How to Get Rid of Dog Tear Stains Prevention Tips

Dogs’ eyes are very special – but they need you to help keep them clean and healthy. Tear stains under the dog’s eyes, which could be dark or reddish-brown, are one of the most common issues dogs and their owners face. How do you get rid of dog tear stains?

While dog tear stains might not pose so much of a health risk (although they might be pointing to a few underlying health issues), you still want to help your pet get rid of the unsightly stains to keep them looking cute and clean. This article discusses everything you need to know!

7 Major Causes of Dog Tear Stains

Tear stains appear prominently on white dogs because the pigment in the tears can easily dye the white dog. This is also similar in dogs with lightly colored furs. Also, certain dog breeds like Maltese are at risk of tear stains, more than other breeds. Regardless, here are all seven of the most common causes of tear stains in dogs;

  1. Diseases: bacterial and viral infections of the eye and ear, scarring from past infections, as well as glaucoma, and conjunctivitis, among others.
  2. Allergies/irritants: exposure to smoke, dust, allergens and other irritants can cause consistent tearing of the eyes that will need surgical repair.
  3. Shallow eye sockets and inverted eyelids – genetic issues.
  4. Teething: common in small dogs.
  5. Poor diet: low-quality dog food can exacerbate dog tear stains as well as excess stress.
  6. Entropion: rolling in of the eyelids.
  7. Ingrown eyelashes
how to get rid of dog tear stain

How to Get Rid of Dog Tear Stains

The thing with tear stains in dogs is that it’s not a straightforward problem with a surefire fix. What this means is that there’s no one-fits-all-dogs solution guaranteed to work for every dog every time. But then, there are a variety of procedures you can try with one or more likely to help you clear the stains off your dog’s cute face.

What are these at-home solutions?

We discuss them below;

Cornstarch paste/hydrogen peroxide

You might have heard some dog parents using herbal products with regular saline to try and remove tear stains. You can try using cornstarch paste mixed with a little quantity of hydrogen peroxide to make your herbal at-home remedy for dog tear stains.

  • First, dilute a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with a tablespoon of water.
  • Mix the diluted hydrogen peroxide with cornstarch to form a thick and consistent paste. 
  • Apply the cornstarch paste to the stained areas just under the dog’s eyes

NB: Peroxide can be irritating to your dog’s eyes so you have to be sensitive so it doesn’t come in contact with the eyes. But compared to bleach (which we do not recommend), it’s a much better solution.

Apple cider vinegar

Dog parents also use apple cider vinegar in two different ways to address tear stain issues.

The first method is by mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the dog’s meal. Along with helping to remove the tear stains, this is believed to be able to alter the dog’s pH balanced so it can stop producing more tears. Even if this doesn’t work for your dog, you can still try the other method with apple cider vinegar or the other non-apple cider vinegar recommendations. You’ve got nothing to lose as apple cider vinegar helps boost your dog’s gut health and digestion even if it fails to address the tear stain issues in your dog.

Here’s how the second method worlds;

  • Dilute the apple cider vinegar with water in the same way with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Apply this solution topically to the tear-stained areas.

Again, be careful enough to ensure this does not come in direct contact with your dog’s eyes. There are also pre-mixed solutions already made by reputable vendors. These are much safer and easier to use if you’re hesitant about mixing ingredients at home.


You can try giving your dog a tablespoon of yogurt along with their meal, similar to giving them apple cider vinegar.

There are three things involved though. First, the yogurt must be the plain unsweetened type to work and secondly, you can’t apply the yogurt to your dog’s face directly.

Thirdly, you need to be sure your dog is not lactose intolerant.

Many dogs are lactose intolerant. If your dog feels discomfort or you notice signs of diarrhea or bloating after consuming dairy products, your dog may be lactose intolerant.

Coconut oil for dog tear stains

Coconut oil has significant antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Shop for unrefined, organic coconut oil and apply this on the stained areas.
  • Before application, use a wipe to clean and dry the stained areas.
  • Apply the coconut oil gently on your dog’s fur and skin.

Many stain removers have coconut oil as one of their base ingredients.

The natural product has antibacterial properties that can prevent the growth of bacteria on your dog’s fur. Unlike non-organic coconut oil which may contain chemicals that can be toxic on your dog’s skin, organic coconut oil is completely safe for use on your dog.

How to Prevent Tear Stains in Dogs

You now know the causes of those unsightly dark or brown streaks on your dog’s face.

And now that you also know what you can do to remove those stains, it also makes sense that you know how to prevent the stains from showing up in the first place.

Here are some tips to help in that aspect;

  • Put your dog on a healthy diet

Consider putting your dogs on a natural, vegetable-rich, grain-free diet devoid of dyes, additives, and harmful carbohydrate filler ingredients. You can also consider giving your dog filtered water if the water you’re giving them is hard.

Other solutions include;

  • Get rid of smoke, allergens, and sources of irritants within your home. And
  • Consider seeing a veterinarian if the condition does not clear up after a few at-home fixes. Sometimes, this could be fixed by surgical treatments or by addressing the underlying issue causing the tear stains.


Indeed, tear stains in most cases might not pose health risks to your dog. But then, the mere appearance of these streaks on your dog’s face might seem a dent on what should otherwise be a rounded and adorably cute face.

While there’s also not a particular method guaranteed to work for all dogs, trying one or more of the tips we discussed will help your dog’s face become stain-free and cute once again.

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