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Causes of Tear Stains on Dogs and Cats

Causes of Tear Stains on Dogs and Cats

Tear stains, sometimes referred to as cat or dog eye stains, can be frustrating and unsightly. You may wonder where tear stains come from, what causes them, and how you can combat them. Thomas Labs® is here to help provide some answers to your questions!

Tear Stain Causes

Although cat and dog tear stains can have different causes, the most common cause is a condition called Epiphora, otherwise known as excessive tear production. Tear stains can form on dogs and cats if excessive amounts of bacteria and yeast accumulate on the fur around the eye area. Red yeast is what causes reddish-brown streaks under a dog or cat’s eyes, and it is a common cause of tear stains.

Dogs or cats that have shallow eye sockets, eyelids that face inward, excessive hair growth around the eyes, or tear ducts that easily clog may be more prone to the formation of tear stains.

Tear stains are more common in certain dog breeds, such as Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Maltese. In cats, tear stains are common in Himalayans and Persians. They are also more noticeable in pets with light-colored fur.

Even though tear staining isn’t usually detrimental, it can be a symptom of numerous health issues, such as bacterial infections and eye diseases. If your pet is suffering from tear stains, you should see your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.

Tear Stain Treatment

If there are no serious underlying health issues causing the tear stains, then you can focus on taking steps to get rid of the tear stains. Constant tear staining can lead to yeast infections and irritation, so it’s important to keep the fur around the eyes clean and properly groomed. You can do this by cleaning the area around the eye daily with a towel or cotton ball that has been soaked in warm water. It’s also important to keep the fur around the eyes clipped short.

Tear Stain Supplement for Dogs and Cats

Giving your pet a tear stain supplement can also be very helpful with tear stains. This is why Thomas Pet developed I Stain, a tear stain supplement for dogs and cats that contains colostrum, enzymes, and probiotics. It works from the inside out to support eye health and optimize the pH of tears to deter red yeast buildup—the common cause of tear stains for dogs and cats.

By keeping the fur around the eyes clean and properly groomed and with the help of I Stain, tear stains can be a thing of the past!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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