Cavachons, like most other white-coated dogs, can be subject to reddish-brown tear stains. This condition, medically known as epiphora, is caused by excessive tear production that is supposed to drain into a duct that further empties into the nose.
However, if the duct is blocked for any reason, the tears build up and flow from the eyes instead.
While tear stains are most evident on white coats, they can affect other dogs regardless of color. They are most commonly found on small breeds with long hairs.
These breeds include:
- West Highland White Terriers
- Shih Tzus
- Cavalier King Charlies Spaniels
- Lhasa Apsos
- Bichons Frises
Hence, mixes of these breeds will also be prone to tear stains.
Cavachons are a cross between the Bichon Frise and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, both breeds prone to tear stains.
Our 4-year-old Cavachon, Kirby, had tear stains for years. We tried a multitude of products with some success, but the tear stains persisted.
Even our vet was baffled. Nothing we did seemed to work, and poor Kirby still had those brown streaks down his eyes. We cleaned them every day, but by the following day, those stubborn streaks came back.
So we researched mightily into the common causes of tear stains and decided to switch his water to purified water. Together with constant cleaning and maintenance, his tear stains finally went away to our relief.
Why Do Dogs Get Tear Stains?
The culprit is a pigment-containing chemical called porphyria, which results from natural chemicals in the body. An essential chemical, porphyrins, are crucial to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.
High levels of porphyrins cause the body to excrete them through the intestinal tract, saliva, urine, and tears. If you notice white or light-colored dogs that have excessive porphyrin levels grooming themselves, they most likely will have stained paws and legs as well.
Certain breeds have short noses, protruding eyes, and narrow tear ducts. This can result in ingrown eyelashes and other irritants. In addition, allergies can cause excessive licking and tears in the ducts.
Fortunately, tear stains are primarily a cosmetic problem and not likely to cause your precious furbaby harm or pain.
However, although generally not harmful, tear stains can indicate other problems like ingrown lashes, ear infections, poor diet, stress, or food contamination with too much bacteria. If the tear stains smell strange, this could also indicate a yeast infection.
Excessive tearing can also mean some kind of fungal or yeast infection, especially if paired with redness, swelling, itchiness, and pawing at the eyes.
Some other causes of excessive tearing are:
Glaucoma: A nasty condition caused by the building pressure in the eye that can damage the optic nerve and has to be dealt with.
Eye infection – Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can live in the eye and cause an infection
Conjunctivitis – We all have seen the greenish pus buildup from discharge in the eye
Ear infection: Constant shaking is a vital symptom of this. An antibacterial eardrop should fix this right up.
Eyelashes: These can get ingrown, just as we get with ingrown hairs. Check around the area and make sure nothing is poking your pooch.
Entropy: When the eyelids roll in, the eyelashes rub the eyeball and cause a great deal of irritation.
If your dog is experiencing excessive staining and seems uncomfortable, it’s best to get a professional opinion and a vet check to rule out any potential underlying health issues.
How To Get Rid Of Tear Stains On A Cavachon Naturally?
We had great success by switching Kirby to purified water. Using purified water rather than tap water will reduce the minerals like iron and lead often found in tap water.
We also replaced all our plastic dog bowls with stainless steel. Even though they were BPA-free, plastic might degrade the quality of the water.
In addition, adding a tiny amount of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will acidify the water, removing any excess yeast and killing whatever bacteria is present.
Also, trim the hairs around the eyes and keep the area clean with warm water. Be careful if handling scissors near your dog’s eyes! We use a good pair of clippers with the guard on.
Wipe the gunk off each day and bathe them regularly. A tablespoon of peroxide in a glass of water on a cotton ball also removes the stains.
Another homemade solution is a tablespoon of peroxide mixed with cornstarch, similar to the facial masks we use on our faces. Once the paste dries up, scrape or wash it off, and it should take the stains away with it.
Some essential oils like coconut and papaya have also been known to be effective in helping with stains.
