How to Clean Poodle Tear Stains

How to Clean Poodle Tear Stains

Have you ever noticed dark brown or reddish tear stains under a dog’s eyes and wondered where they come from?

Dog Tear Stains: How to Prevent & Clean Them
Dog Tear Stains: How to Prevent & Clean Them

Especially with breeds like the poodle, tear stains seems to be an ongoing problem.

Tear stains are one of the most common dog health issues people notice. The discoloration usually begins on the corners of a dog’s eyes and works its way in toward the nose, creating streaks or splotches. While some tear stains are hereditary, others are caused by medical conditions such as untreated allergies or infections.

How to Clean Tear Stains on Poodles
How to Clean Tear Stains on Poodles

A long time reader of this blog e-mailed me the other day asking  if I had any idea how to prevent tear stains in Poodles. She said her poor dog was suffering from an eye problem and she did not know how to make them go away.

As someone who loves to educate people about poodles and how to best care for them, I have encountered my share of tear stained dogs (both Poodle and non-Poodle). So, I thought I would write about it for my readers who love their canine friend very much.

Why Do Poodles Get Tear Stains?

Even if it is not apparent, every instance of tear stains begins with a Poodle having excessive eye tearing. And the reason for tearing has quite a few possible causes.

This may or may not be noticeable to owners.  In many cases it is not, as the tears are absorbed into the hairs rather quickly. In addition, a Poodle’s coloring will also play a role in how much of this is noticed.

When hairs around the eyes remain damp, the continual presence of saline and other elements in the tears causes the discoloration.
In addition to this, if hairs remain wet, a red yeast infection can settle in.
There are quite a few elements that can trigger the eyes to run, some are common and others are not.
Common reasons include:
  • Reactions to additives found in inferior dog foods
  • Unfiltered tap water
  • Allergies
  • Teething
Possible, but less common reasons include:
  • Tear duct blockage
  • Eye lash or eye lid abnormality
  • Ear infection

Underlying Medical Issues that Cause Tear Stains in Poodles

There are several causes of tear stains in dogs. Some reasons include not regularly cleaning the dog’s eyes, as well as congenital or genetic reasons. Other reasons typically result from some medical issue.

Below are some possible medical issues that can cause tear stains on poodles.

  • There is a serious condition called Glaucoma that causes a build-up of pressure in the eye and damages the optic nerve.
  • An ear infection may cause tears to flow more often than usual from the eye on the same side of the head.
  • Mucus, pus, or discharge can be caused by inflammation of the eye’s lining, also known as conjunctivitis.
  • An ingrown eyelash can irritate and damage the eye since it rubs against the surface.
  • A discharge from the eye can be caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections.
  • Entropion occurs when the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye, causing irritation, which in turn causes more tears to flow.

Different Body Structures that Cause Tear Stains in Poodles

Not all poodles are the same, while they all are awesome at heart, some of them are built differently from others.

While there can be some underlying medical conditions that can be causing your Poodle’s tear stains, the most common cause is due to your poodle’s body structure.

  • Poodles that have large tear glands. These larger than usual tear glands naturally produce a larger volume of tears with each blink than poodles with smaller tear glands.
  • From each eye, there is a tube going into the nasal cavity so that excess tears can be drained from the eyes. Having small openings in these ducts reduces their efficiency, and excess tears accumulate in the hair.
  • It is possible for tear drainage to decrease if the eye has been infected or damaged previously.
  • Blockages in the ducts prevent excess liquid from being removed from the eye.Poodles tend to have drainage holes that do not develop properly.
  • The hair that gets into the eyes can wick away the tears, pulling away the moisture from the eyes and leaving it on the skin.

Other Possible Causes of Poodle Tear Stains

  • As the eye attempts to remove the irritating substance, it may become watery due to an irritation.
  • Many issues can be caused by anxiety and stress.Poor-quality food containing undesirable and indigestible ingredients is stressful to the body of a dog.Foods that are cheap and low-quality are often problematic.
  • Eyes can water excessively as a result of allergic reactions. Seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, or an allergic reaction to the dog’s food can all trigger allergies.
  • While teething, puppies may produce more tears and tear stains may appear on their skin. Having your pet’s vet check for any other issues that could be causing the tears is a good idea, but the problem usually subsides once teething is done.

How To Clean Poodle Tear Stains

If you find your Poodle has tear stains, then you don’t need to take them to a vet in the first instance. In fact, as a dog owner, you can try cleaning them first to see if they go away. To do this, you will need to do the following:

Step #1 – Remove the Triggers

1. Have all possible health issues ruled out. This includes eyelash and eye lid abnormalities, blocked tear ducts, and ear infections.

2. If allergies are at play, it is best if your veterinarian performs testing to help identify the triggers. Allergy medication can help. In addition, other steps include:
  • Changing to a grain-free, all-natural dog food (more ahead)
  • Running your central air with a HEPA filter or using free-standing air purifiers
  • Vacuuming the house (even hardwood floors) with a HEPA vacuum as it will pick up allergen particles during the air exchange,
  • Having everyone remove shoes when entering
  • Washing off your Poodle’s paws each time the puppy or dog is brought back inside.
3. Switch your Poodle to a grain-free, all-natural dog food.  High grain content and chemical additives are to blame for a myriad of issues including tear stains. Other reactions include nose discoloration and gastrointestinal upset.

