Most people believe tear and beard staining are inevitable in some breeds: Maltese, Bichon, Poodle, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua and many others. But they’re not.
While researching various aspects of holistic dog health care for my book, Scared Poopless, I stumbled upon the “cure” for the tear staining of my first two Maltese. I was able to quickly resolve the staining of my next two little guys as well. I fancied myself quite the Tear Stain Guru, that is, until I adopted Mulligan (shown left). Mulligan’s staining actually worsened in my care and resisted all efforts to control it for more than 18 months. Mulligan is now 95% stain free — and much healthier.
Tear staining in rats, hamsters, cats and even pigs has been studied by scientists, but not in dogs. No one knows the exact mechanism causing staining. Most veterinarians see it as a cosmetic problem and don’t give it much thought. People selling remedies think they know what’s happening (but mostly don’t) and truly bizarre Internet myths abound.
As long as there’s money to be made selling untested tear stain “remedies,” research will not likely be undertaken. But promoting long-term antibiotic use to stop staining — while underlying causes go untreated — disturbs me so much that I’m trying to gather hard data on causes and cures. This not a problem of too many tears; it’s a health or lifestyle problem. I’m writing a book on the subject.
2,526 people have taken my in-depth questionnaire. I’m analyzing data now and will start writing my book. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook and get updates and sneak peeks. Tell us what you know there or here. It’s time to end this problem once and for all.
Related post: Dog Tear Stains: Everything You’ve Been Told is Wrong
Do you have a great photo of your dog’s tear or beard staining? Make your dog famous as a canine health advocate. Donate it to the book at stopstains at gmail.com.