How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Tear Stains - dummies

How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Tear Stains

By Margaret H. Bonham

Tear stains show up as brown, gunky stuff that runs from your dog’s eye down the muzzle. Although they’re unsightly, they’re natural for some breeds. You have a variety of methods to choose from to clean up your dog’s fur and face.

Poodle eye, as tear stains are called, is common among Poodles, but that doesn’t mean other dogs don’t have them. Dogs with dark fur hide the stains better and some dogs just get rid of the gunk better. Dogs prone to tear stains usually are white or have light-colored coats and usually are single-coated with long hair, or have protruding eyes. (Tear stains can also indicate a problem so ask your vet whether they need professional attention.)


You can get rid of tear stains using three different methods — or a combination:

  • Wipe them off: Mix a solution of ten-percent hydrogen peroxide with water or a special stain-removal product for dogs. Gently swab the solution over the tear stain, being very careful not to get any of the solution in your dog’s eyes. Then rinse the fur with clean water to get rid of any residue.

  • Clip them off: Work very carefully with guarded clippers, or try plucking the stained fur.

    Never use scissors around your dog’s eyes or face for any reason. And try clippers only if your dog is extremely tolerant of them; otherwise, using the clippers can spell disaster.

  • Cover them up: Hiding the stains is safer but less permanent than wiping or clipping, but if you’re showing your dog, you may have to opt for one of these techniques:

    • Cornstarch: Rub this on the stains — don’t get it in her eyes! — only in a pinch, because it can whiten or lighten the stained area.

    • Face cream/powder: Dampen the area and then use a small bit of cream or mousse to apply the powder. (Make sure none gets in the eyes!) Then you can gently brush out the area. Some of the powder will stick, thus making your dog’s face more appealing.

    Technically, a show dog is never supposed to have chalk or powder left over. The truth is that some stays in, but the handler must get most of it out so that it doesn’t appear that the chalk is still there.