Top 10 Best Dog Food for Tear Stains

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Tear Stains

You’ve got the most beautiful dog in the neighborhood, but he has unsightly tear stains that you just can’t get rid of. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and tear stains affect many dogs. But there is hope!

You might be surprised to learn that the food that you feed him can impact the severity of his tear stains. And here in this guide, we have five of the best dog foods to prevent tear stains, all complete with in-depth reviews.

There are so many foods out there claiming to be a tear stain miracle. So, unless you have a degree in doggy health, it’s hard to know where to start. But we have saved you the grueling task, so you can spend less time trawling through hundreds of products and more time cuddling your gorgeous pooch.

We have also put together a buying guide. This way, you will feel confident about making the best nutritional decision for your dog and his tear stain needs.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Tear Stains

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Hearty Recipes Variety Pack Wet Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Hearty Recipes Variety Pack Wet Dog Food
Main ingredients: Chicken Paw Pie: chicken broth, chicken, dried egg product, egg white, pea protein. Beef Stroganwoof: chicken broth, beef, chicken, dried egg product, pea protein. Chicken Muttballs: chicken broth, chicken, dried egg product, ground tapioca, pea protein.
Protein content: 9.0% minimum
Fat content: 2.0% minimum
Calories: Chicken Paw Pie 239 kcal/8-oz tray, Chicken Muttballs 298 kcal/8-oz tray, Beef Stroganwoof 259 kcal/8-oz tray

While these Nutrish wet foods meet the AAFCO’s nutrition guidelines for adult dogs, they contain much less protein and fat than other brands on our list. Some dogs are sensitive to corn, wheat, or soy but will still benefit from grains. These three Nutrish formulas rely on rice and tapioca for gentler and easier digestion. All three of these varieties contain legumes in the form of pea protein, an ingredient that researchers say has a possible link to canine heart problems.

You should consult your veterinarian or a certified veterinary nutritionist before feeding your dog a diet heavy in legumes. This probably won’t be the wet food variety pack you reach for if your pup has protein sensitivities, as these contain a little of everything: chicken, dried egg, and beef. We like this food because it’s affordable and easy to find in stores. Dogs love the rich gravy and delicious recipes, while owners love the convenient packaging. The Nutrish varieties aren’t paté or blended and look like their human counterparts of pot pie and stroganoff.

  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Easy to find in stores
  • Not suitable for protein allergies
  • Lower protein

Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Lamb, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley Recipe Whole Grain Adult Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Lamb, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley Recipe Whole Grain Adult Dry Dog Food
Main ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal
Protein content: 22.0% minimum
Fat content: 10.0% minimum
Calories: 335 kcal/cup

Solid Gold bills itself as “America’s first holistic pet food.” All of their dog food formulas are free of artificial ingredients. While lamb is the primary protein source, this food does also contain ocean fish meal and chicken fat. Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Lamb, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley meets the needs of dogs that need a novel protein source but will still benefit from whole grains. Pumpkin and ground flaxseed are tasty additions that boost the fiber content.

  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Easy-to-digest lamb
  • Unclear what “natural flavor” is

Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value

2Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

This option is the best dog food for tears stains for the money, and it comes in a large bag too. Not only does this make it excellent value for money, but it also means that if you have more than one tear stain victim, there is plenty to go around.

The sole protein is fish, with whitefish as the first ingredient and fish meal following shortly after. It is full of omega fatty acids, which is excellent for his skin and coat health. It is full of fantastic fishy taste that most dogs love too.

This option focuses on complete health, making it ideal for his overall wellness, not just his tear staining. It uses gentle grains such as barley and oatmeal, so his stomach will not have to work hard to break it down.

The only reason that this kibble did not make it to the number one spot is that it is not labeled as a tear stain removing kibble. But it ticks all of the boxes, and the reviews state that it has improved their puppies tear stains. So, this is a tried and tested option.

