How To Clean Dog Tear Stains?

Have you ever felt how uncomfortable eye gunks are right before we clean them off? 

Dogs feel that too, except they can’t do too much about it. Our dogs can’t wipe and clean their eyes like we, humans, can. Those gunks on our dogs dry up and leave stains. These can be seen as a dark brown stain around your dog’s eyes

Tear stains can also be a sign of an underlying health issue. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to maintain a healthy and strong body for our dog, this includes health concerns such as tear stains.

If you are unsure of how tear stains can endanger your dog, stick around as we discuss what a tear stain can be and how to clean them.

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Dog’s Tear Stain?

Tear stains can be irritating for dogs, and since they can’t clean them themselves, it is up to us to clean them for our dogs.

Tear stains can also be a result of health problems such as eye infections, eye discharge, ingrown eyelashes, abrasions, and glaucoma. If your dog has recurring tear stains, it is best to consult with your vet for a diagnosis.

Dog breeds can also be a factor to tear stains. For example, dog breeds with long fur on their faces are more prone to tear staining than those with short face hairs. Another example is dog breeds that have shallow eye sockets and short noses are more prone to tear stains than dogs with deep eye sockets and long noses.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Tear Stains?

You can wipe and clean your dog’s tear stains as part of a daily grooming routine. Since it isn’t advisable to bathe your dog every day, you can still clean them with the hygiene necessities that can be done daily such as cleaning their eyes and brushing their fur to keep their coat clean and untangled.

Maintaining a daily tear stain cleaning routine for your dog will decrease the chances of eye infections.

What Can I Clean My Dog’s Tear Stains With?

Other than going to the vet for professional attention to your dog’s tear stains, you can have medical tools of your own for home remedies.

Dog Eye-Rinse Solution

These commercial, eye-rinse solutions aid with cleaning your dog’s eyes by removing tear stains, bacteria, and other irritants. You can buy a vet-prescribed canine eye-wash for your home. This solution will also help in decreasing the rate of tear stain formation, allowing you to easily clean them before it dries up.

Dog Dry Shampoo

One of the reasons why tear stains form is when the hair around your dog’s eyes gathers pollutants and irritates their eyes. You can trim the hair around the eyes of your dog, especially if they’re a long-haired breed, and use dog dry shampoo to keep your dog’s fur clean. Dry shampoo doesn’t require your dog to take a bath, so you can do this daily

Hydrogen Peroxide

This should be handled with caution because it can be toxic to your dog if ingested in large amounts. It is a common antibacterial that you can use with a paper towel to clean and wipe off the tear stain on your dog’s eyes. You can create a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide, don’t use anything with a higher content percentage, mixed with 8 ounces of water.

Tear Stain Wipes

These wipes are great to clean the external eye area of your dog. It can help remove dried tear gunks, discharge, and stains. You can also use baby wipes as an alternative since they are alcohol-free and safe for dogs to use.

How To Clean Dog’s Tear Stains At Home

To be able to clean your dog’s tear stains at home, you must first know what tools you might need. It is always better to consult with a vet to determine what to use and how to use it. Study shows that dogs with tear staining syndrome were effectively treated using antibacterial, eye-cleansing solutions. These eye-cleansing solutions can be given as a recommendation from your vet.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things you’ll need to clean your dog’s tear stains at home:

  • Dog eye-rinse solution
  • Dog dry shampoo
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Tear stain wipes
  • Paper towel
  • Brush
  • Scissors
  • Treats

1. Choose An Eye-cleaning Tool You’ll Use

Choose between an eye-rinse solution, tear stain wipes, and hydrogen peroxide to clean the stain off your dog’s eyes.

2. Wash And Trim The Fur

Clean the fur on your dog’s face by brushing and then applying dog dry shampoo. Once your dog’s fur is clean, you can then start trimming the fur around your dog’s eyes since it can gather a lot of pollutants.

3. Reward Them With Treats

Once the cleaning procedure is done, make sure to reward them with delicious treats so they will see the process as a positive experience.

How To Clean Tear Stains With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to remove tear stains as a food additive. However, it shouldn’t be used as an eye-cleaning solution because its acidity can only worsen your dog’s eye irritation.

What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need to clean your dog’s tear stains with apple cider vinegar:

  • Dog food
  • Water
  • Apple cider vinegar

1. Incorporate Vinegar To Dog Food/Water

To incorporate the vinegar into your dog’s diet, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to wet or dry dog food. The small amount of vinegar should be maintained because too much of its bitter taste might not interest your dog and end up avoiding it.

Tips To Prevent Your Dog From Having Tear Stains

Here are a few tips for you to help your dog prevent tear stains.

Consult With Your Vet

Your vet will recommend tear stain medical tools you would need to prevent your dog from having tear stains. The tools your dog would need will also depend on their breed and fur length. Tear stains can also be a sign of underlying eye illnesses which should be checked by your vet.

Change The Water They Drink From Tap To Purified Or Distilled Water

Tap water contains high mineral content which increases staining. Instead of giving them tap water to drink, you can give them purified or distilled, warm water.

Trim Your Dog’s Hair

Pollutants, and even the hair itself can irritate your dog’s eyes which can cause excessive tearing. By trimming your dog’s hair around the eyes when needed, you can prevent pollutants and long hair from irritating your dog.

Maintain A Daily Grooming Routine

Keeping your dog’s face to be clean with a daily hygiene routine as a long-term solution will decrease the build-up of dry gunk and irritants in your dog’s eye. You can start your dog’s day by cleaning the area around their eyes with the tear stain cleaning tool of your choice. Your dog will also get used to the process if done daily.

When To Get A Groomer’s Help To Remove Tear Stains

If your dog has recurring tear stains, it is always best to visit a groomer. Once you’ve observed how a groomer does your dog’s hair, you can then apply it to your dog’s home care hygiene routine. A groomer can also provide constructive advice on what you can or can’t do to your dog’s hair.

FAQ’s About How To Clean Dog Tear Stains

How Do Groomers Get Rid Of Tear Stains

Professional groomers trim the hair around your dog’s eyes since they can gather pollutants and bacteria which can irritate your dog’s eyes and cause excessive tearing. Groomers are also knowledgeable on which dog soap and shampoo can best get rid of tear stains.

What Causes Brown Tear Stains In Dogs?

Brown tear stains on your dog may be the effect of a yeast infection. Dog yeast infection may be caused by pollutants and bacteria that get into your dog’s eyes and cause irritation. If so, consult with your vet and you might be prescribed an antifungal cream or ointment as a treatment for your dog’s eye infection.

Can Vets Get Rid Of Tear Stains?

Yes, vets can get rid of tear stains. Vets have antibacterial and antifungal medicine if your dog’s tear stains are caused by an infection. Vets are also knowledgeable on what treatment your dog needs depending on its breed. Tests are run to determine other underlying medical conditions your dog might have.

Are Tear Stains Permanent?

No, tear stains can be removed by using the appropriate eye-cleaning tools such as eye-rinse solution, tear stain wipes, hydrogen peroxide, and dog-bathing products. You can also perform daily hygiene routines to maintain your dog’s clean face. It is advisable to visit and consult a vet to determine if your dog has medical conditions that caused the tear stains.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Dog Tear Stains?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is a good way to clean your dog’s tear stains. However, it should not be used as an eye-cleaning solution because the acidity can only irritate your dog’s eyes more, it should only be used as a food additive. As a food additive, mix it with wet or dry dog food.

Will My Puppy Grow Out Of Eye Stains?

Puppies produce more tears as they are growing and the production will lessen as they begin to mature. So it is important to create a daily hygiene routine for your pup to reduce the risk of severe health illnesses that come with tear stains. 


Tear stains shouldn’t be taken lightly. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to keep our dogs clean and healthy. Prevent your dog from severe medical conditions by following a daily routine of cleaning your dog’s face from tear stains and by following proper grooming.
Doggos Daily offers you any dog tutorials you’ll need, from how to clean eye boogers, to how to clean a cut on a dog. Want to find out? Visit Doggos Dailly now!

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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