, such as wheat, corn and soy. By switching to a fresh cooked dog food diet, your pup will be consuming better quality food, especially higher quality protein sources than many commercial dog foods. Protein is essential for maintaining healthy muscles and tissues, including those in the tear ducts. Additionally, fresh cooked dog foods often contain higher levels of moisture, which can help keep a dog’s eyes lubricated and reduce the risk of tear duct blockages.
Here are a few fresh dog food companies I recommend…
Just Food For Dogs is the first fresh dog food company that I tried, which was almost a decade ago! They specialize in providing high-quality, human-grade food for dogs. Their meals are prepared in their own kitchens, following strict food safety standards, and are tested for nutritional content by accredited vets. There’s a decent variety of flavors like beef + potato, lamb + rice, white fish + sweet potato and turkey + macaroni.
With over 200 locations nationwide, including all Petco stores, I find myself easily picking up Just Food For Dogs when I’m running low on dog food and need to get it fast!
The Farmer’s Dog is also one of the more popular dog food brands out there! Did you see their most recent Superbowl commercial? *tear jerker*
The meals are pre-portioned and personalized for your dogs’ specific needs based on a profile you create when signing up. The food is gently cooked to maintain whole food integrity and natural nutrients, then frozen and shipped directly to your door. Sign up and get 50% off your first order!
PetPlate also offers delicious, balanced dog food that looks like real food. They come in convenient little containers and and an easy subscription plan (a full plan could cost as little as $1.29/day!). Your dog will thank you!
Hopefully some of these tips will help. I know that some French Bulldogs can have darker under eyes genetically but as long as you maintain their folds and keep them dry (in other words, bacteria-free), it should make a world of a difference, along with a few natural remedies listed above.
What has helped your dog’s tear stains? Comment below!