Why Do Some White Dogs Have Tearing?

Some dogs have tearing because of allergens in their environments. Others are genetically predisposed to it.

Jan 19, 2024By Thalia Oosthuizen
why do some white dogs have tearing

You’ve got a beautiful dog. Your pup has a majestic air to it, a beautiful coat, and a friendly manner. But, there’s one thing that just makes your perfect pet not so perfect. Tear stains. These tear stains are incredibly unappealing on a dog with a white coat.

The first thing to understand is why your dog has these tear streaks on its face, and then you can move on to treatment tips and prevention against future stains.

Recognizing the Symptoms

White Dog Sleeping on Mans Lap
Image Credit: Daily Paws

As a dog owner, proper grooming involves identifying tear stains. This is especially crucial for early intervention. These symptoms may go beyond just the visible reddish–brown streaks underneath the eyes.

Be on the lookout for fur discoloration, persistent dampness around the eyes, and a possible unpleasant odor. The fur around the eyes may also appear matted or clumped - this will make it easily distinguishable from the rest of your pup’s coat.

These tear stains may not be simply an aesthetic problem or a cosmetic concern. Stains under your dog's eyes may be an underlying symptom of various health concerns, such as eye infections or allergies.

White Dog Panting with Tearing on Face
Image Credit: Authentica Pets

You need to inspect your dog’s face regularly. Pay very close attention to changes in the color of the stains, the consistency, and if your pup has any signs of discomfort.

Also, keep a close eye on your furry friend’s behavior. If your dog is excessively rubbing or scratching near the eyes, it might suggest some irritation. As soon as you notice their behavior changing or any signs that the tear stains are worsening, you need to go straight to the veterinarian. Early detection means that you can intervene quickly, and there is a higher chance of being able to manage the stains in the future.

Exploring the Root Causes

White Dog with Tear Stains Lying in Grass
Image Credit: Face 4 Pets

In order to treat your furry friend’s tear stains, you first need to know why they are there. What are the reasons behind these unsightly stains on your dog’s face?

The first significant factor comes down to the anatomy of your dog’s face. It’s a simple fact that certain dog breeds are more susceptible due to the structure of their faces. Breeds that have brachycephalic features, like Pugs or Japanese Chins, have prominent eyes and shallow eye sockets - this can cause tear stains.

Another common cause is excessive tearing. And this can be triggered by irritants like dust, pollen, or even grooming products that just don’t agree with your dog. When you use the wrong grooming products, your dog’s tear ducts can become blocked, and this prevents proper draining and lends to stains. Always keep the environment in mind and make sure you use only the best grooming products for man’s best friend.

Some Breeds Are More Prone to Tearing

Fluffy White Dog Panting with Tear Stains
Image Credit: All About Bichon Frises

As we’ve mentioned before, certain dogs have a higher predisposition to tear stains due to their facial features. The problem is the prominent eye and the shallow eye sockets. Particularly susceptible dogs are the Shih Tzus, Maltese, and Pekingese.

Because their tear ducts don't drain properly, there is increased moisture around the eyes. This creates an environment in which bacteria can breed and yeast can grow, leading to stain formation.

Excessive Tearing and Blocked Tear Ducts

White Dog with Checkered Bandana Panting
Image Credit: Pawsh

Excessive tearing, meaning a constant flow of tears, is a common cause of tear stains. This is usually triggered by environmental irritants or harsh grooming. Exposure to smoke may also contribute to irritation. Always be vigilant about the spaces you expose your dog to, and make sure to buy the best grooming products that you can afford.

Another challenge is blocked tear ducts. This will impede the natural drainage of tears, and they will accumulate around the eyes. These blocked ducts can be caused by several things, including congenital factors, inflammation, or debris.

Diet and Nutrition Impact on Tearing

Mastif Dog With Tear Stains
Image Credit: Patch

The saying goes: You are what you eat. This is as true for our four-legged friends as it is for us. There are certain food ingredients, additives, or allergens that may contribute to excessive tearing, which then leads to staining. Additionally, there are certain artificial preservatives, colorings, and flavorings that can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs that may also lead to tear production.

Always make sure you feed your pup the highest quality of food that you can afford. Make sure that the food is hypoallergenic and excludes common allergens. It is also a good idea to supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids - these acids promote eye health and reduce inflammation, which can potentially alleviate tear stains.

Preventive Measures That Stop Tearing

White Dog Being Washed and Brushed
Image Credit: K9 of Mine

A regular grooming routine is an essential part of tear prevention. Focus on the facial area to make sure that there is no tear buildup. Using tear stain wipes that are designed specifically for dogs is also highly recommended. By gently cleaning the affected area, you can minimize the risk of irritation.

As we said, environmental factors play a big role in tear production. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep your dog’s living space clean. Regularly wash their bedding, clean their toys, and try to keep the environment as dust-free as possible.

Grooming Techniques

White Dog with Dark Tear Stains
Image Credit: Pet Helpful

There are dog grooming products that are specially formulated for tear stain removal. These products are gentle, hypoallergenic, and safe to use around the eyes. You need to incorporate these products into a consistent grooming routine because consistency is key to prevention.

Another good grooming practice to add to your regular routine is to use a fine-tooth comb to detangle any matted fur. This will help with moisture retention, which can lead to tear stains. You may also consider trimming the hair around the eyes to minimize contact with tears, helping to avoid stains.

Dog Eyestains Need Maintenance and Attention

Up Close of White Dog Eyes with Tear Stains
Image Credit: Young Woofians

Tear stains can go far beyond a simple irritation or a superficial cosmetic problem; they can affect your dog’s vision. It’s, therefore, very important that you stay on top of things, keep a vigilant watch, and treat the problem as soon as you notice it.

Thalia Oosthuizen
By Thalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading