What are Tear Stains?

Tear stains are exactly what the name implies – stains under your pet's eyes. Eyes – human, canine or feline – produce tears on a daily basis. It is Mother Nature's way of protecting the eye. But where humans have a natural drainage system to deal with excess tears (the nasal passage), dogs and cats do not. The excess tears, in their case, are deposited in the furry growth under their eyes. This, according to most experts, is a breeding ground for bacteria. That is what you are seeing when you look at your dog's or cat's tear stains...a breeding ground for infection.

Causes of cat and dog tear stains

Tear stains are most often caused by blocked tear ducts or excessive hair around the eyes. Hair can act as a wick to draw out the tears. Other causes include, but are not limited to:

  • An allergy in and around the eye
  • An abnormal eyelid
  • Inflammation of the eye
Left untreated, some of these causes of tear stains can lead to infection and even blindness.

Conventional Treatment for Removing Tear Stains

Conventional treatments include antibiotics, eye scrubs and other harsh chemicals. Many of the existing chemical-based tear stain cleansers have written directly on the instructions, “DO NOT GET IN YOUR DOG'S OR CAT'S EYES.” This can be a little troublesome for the overactive pet. That is where natural remedies come into the picture.

Natural Remedies to Remove Tear Stains

Keeping your pet's area around the eyes clean is the first step to dealing with tear stains. Use a washcloth dampened with warm water to gently clear the area of crusty dirt and discharge.  Ask a groomer to trim the fur around the eye to prevent moisture and bacteria from accumulating.

Natural remedies such as oral supplements and treated wipes have become increasingly popular with pet owners in recent years. Products made with natural ingredients like eyebright and cranberry extracts are safe alternatives to chemically-based treatments.