A great choices for toy Poodles is Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free for Small Breeds, which is a superior food formulated for small dogs. This has no grains, corn, or soy. It has no by-products and no artificial additives. There are no chemical preservatives, as vitamin blends are used instead.

This has omega fatty acids via salmon oil for excellent skin and coat health. And there are great bonuses including antioxidants (for a strong immune system), probiotics (eases digestion), and glucosamine (important for joint health). And this is made in the USA.
For miniature and standard Poodles, we recommend Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Original. This has all of the above elements that make it a fantastic food. There are great formulas to choose from including Turkey & Chicken, Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon, and Wild Game Duck, Turkey, Boar & Rabbit.
4. If you have a Poodle puppy that is teething, while this phase is temporary it can cause long-lasting tear stains. Follow the remedy steps ahead, as you can minimize the stains if you keep on top of them.

5. Do not give your Poodle unfiltered tap water. It can come as a shock to many owners that a slew of harmful ingredients can be found in tap water across the country.

There are known carcinogens such as chromium 6 in the water of over 200 million Americans and perfluorooctanoic acid. Tap water also often contains mercury, fluoride (toxic to canines), and chlorine. There can also be lead and arsenic.
Another top concern is volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) which refers to an array of toxins that can cause liver issues, immune system failure, and possibly cancer. The EPA estimates that 20% of water nationwide contains VOCs.

Many agents are unknown. At any one given time tap water contains 100 unknown and possibly dangerous toxins.

While it pales in comparison to the other terribly dangerous elements, it is high mineral content that can cause tear stains.
if you want to ensure that your Poodle’s drinking water is safe, there are a few choices.
You can have a filtering device connected to your kitchen tap or installed under the sink, offer only bottle spring water, or use a filtering water pitcher.

If you are thinking about a filtering pitcher, choose wisely as some do not do that much.  An extremely effective one is the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher.

This filters out the above mentioned chromium 6, fluoride, lead, mercury and chlorine.
It also removes cryptosporidium, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and even asbestos.
In fact, this removes 2000% more toxins than Brita.

6. Prevent tear droplets from staying on the hairs.  It’s normal for some amount of natural tearing to occur.  The problem is when tiny droplets remain long enough to be absorbed into the hairs around the eyes.

This is because tears contain a lot more than just water. There is also glucose, immunoglobulins, lacritin, lactoferrin, lipids, lipocalin, lysozyme, mucin, potassium, sodium, and urea.
For this reason, you will want to routinely wipe the area around your Poodle’s eyes. It is recommended to do this at least twice per day, with 3 times being ideal.  To help you remember, you may want to try to get into the habit of doing this after each meal.
 This is best done with a quality canine eye wipe, and we’ll go over recommended wipes next.

Step #2 – Use a Quality Tear Stain Remover

Please note that if you used one of these before and did not get great results, this may be because any number of the previous items in ‘Step 1’ were not followed. So, you’ll want to be sure to adhere to all that are applicable.

Then, for the best tear stain removers, there are 2 basic options:
1. Tear stain remover wipes. These are the best choice for Poodles with minor to moderate tear stains. These are super easy to use, are economical, and can also double as the ‘daily wipe’ as mentioned in point #6.
2. Tear stain remover powders and liquids. If red yeast is to blame and the stains have been present for years, it will be time to up the game and move to this type of remover.

What Not to Do to Your Dog’s Tear Stains

There are many possible things that can help your dog’s watery eyes and tear stains. However, there are things that you should definitely not try.

With any product that you are going to use on your dog, make sure that it is safe first. You might want to talk to your veterinarian. There are certain products that can cause harm to your dog, such as:

  • Topical vinegar
  • Non-dulled Hydrogen peroxide
  • Make-up remover

do not use these on your dog in any situation.

Related Questions

How to Prevent Tear Stains in Poodles?

Owners of light colored poodles such as the white poodle and the apricot poodle are always on the lookout for ways to prevent tear stains.

There are a number of easy steps you can take to keep these attractive pooches looking their absolute best.

  • Make sure their drinking water is clean – Having traveled a couple times with my own dogs without their normal water and having to pour them water from my own bottled water, something that they’re not used to. I have always noticed that they quickly start to develop stains in response to excess minerals.
  • Make sure your food is of high quality – Insufficient-quality foods use corn, wheat, and meals as fillers that do not ensure long-term health and may cause allergic reactions, which can cause excessive tears and other problems.
  • Maintaining hygiene of their mouth, eyes, and hair every single day – You can keep the stains at bay by “face grooming” daily.

Do Poodle Tear Stains Go Away on Their Own?

  • If your poodle is frequently getting tear stains on their face, you should have a vet check them out.
  • Poodles often get tear staining around the time they teethe and this is caused by hormones. But after they finish teething the problem often goes away, but if it doesn’t talk to your vet

Do Tear Stains Smell?

  • If you have a poodle, then you know that they can be prone to tear stains on the fur around their eyes. But do those tear stains smell?
  • The growth of bacteria in the moist fur under the eyes can lead to an unpleasant smell. Plus, this bacteria can spread to the skin and cause infections.

Final Thoughts

  • Poodles make wonderful companions, but tear staining can be a persistent problem for new owners.
  • Overall, I hope this article helps you to better understand the causes of tear staining in poodles. If your dog has stains, don’t be embarrassed about it or worry too much.
  • Tear stains are completely manageable. Following the methods I discussed in this article I’m confident you’ll be able to keep your poodle’s face looking healthy and stain-free.
  • If you have any questions or comments about this article, then feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!
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.