Common Problems That Cause Excessive Eye Tearing in Dogs

Do you have a dog that always seems to have tears running down its face and leaving ugly red or brown stains on the fur?
light colored dogs with tear stains

I know it can be annoying, when you want your dog to be great to look at and snuggle with. And you may have already figured out how to keep those tear stains in check and from getting too crusty or built up.

But behind the tear stains, could there be something more serious that’s causing the excessive tears in the first place? It’s good to know what causes them in your dog so you can be sure there’s nothing more serious going on.

Just think first about how your own eyes are designed to work. You know that when something gets into your eye that shouldn’t be there, the eye tears up to try to float away the object and protect the eye. When there is something that is constantly irritating the eye, you will experience excessive watering of the eyes. The same goes for your dog.

The dog’s fur will absorb the tears and cause a build up if not cleaned and wiped away regularly. Staining of the hair around the eyes can result from eye waste or a possible bacterial infection, so it is wise to address the staining as well as the underlying cause of the excess tears.

Here are some potential causes for excessive tearing to consider:

Physical Causes:

  • Hair growth around the eye. Hair that grows too close to the eye can automatically absorb tears from the eye and keep the moisture in the fur.
  • Shallow eye sockets. If the tears can’t be contained in the eye, they will naturally spill over onto the fur around the eye area.
  • Inverted eyelids. Eyelids that turn inward toward the eyeball can cause the tear drainage holes to become blocked.
  • Blocked tear drainage holes. Scar tissue blockage could be a contributing factor if there have been past eye infections or eye damage.
  • Ingrown eyelashes. Occasionally these can occur and cause constant irritation and tearing. This may need attention from a vet.
  • Unusually large tear glands. This could just be due to your dog’s breed, so will be normal for them.
  • Unusually small tear duct openings. This could cause more tears to have to escape through the eyes and not drain properly.

Medical Problems to Check:

  • Some foreign object in the eye. This could be a grass awn or something else embedded through their outdoor activities, or a scratch or cut on the cornea from any number of causes.
  • Infection of the eye. These need to be verified with your veterinarian and can usually be cleared up easily enough.
  • Glaucoma or another eye disease. It’s definitely wise to have your vet regularly check out your dog’s eyes, especially if you notice anything out of the ordinary going on.

Additional Causes:

  • Ear infection. Tearing may occur when their ears are infected, so this is usually a temporary condition until the ear problem is cleared up.
  • Medications. Side effects to medications can sometimes include excess tearing.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke. This is an eye irritant and tearing naturally results to clear the toxins from the eye area.
  • Poor-quality diet. Certain kinds of foods can cause detoxifying through eye tears that can show up in staining, usually reddish-brown in color.
  • Plastic food bowls. The plastic can harbor bacteria build up on the sides which can get on the face fur and contribute to bacterial infections.
  • Stress Teething in puppies. As your puppy’s teeth are coming in, you may see excessive tearing. This will probably go away as they complete this growth phase.

Once you are able to determine the probable cause for your dog’s excessive eye tearing and tear stains, you will feel a lot better about the best approach to keep them healthiest and well-groomed. When your fur baby is looking and feeling their best, you can be a happy pet owner too!

If you are looking for a natural safe eye tear stain remover, be sure to check out Dancing Pet’s natural product and see how it can help clear up the problem and prevent bacterial infections and painful crusty build up of tear debris.

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