If you are lucky enough to own a black or brown Shih Tzu then you’ve probably had no concerns about tears stains around your dog’s eyes. But if like most Shih Tzu owners your dog is white or a lighter color then you have more than likely had to deal with this problem.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to identify tear stains compared to natural fur color, what causes the discoloration around the eyes of your dog, how to remove the stains, and finally, we’ll recommend some products that can help you keep on top of this problem including wipes and combs.
How To Identify Tear Stains From Natural Hair
Before we get into talking about tear stains it’s worth mentioning that what might appear to be discoloration around your dog’s eyes may actually be the natural color of the hair.
If the color of the hair around the eyes closely matches the color on other patches around the face and on other places on your Shih Tzu’s coat then it could simply be your dog’s natural hair.
Also, if the coloring around the eyes was there when your Shih Tzu was born or developed in the first 6 months then this will also be the natural hair color around your dog’s eyes.
However, in most cases, it won’t be too difficult to see that the stains are not the natural color of your dog’s hair. You’ll notice the hairs around the eyes will start to develop a quite clear discoloration of a pink, red, brown, rusty kind of color. The exact color of your dog’s tear stains will depend on what has caused the eyes to run and also the original color of your Shih Tzu’s coat.
Lets now move on to talk about what causes this discoloration in the first place.
Causes Of Tear Stains
Essentially, your dog’s tear stains are caused by watery discharge from their eyes. When this watery discharge accumulates on your dog’s fur it provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.
The molecules in the watery discharge that cause the discoloration are known as porphyrins. Porphyrins are produced with the break down of red blood cells and are excreted not only through the tear duck but also in urine and saliva. This is why the discoloration is usually a reddish color and can also occur if a dog excessively licks itself in a certain area.
So what are the causes of your dog experiencing excessive watery eye discharge? There are a variety of reasons including:
- Genetics – It’s possible that your Shih Tzu has a genetic predisposition to eye discharge.
- Allergies – An environmental or food allergy could be causing eye discharge.
- Reaction to feeding and drinking utensils – Sometimes a dog will have an allergic reaction to certain plastics that the food or water bowl are made of.
- High minerals content from tap water – If this is the case then some dog owners will filter their tap water.
- Eye irritants – Possible irritants include cigarette smoke or persistent use of cleaning products.
- Tear duck malformation – In some cases, your dog’s tear duck may be malformed and both larger or smaller than usual tear ducks can lead to excessive discharge.
- Eye disease – This would include infections, glaucoma, and other related eye conditions.
- Fleas – Regardless of eye discharge you should always keep an eye on a flea infestation.
- Adverse reaction to medication – If your Shih Tzu suddenly starts to get discoloration around the eyes after they have started a course of medication then a reaction to that medication could be a possible reason.
It’s also worth mentioning that teething in puppies can also cause watery eyes. This will usually start around 4 to 5 months and will end by around 9 months. If the stains are not properly cleaned at the time they may stay for a considerable time after your Shih Tzu has stopped teething.
How To Remove Your Shih Tzu’s Tears Stains
Wipes & Combs For Tear Stain Removal
Arava Pet Eye Wipes
Arava Pet Wipes are an excellent choice to help with the removal of your Shih Tzu tears stains. They are specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin so will help to remove those unsightly stains without causing your Shih Tzu any discomfort.
The main reason why we recommend these wipes is because they are free of any chemicals and bleach and only contain natural ingredients including vitamins and Dead Sea minerals. These added vitamins and minerals not only help to remove the stains but are also good for your dog’s fur and skin.
As well as being made with only natural ingredients they are also allergy-free making them perfect for dog’s that have any issues with allergies and also makes them suitable for puppies.
Arava pet eye wipes have an Amazon rating of 4 out of 5 stars from over 700 dog owners and you can read the customer reviews here.
Pros Of Arava Pet Wipes:
- Chemical free.
- Bleach free.
- Enriched with natural ingredients.
- Includes vitamins and Dead Sea minerals.
- Allergy free.
- Suitable for puppies.
- Formulated for sensitive eyes.
Petpost Tear Stain Removal Comb
The Petpost Tear Stain Remover Comb is a good choice of comb for cleaning around your Shih Tzu’s eyes. It has a simple but sturdy design with stainless steel pins. It’s a fine tooth comb with 65 pins making it perfect for a Shih Tzu. The pins are also rounded which reduces the chances of pulling of tearing your dog’s fur.
We have recommended this comb for you as it’s a simple but effective design to get the job done, it’s good value for money, and has excellent reviews from many satisfied dog owners.
One of the reasons dog owners like to use a comb to help with tear stains is that they remove the problem at source. With a comb, you can remove the crusty build-up of mucus that eventually leads to the discoloration.
The Petpost Tear Stain Remover Comb has an excellent 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and you can read the reviews here.
Pros Of The Petpost Tear Stain Remover Comb:
- Sturdy design with stainless steel pins.
- Extra fine comb with 65 pins.
- Rounds pins to reduced pulling and tearing of the fur.
- Prevents tears stain at source.