Take Our Tear Stain Survey

Written by Jan on August 31, 2016 – 7:36 am

mullie-with-URLMost 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.

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15 Comments to “Take Our Tear Stain Survey”


  1. Linda Wyckoff Says:

    Tearstained are hard to conquer. Maddie is 8 months old and they ar still as bad as ever!

  2. Jan Says:

    Linda, has Maddie finished teething? Even if she has, she still may still have swollen gums and tear ducts. This is prime tearing time. Hang in there. It will well resolve on its own.

  3. Olga Says:

    My 7 mo Morkie puppy Tootsie come home at 12 wks of age with a tear stains. She was vaccinated only once at 10 wks old by her breeder (DHLPP +Corona). Thanks to you, she’ll never be vaccinated again, not even for Rabies. She is intact, happy, healthy 6.5 lb little pupp, on raw food and free of preventives and other chemicals. I hope to find a solution to to this problem. Thank you very much for your work!

  4. Jan Says:

    Hi Olga. I hope you took the survey. Thanks!

    I’m distressed that your dog got Lepto (the L in the combo shot) and Coronavirus. Every veterinary organization recommends against coronavirus. It’s considered a vaccine in search of a real disease. Lepto is really dangerous for small dogs and is not very effective. Luckily, he had them at 10 weeks and not earlier.

    Tell your friends about the dangers of vaccination. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    Thanks!

  5. Gaylene Says:

    Thank you for all you do.

  6. Ruth Nunn Says:

    I seemed to conquer the problem for a while and any feed ing a fish-only diet, the stains are reduced from the lurid red to a more acceptable brown, but Ted’s coat is a mess from the stains left from his licking and biting.

  7. Jan Says:

    Ruth, your dog has all the classic signs of allergies. He sounds miserable. I hope you’ll take the survey. I think it will tell you something.

    You might also check out the allergy assessment at http://www.glacierpeakholistics.com/alternative-allergy-testing-for-dogs.html I’ve done it for both my dogs and my vet uses it as well. It’s only $85. I do not profit from it.

    BTW, a fish-only diet might not be the best. Farmed fish, which is mostly what’s used in dog food, contains pollutants. And the mineral/vitamin mixture is limited.

  8. Diana Says:

    The survey was not pulling up on my cell properly for me to complete. Jenny is 13 months. She’s had staining for as long as I’ve had her. The veterinary opthamologist told me her tear ducts were inflamed so I do warm compresses and have twice used steroids (yikes) to reduce the inflammation. She also has some inverted eye lashes and a tilted tear duct that I’m told causes her to have more tears and more dripping. I would love to avoid surgery which I’m told will help and they recommend doing it after 15 months.

  9. Rachel Says:

    Thank you for this important post. Good luck with the survey. Lots of health to all the dogs around us!!!!!

  10. Dora Taylor Says:

    My 5 month has tear stains some days worse than others

  11. Dora Taylor Says:

    I would like to take the survey

  12. Linella Raff Says:

    I’m sorry I missed your survey…but I have two dogs now, a Shitzu-maltese mix, and a new dog, a chihuahua-papillion mix, who both came to me with white coats, and within a period of time developed terrible tear staining. I use high-quality food and at times have tried adding probiotics. HELP! I somehow feel that its my fault.

  13. Jan Says:

    Linella, the survey is still available while I’m analyzing things. It may give you some ideas. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2734357/Tear-Stains

    Did you change food? Water?

  14. Jan Says:

    Dora, I just got your reply on my blog. Don’t know why it didn’t show up sooner. If you still want to take the survey, here it is: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2734357/Tear-Stains

    Your dog is likely teething that can cause stains. Make sure you feed a good, healthful food. No grains or starches. Raw is best. If so, don’t worry about stains until your dog stops teething.

  15. kat mushkat Says:

    When my Maltese were babies (now 4 and 9) my vet told me that tear stains are from dogs being too acidic. This means inflammation just as humans. My dogs were receiving a home cooked diet. I slowly dialed back the meat portion until the tear stains resolved. They have never returned. These little dogs need minimal meat. To illustrate: 1 lb ground meat (2 cups cooked) + 1 can beans + 5 c steamed veggies (half sweet potato) = 1/3 cup 2x/day plus 2″ banana and smidge almond butter at lunch. Not a diet the pet food industry or vets promote. Industries abound to treat the symptom and not the cause. Just like the medical industry.

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