  • Not specifically tear stain labeled
  • Fish is full of omegas
  • Great value
  • Easy to digest formula
  • Grain inclusive option

Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Turkey, Whitefish & Quinoa Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Vet’s Choice

Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Turkey
Main ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Oats, Barley, Brown Rice
Protein content: 27.00% minimum
Fat content: 16.00% minimum
Calories: 432 kcal/cup

Dogs of all sizes can develop tear stains. However, smaller breeds like poodles, Shih Tzus, and Malteses are more susceptible. This vet-approved dog food meets the dietary needs of little dogs. Despite the “turkey” and “whitefish” name, this recipe also contains chicken and dried egg products. The added probiotics make it easy on the most sensitive of stomachs. While many owners love this food, a few report that the kibble is too big for the tiniest canine mouths. The omega-3 and omega-6 can help improve your dog’s fur and skin, and Nulo differentiates itself from other small breed dog foods by offering “Low carbs and low-glycemic ingredients.” The smallest bag the company sells is a 5-pound bag, which is an investment for a small dog that may not like the food.

  • No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
  • Calorie dense
  • Multiple protein sources
  • Unclear what “natural flavor” is
  • Large kibble

FirstMate Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

1FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This premium formula is made with all-natural ingredients, making it an easy to digest option as there are no artificial preservatives present.

Chicken meal is the sole protein, making it simple for his digestive system to break down. Chicken meal is also the first ingredient, meaning it provides your pooch with high-quality meat protein and a protein content of 25%.

This is a grain-free diet and instead uses potatoes as the main carbohydrates and energy provider.

Blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries are listed, which offer various vitamins and minerals for an overall healthy oxidative state. There are also vitamin and mineral supplements added to the formula to make sure he gets everything he needs from this kibble.

This is by far the best kibble on this list because of its premium ingredients and simple formula that is easy to digest. The only downside to this kibble is that because it is a premium formula, it comes with a premium price tag. But, if you can stretch your budget slightly, this is an excellent option for reducing tear stains.

If you have a toy pooch with a tiny mouth, this formula also comes in a ‘Small Bites‘ option too.

  • Premium price
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Premium recipe
  • Packed with vitamins

Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

5Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This formula is a limited ingredient recipe, making it an easy to digest kibble with struggling digestive systems in mind. The only protein source is venison, making it a clean formula. It also makes this an ideal pick for those dogs who are allergic to commonly used fish or chicken ingredients.

Canola oil, flaxseed, and salmon oil provide omega fatty acids for his skin and coat health. And a list of vitamins and minerals is also listed too to keep him fighting fit against illness.

This recipe has the lowest calorie count and fat content too. Meaning that if your four-legged bestie is overweight and needs to look after his size, this is the better option for him.

Unfortunately, the first ingredient is not a meat ingredient, which is not ideal for many dogs’ nutritional needs. But, some dogs do much better on a low protein diet, making this the better option for these pooches who also have tear stains.

  • First ingredient is not meat
  • No probiotic ingredients
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Single animal protein source

Forza10 Nutraceutic Sensitive Tear Stain Plus Dry Dog Food

4Forza10 Nutraceutic Sensitive Tear Stain Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This product is designed with tear stain removal in mind, thanks to years of scientific research by veterinarians. The manufacturer states that it can take just two weeks to see great results, and it is highly rated too.

It also offers the joint-highest protein content at 30%. Which makes this an excellent option for energetic dogs who need the energy and muscle maintenance power.

Anchovy meal is the first ingredient, with pork meal and hydrolyzed salmon and fish protein. Hydrolyzed protein is gentler on digestive systems. It removes the common allergens and simply keeps the protein and amino acids.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are listed, ensuring that your dog gets all the immune-boosting nutrients it needs. And it also lists exotic fruits such as melon, papaya, and pomegranate for an extra boost.

This product does not list any probiotic ingredients, making this option less viable for those struggling with tear staining due to struggling digestive systems. This is why this product didn’t rank higher on our top pick list.

  • Premium price
  • No probiotic ingredients
  • Uses hydrolyzed protein
  • Made with tear-staining in mind
  • Limited ingredient formula

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient Chicken, Sweet Potato & Garbanzo Bean Recipe Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient Chicken
Main ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Garbanzo Beans
Protein content: 28.0% minimum
Fat content: 10.0% minimum
Calories: 409 kcal/cup

Dogs can develop tear stains and food sensitivities at any point in their lives. If your senior’s current dog food causes tear stains, check out this formula from Canidae. Many dogs go crazy for the blend of chicken, turkey, and sweet potatoes. Not all dogs will benefit from a grain-free diet, so talk with your vet if you have any questions. Garbanzo beans add fiber and carbohydrates, but there’s a possible link between legumes and heart problems in certain breeds.

