Those red, rusty tear stains are like blemishes on your sweet puppy’s face. Tear stains aren’t harmful to your pet, but they look unattractive and can emit an unpleasant odor. There are several products on the market claiming they can remove staining. Some may work, but not all of them are as safe as they claim. Not long ago, products using the antibiotic tylosin tartrate were taken off the market because they were not approved by the FDA for use on or around your pet’s eyes. Using coconut oil for pet tear stains is a safe and simple remedy you may not have heard of—until now!
What Causes Pet Tear Stains?
There are several theories for the cause of tear stains. Most veterinarians agree the red streaks that form under a dog’s eyes and along the sides of its nose are caused by excess tearing. Damp hair collects dirt and dust which can lead to the growth of yeast and bacteria. The growth of reddish-brown yeast is particularly common and can leave stains on light-colored fur. Any dog can suffer from tear stains, but breeds such as Maltese and Shih Tzu are more vulnerable.
If your pet has any type of chronic eye discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Watery eyes or a bacterial infection could indicate other more serious issues such as:
- Ingrown eyelashes
- Eye infection
- Abnormal tear ducts
- Ear infection
- Brachycephalic syndrome
- Side effects to medication
- Second-hand smoke allergies
Once it’s confirmed that your pet has common tear stains, there are many steps you can take to decrease or eliminate the problem.
Tear Stain Prevention and Treatment
Treating pet tear stains starts with hygiene around the face and eyes. Keep hair around the eyes and nose trimmed short so there aren’t long strands of wet hair resting on the affected areas. Gently dab the area with a soft cloth a few times a day in order to keep the face as dry as possible. Gentleness is key, vigorous wiping will soon irritate this sensitive area and may create other problems. Other suggestions for preventing and removing tear stains include:
- Feed your pet the highest quality food you can afford. Grain-free mixes may be recommended
- Use filtered water instead of tap water which may have a high mineral content
- Ditch the plastic dishes, use only stainless steel, pottery or glass food and water bowls. Bacteria is more likely to grow in old plastic containers. Wash and sanitize all pet dishes regularly
Coconut Oil for Pet Tear Stains
The natural anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agents in coconut oil not only help eliminate tear stains, coconut oil is completely safe to use around or in your pet’s eyes. As long as you use only organic, unrefined coconut oil such as Coco Treasure Organics Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Non-organic and refined oils may contain pesticides and chemicals—things you definitely don’t want to put in your furry friend’s eye.
First, gently blot away any moisture from the area, getting the hair and skin as dry as possible. Then use clean hands to massage a small amount of coconut oil under the eyes and along the sides of the nose where stains occur. The use of coconut oil for pet tear stains helps in two ways. First, the oil creates a water-resistant barrier for repelling tears—not allowing them to soak in and stay on the face. Secondly, by naturally fighting bacteria and yeast buildup.
To remove stubborn tear stains, use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently work a small amount of coconut oil into the stain. Use a white or light-colored cloth so you can see the red or brown matter collecting on the cloth. Repeat this in short sessions twice a day until staining is gone or you no longer see it rubbing off on the cloth.
Regular readers of our blog know that coconut oil offers many health benefits for dogs, and they love it! Whether keeping its coat healthy and shiny, controlling weight, improving digestive disorders or removing tear stains, coconut oil may be your best friend’s best friend.