Tear stains, also known as those rusty or brown colored stains on your dog’s fur can be unsightly and make your dog look dirty. When I worked as a pet groomer we had several little tips and tricks to help with these stains, but truthfully, overall, without daily maintenance, they are hard to remove. I have always been amazed by the light-colored dogs at professional dog shows, and the dedication from those handlers to keep the dogs in pristine show worthy condition.
What causes those tear stains anyway?
Your dog has chemicals in its body that break down into IRON. Assuming your dog is otherwise healthy, meaning no eye infections or suspicious discharge due to ingrown eyelashes etc., then the normal body fluids of your pet are leaving behind tiny molecules of iron on her fur. Eventually, those molecules build up and leave the rusty colored staining under the eyes, or on any part of the body where your dog may lick or chew. My lovely “niece” Izzie, a Shih-poo, is here modeling some serious tear stains for you:
It’s very difficult to see the tear stains around her eyes, but as you can see, the white fur she has around her mouth and on her feet does get stained very easily. This mostly comes from her saliva leaving the iron deposits behind. She regularly chews and licks her feet, and the area around her mouth gets stained as well.
Ok, so how do I get rid of it?
As I stated before, it will take some serious dedication to completely get rid of these stains on your pet. Here are some of my favorite choices:
1. Have your groomer cut the hair short on your dog. To put it bluntly, if you don’t have the time or dedication to regularly brush, groom and bathe your pet, then cut the hair short. It’s easier for you to maintain and less messy overall.
2. Use a bluing shampoo. Have you ever heard someone talk about a blue haired old lady? It’s the same concept for your pet. The blue in the shampoo will reduce the reddish color, and make your dog look more white. It’s not a bleach or a harmful product to your pet. In fact, when we groomed dogs, we used bluing shampoo on LOTS of different colored dogs. It made their coats shiny and gave a lot of vibrancy to the color. It is a little more pricey than a normal shampoo, but if you only apply it to the affected areas of the coat, it will last a very long time. You can simply apply it with your fingers and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse away.
3. You can also use specialty products just for removing the stains like Fresh Paws Tear Stain Remover. I received a bottle of this product to review and I have to tell you I was fairly pleased with it for several reasons.
What I loved about Fresh Paws Tear Stain Remover
As you can clearly see on the label, it’s a cruelty free product made with natural ingredients.
Not only does this product help remove stains and build up, it also helps prevent future build up. There are no sulfates, MEA, DEA, Alcohol or parabens in the product, meaning if your pet does lick the product, it will be safe.
I’m sure what you really want to know is whether or not it works. The answer is YES. As you can see Izzie had some pretty good stains on her paws. I decided to test it out on her front feet because A) I rarely ever trust ANY product near the eyes when it’s a new one, and B) Her face is mostly black, so I wanted to make sure the photos showed up!
We plopped her down on the counter by the sink and got ready to do some foot scrubbing. The directions on this product actually advise you to trim the rust stained hair down first, and then use the product. I did not. I wanted to test how well it really worked, and Izzie had a grooming appointment in a few days, and I didn’t want her groomer frustrated if I trimmed it shorter than normal. As you look at her, I used the product on her front right foot only.
Fresh Paws Tear Stain remover is a watery liquid. You simply squeeze some into your hand and apply it to the stained area. You rub it in for about 5 minutes, and it’s done. That’s it. (I did rinse it just to be safe.)
Izzie does NOT like having her feet messed with, so we have some blurry photos while she was trying to pull her paw away, and I combed out her feet. Do you see the big strip of white in the middle of her paw? It was working!
I wanted to have great comparison photos, so I tried her foot on the COOL setting. (Do not ever use heat from your personal dryer on your dog. It’s too hot for them and can quickly burn.)
There is a pretty good difference between the foot that had the treatment and the foot that didn’t have it. Did it remove it all? No, but on stains this bad, nothing is going to remove it all immediately other than shaving the hair off. I left the bottle with my sister-in-law to use as she wanted, because the product advises to use it daily, and I am confident in saying if it were used regularly the stains would be gone. It was an EASY process. No full bath required. This is easily something you could do every night while watching TV or resting for the evening.
Would I recommend this product to you? Yes, along WITH a bluing shampoo. I would bathe your dog in the bluing shampoo and use the Tear Stain remover between baths.
Just to get you started, Fresh Paws is offering a FREE BOTTLE of their tear stain remove to my readers. If you would like a chance to win enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!