How to Clean Your Dog’s Tear Ducts

All dogs, no matter what color they are, have brown spots under their eyes; or in the case of white dogs, they have a reddish spot under their tear ducts. It seems like no matter how diligent we are at bathing our dogs, they’re there.

What causes brown coloring on a dog’s tear ducts?

It’s much more visible on white dogs and small breeds than darker dogs and large breeds. But first of all, let’s clear one thing up: it’s not serious at all. 

Tears cause this reddish or brown discoloring. They contain minerals like iron and magnesium that oxidize very easily when they come into contact with air.

A white husky with blue eyes.

On top of that, when an animal’s fur in that area gets wet because of tears, fungi and bacteria get settled in it. They survive well in the darkening of that area created by the oxidized minerals.

The most important thing is to make sure that your dog is healthy and his eyes don’t tear up more than necessary. If his eyes water more than normal, it could be a sign that he has an allergy, that his tear ducts are blocked, or that he has an eye infection.

Normally this comes along with red eyes, but even without the redness, tearing up too much could be a sign of an eye problem. Watch your dog and take him to the veterinarian if you see anything odd.

How to clean your dog’s tear ducts

Now we’ll talk about how to get rid of, or at least help with, the discoloration around your dog’s tear ducts. In some cases, it may not completely disappear.

One of the best methods to do so is by attacking the root of the problem. Some tips:

  • Clearing the tear ducts. If you take your dog to the veterinarian, the vet could do a cleaning of the tear ducts. This could help since it’s common for them to get blocked, especially in dogs with a pug nose  due to their genetics.
  • Remove any blockages around your pet’s eyes. Rheums, hair, or anything else around the eyes that’s irritating his eyes. Cut the little hairs around his eyes and always keep that area clean to avoid unnecessary tearing.
  • Make sure that he doesn’t have allergies. There are foods with additives, corn, or soy that could cause an allergy in many dogs. Therefore, doing an allergy test on your dog will rule out any problem of this type.
  • High protein diet. We’re not telling you that your dog should fill up on protein, but protein should indeed be a big part of his diet. Homemade food with liver can be a good option to reduce the oxidation we mentioned.
How to clean your dog's tear ducts.

  • Bottled water. If it’s not a huge expense for you, give bottled water to your pet. It is filtered and contains fewer harmful compounds. Plus, it will reduce the chances of the oxidation happening.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Putting a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s water (he won’t even notice) can help clear up the tear ducts quickly.
  • Hygienic food bowls. The most hygienic and highly recommended dishes are made of stainless steel. Bacteria and fungi cannot survive in them, so they will be good for your dog’s health.

And as a homemade remedy, you could also clean around your dog’s eyes and tear ducts a couple of times a day with a piece of gauze soaked in lukewarm water with sea salt, or a saline contact solution. 

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