Understanding how and why dogs get tear stains around their eyes, it's important to examine the causes of excessive tearing.

Breeds most commonly affected by tear stains around the eyes include: Poodle, Maltese, Shih Tzu, and other small, light colored dogs. Tear stains are known as“epiphora” and the problem tends to be more noticeable with dogs of a lighter coat. Many things may be responsible for this very distressing problem, in this article we look at the conditions that cause excess tearing in dogs.


1) Misplaced eyelashes (as discussed above).

2) The tear duct which drains the tears from the eye may be abnormally positioned.

3) A small island of hair which may grow from the corner of the eye next to the nose, may act as a wick and tears will then overflow.

4) There may be overproduction of tears without apparent irritation.

5) There may be an abnormal position of the inner corner of the eyelids next to the nose referred to as “medical entropion”.

6) There is recent evidence of a potential metabolic defect associated with porphyrin metabolism.

When one reviews all of the possible causes, it becomes apparent that there is no single treatment that can cure this condition.

Some authorities recommend low levels of oxytetracyclines in the food daily, and others recommend surgical removal of the gland in the third eyelid. However, it is the opinion of many veterinarians that thorough evaluation of the entire condition is necessary in order to arrive at a definitive diagnosis and a specific treatment.

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