QUESTION: Three days ago we got an older adult Shih Tzu/cross female dog. She has really yucky, smelly tear stains on her face. We have purchased "Tear Stain Removal" from a Pet Store. What causes this and are we doing the right thing?

ANSWER: Unless a medical problem with the tear ducts, turned in eye lashes or eye itself, (A quick examination by your Vet will tell for sure and is a must to rule out such problems) those tear stains are caused by tiny hairs on either side of the nose irritating the eye.

Keep the hair on both sides of the nose and the top of the nose clipped short. This must be done every month. Long haired dogs, such as Shih Tzus with pushed in little faces are the worst. Also with some breeds, the hair on the forehead of the dog if not kept clipped, tied up with a ribbon, etc. comes down and irritates the eyes.

Vet recommended Tear Stain Removal works good if done daily BUT must not accidentally enter the eye itself which can harm the delicate tissues. Do not soak the cotton ball or other soft wipe you are using and always stroke downwards from the corner of the eye. Just wet, not soaked. Daily application will work with time even on badly stained faces.

Dry thoroughly after wiping. I have found the round tubes of eye make up pads you can purchase at Walmart, etc work fine for wiping and then drying under the eye.

Better though is to keep the dogs facial hair from irritating the eye.

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