Talk with your veterinarian before feeding your senior pup a grain-free diet that contains legumes like garbanzo beans. The company sources its ingredients from the U.S., except for duck (France) and lamb (New Zealand). The one ingredient we take issue with is “natural flavor.” While Canidae doesn’t use artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, we think dog owners need more transparency about this ingredient. This isn’t the cheapest dog food on the market, but it has a strong, loyal consumer base. Most negative reviews are over concerns that their dog didn’t like the taste.

  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Expensive
  • Contains unspecified “natural flavor”

Annamaet Grain-Free Aqualuk Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies

3Annamaet Grain-Free Aqualuk Cold Water Formula Dry Dog Food

This option is our favorite for puppies because it is full of ingredients that provide docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) for their growing needs. Ingredients such as salmon meal and herring meal are full of the essential fats needed for his development stage and replicate the nutrients found in mothers’ milk.

This option is suitable for all life stages too, so it’s not just for puppies. This is a premium product that provides completely natural and high-quality ingredients.

It is easy to digest, thanks to the sole protein source, which is fish. It also lists a probiotic dried fermentation ingredient that will promote healthy gut bacteria to assist with healthy digestion.

This is another grain-free option and uses prebiotic fibers such as peas, as well as potatoes, and chickpeas for his energy needs.

The only criticism of this product is that it is a premium product and not suited to all budgets. But it is highly rated and labeled as a tear stain removing product showing excellent results. It also has the highest fat content at 16%, which is great for growing pups, not so great for dogs who are already overweight.

  • Premium price
  • Highest fat content
  • Ideal for puppy development
  • Easy to digest formula
  • Full of omega fats

American Journey Active Life Formula Healthy Weight Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food

American Journey Active Life Formula Healthy Weight Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food, 28-lb
Main ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Barley
Protein content: 25% minimum
Fat content: 9% minimum
Calories: 305 kcal/cup

This formula from American Journey makes it possible for your dog to maintain a healthy weight and clear up tear stains. The primary protein sources in this food are salmon and fish meal, but it also contains chicken meal and chicken fat. Brown rice and barley provide a gentle source of grains, a food group that most dogs need in their diet. American Journey is one of the lesser-known dog food brands produced solely for Chewy.

It’s difficult to find information about American Journey, but the company states that they make their dog food in the U.S. with domestic and imported ingredients. While PetSmart owns Chewy, our research shows that at this time, you can only buy American Journey online. Legumes like peas provide fiber and protein, but research has found a potential link to heart problems in certain breeds. Check with your veterinarian before switching to any dog food with legumes as a primary ingredient.

  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
  • Only available on Chewy

Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Food for Tear Stains

Here in this section, we will teach you everything that you need to know about his tear stains, how you can reduce or eliminate them, and the link to food.

What Causes Tear Stains?

  • Usually, tear stains are typically caused by an excessive amount of tears being produced or because the tears cannot drain away properly. It could just be the makeup of your dog’s face, or it could be as a result of a medical concern that needs checking out.
  • Glaucoma, conjunctivitis, ingrown eyelashes, entropion, and various eye infections can cause tear staining. And ear infections are also a common factor too. These all need veterinary intervention and treatment. So, if you notice tear staining, please take him to the vet for a checkup.
  • It could also be due to sensitivities, such as food or seasonal allergies, stress, exposure to irritants such as dust, or even teething during puppyhood.
  • If you notice that the tear stains are more brown than red, and they are odorous, he is likely suffering from a yeast infection. Give him a whiff, and if it doesn’t smell pleasant (trust us, you’ll know straight away), take him to the vets straight away.

What Are Tear Stains?

  • Tear stains are unsightly reddish or brownish marks found beneath his eyes, looking like little red gooey streams. All dogs get eye boogers (sorry for the revolting word, but it is what it is!), but some dogs excrete the reddish-brownish more than others.
  • The tear stains are caused by a pigmented molecule that a dog’s body excretes as a waste product. This waste product is known as porphyrins, and it is the waste product of red blood cells. It contains iron, which is it is a dark reddish-brownish color.
  • Most dogs excrete this waste product through the digestive system, but in some dogs, it is removed via urine, saliva, and tears. Darker coated dogs can get tear stains too, but it is more visible in dogs with brilliant white coats. Over time, it stains the white hair around their eyes, making it very difficult to remove.

