What Causes Dog and Cat Tear and Fur Staining

The truth is we really shouldn’t even call it “tear stains”, because staining can effect many parts of your dog or cats fur.

Tear Staining, or it’s proper name Epiphora, is defined as an overflow of tears onto the face, but that is actually a horrible definition of the actual problem and it’s root causes. First, red or brown fur staining, the ugly stains that most often show up under the eyes, may not be limited to this one area, so it is a misleading term to call it “tear staining”; a better term for this “disorder” would be Fur Staining or Red Yeast Fur Staining, as many parts of the animals fur can be affected, including: the area beneath the eyes, the beard and mouth fur, even the fur on the paws can stain from excessive licking. So as you can see “Tear Staining” is a very poorly defined description of the fur staining problem.

Tear stains, or red yeast fur staining, can be brought on by many underlying factors:

  • - The diet you feed your pet. Usually diets to high in grains can cause allergies and then excessive tearing and bacteria growth in the digestive tract.
  • - Overall Health: Digestive upset, allergies, virus, even a cold.
  • - Breed predisposition. Do you have a breed that has many skins folds, or shallow tear ducts, or is prone to digestive upset.
  • - Shallow tear ducts or breeds with pushed in faces and shallow sinus.
  • - Medical conditions such as Entropian or Cherry eye can cause excessive tearing. Even just a few hairs rubbing the inside of the eye can cause tears.
As you can see there are many reasons for red yeast fur or tear stains, and even the best made products can not fix medical or physical problems with the eye, such as Entropian or shallow tear ducts, regardless of the claims made, but there is hope and many ways to reduce the symptoms, or treat the underlying causes that lead to fur staining.

There are some well documented treatments and products that will help reduce or remove fur stains:

The goal is to make the host animals body an in-hospitable medium for the growth of red yeast, this can be accomplished in a number of ways.

  • - Changing the pH balance and bad bacteria vs. good bacteria ratio in the digestive system
  • - Treating your pet with a product that has low grade antibiotics (not recommended, but very effective)
  • - Consistent and diligent cleaning of the stained area with safe and gentle cleansers
  • - Changing your pets diet to reduce digestive allergies and promote proper gut flora and immune response

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