Most Affected Dog Breeds

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to tear stains, and these are usually smaller dogs with long hair on their face. Many smaller dogs have flatter faces, shallower eye sockets, and bulging eyes. This means that they do not have the normal tear draining function compared to other dogs.

Dog breeds most commonly affected by tear staining are:
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Shih Tzus
  • Pugs
  • Maltese
  • Bichon Frise
  • West Highland Terriers
  • Toy Poodles
  • Pekingnese
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

How Do I Get Rid Of Tear Stains?

  • There are many remedies to get rid of tear stains, but it depends on what the cause is. If it is because of an infection or ingrown eyelashes, he will need treatment or surgery.
  • If your dog is just susceptible to them, the three best things you can do to stop it are daily cleansing with a cotton bud and clean, warm water, and keep the hair around his eyes trimmed. And the third one is to change his diet to a better one, which is what we are going to focus on here.

The Nutrition and Tear Stain Connection

  • A low-quality diet is linked to tear stains, and it is a more common cause than people think. A poorer quality diet can put extra stress on his little digestive system. Making it work harder, which in turn increases the toxins and waste products that his body needs to get rid of. And one of them is porphyrins, which is the cause of tear staining.
  • Thankfully, changing his diet to a better one will not just decrease his tear stains, but it will also improve his overall health and happiness too. And over the long run, spending a few extra dollars every month could also save you higher vet bills in the long run, so it is a great value option too.
  • Let’s take a look at what you can look for when searching for a better kibble for his tear stains.

Good Quality Nutrition

Look for a premium kibble that provides a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet includes meat protein, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a premium kibble, but you do have to pay a higher price than budget store kibbles.

Always look for a kibble that abides by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) pet food guidelines. They have a seal of approval label, and all high-quality kibbles will have this on their packaging.

Budget stores kibbles will often have low meat content, hard to digest fillers, and artificial preservatives and colors. All of which causes havoc with doggy digestive systems. So, avoid these.

Easy to Digest

  • Because tear staining is often a result of excess toxins caused by a hard to digest diet, look for a kibble that emphasizes that it is easy to digest. Look for kibbles with prebiotic fibers, such as sweet potato, pumpkin, beet pulp, and chicory root.
  • Probiotic ingredients are also essential. Ingredients such as dried bacillus acidophilus and other fermented ingredients promote friendly bacteria in his gut and assist his gastrointestinal tract function.
  • Some formulas use limited ingredients, which make it much easier for his digestive system to process. They usually contain all of the things that he needs and nothing that he doesn’t. These are usually labeled as limited ingredient formulas.

Consider His Needs

  • Always remember to focus on your dog’s needs. Just because a food is labeled as a limited ingredient or tear stain removal formula does not mean that it will be the right one for you.
  • Many other sources on the internet suggest that you must feed your pup a grain-free formula to remove tear stains, but this is simply not true. Some dogs do much better on a gain inclusive diet, and by taking this away from them, it can make it harder for them to digest their food.
  • Some dogs have intolerances. And some dogs simply prefer certain meat flavors too, so it’s essential to find a recipe that your dog can eat and likes.
  • If he has a weight problem, you will be better off finding a recipe that has a lower calorie and fat content. Many recipes suggested for tear stain removal are often high in omega fats. Although omega fats are healthy fats, you will want to decrease them to control any weight gain. So, always look for a recipe that suits your dog.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s essential to determine the root cause of your dog’s tear staining, and this can only be done by a vet. Some dogs, however, no matter what you do to help him, will always suffer from tear staining. And this is where good quality nutrition steps in because it can help to reduce it significantly.

Hopefully, we’ve made the world of tear staining clearer, and now you not only understand, but you have found a product in our list that suits you and your pup. Our top overall pick is the FirstMate Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. And the best value for money pick is the Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food.

By choosing from one of our top picks for reducing tear staining, you can be sure that not only will it reduce the unsightly stains, but it can improve his health overall. Use the in-depth reviews to choose which one is best for your pooch, and we can assure you that you are onto a winner.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.