Some vets will prescribe antibiotics like Lincocin, Tylosin, or other eye drops. We stayed away from antibiotics and tried to opt for natural cures, especially when it seemed like Kirby wasn’t too bothered by the stains. He was never showing signs of being uncomfortable and doesn’t look at himself in the mirror after all.
Vetericyn ophthalmic gel is also available and probably doesn’t require a prescription.
What Products Can Fix Tear Stains?
So the holistic cures didn’t work, and all those expensive vet visits amounted to nothing? Here is a small list of products that we tried to some success.
We tried very hard to avoid heavy chemicals and opted for natural products as much as we could. Kirby’s tear ducts seemed to be receptive to our efforts and responded well. And the little prima donna is extremely picky, so your puppers will be just fine using these.
PawPurity – This topical application is made in the US and consists of human-grade ingredients certified safe for puppies and the most vulnerable. The product comes packed in eco-friendly materials and is approved by veterinarians and professional groomers worldwide.
This powder works most efficiently when used as a follow-up to any stain remover that mops up the gunk and debris. Used for seven days, it eliminated most of Kirby’s stains.
Angel Eye’s Natural Tear Stain Prevention – An oral supplement that is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, these are made with all-natural ingredients that are pet and baby-safe. They are meant to be used with all dogs above six weeks of age.
It is chicken-flavored, so your pup has no qualms about gobbling it. It works by reducing oxidation released through the tear ducts and can be used in conjunction with other topical cleaning products.
Qutop Eye Wipes – Convenient for travel, these wipes can be stashed in bags and used on the road. They are made with skin-friendly fabric and are soaked in a natural, plant-based formula.
Bonus Tip: Store the wipes upside down to keep the moisture in the upper layers.
Eye Envy Tear Stain Remover – This US-made stain remover is non-irritating and made with human-grade ingredients. It does not contain parabens, peroxide, steroids, antibiotics, or bleach.
Vets, groomers, and breeders have recommended this product and, based on thousands of reviews, works best with the Eye Envy Powder.
TropiClean Spa Tear Stain Remover – Made from blueberries, this natural cleanser is designed to work on all skin and coats. Soap-free, this tear stain remover is safe for multiple uses in a day.
Founded in 1992, TropiClean is a company based out of Missouri offering natural and safe grooming products.
EarthBath Hypoallergenic Wipes – EarthBath has been in the pet business for 25 years and is known for its natural pet products that don’t contain any harsh chemicals. Their award-winning line of shampoos are used by thousands of dog parents worldwide.
These wipes are certified free of soap, gluten, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic dyes. All their products are 100% cruelty-free and never tested on animals. In addition, EarthBath gives back to the community by donating volunteer time, products, and financial support to non-profit animal organizations.
These guys stand behind their products so much they offer 100% refunds on all purchases.
Belly No Tears Stain Remover – This company, too, offers a 30-day refund on all their products. This natural and organic stain remover is made with aloe vera and is a powerful yet gentle formula.
A full refund will be given with no questions asked. Belly genuinely strives for customer satisfaction and is known for its stellar customer service. Based out of Hamburg, Germany, they offer a range of grooming products with plant-based formulas, all in recycled packaging.
Although unsightly, it is unlikely that the tear stains are causing significant distress in your beloved pooch. Look out for signs of complications like constant scratching, pawing, and swelling around the area, and send your pup to the vet if you notice anything amiss.
Any of the methods might help manage tear stains, but the absolute gold was finding out that purified water did the trick. Best of luck in handling the stains, and please let us know if we have managed to help. We love hearing about your success!
More on Cavachons
If you’re simply in love with Cavachons and can’t get enough, then check out our other posts below:
- All About Cavachons By Actual Owners [The Ultimate Guide]
- Do Cavachons Like to Cuddle? [Our Kirby Sure Does!]
- Are Cavachons Good for Apartments? [Our Kirby Thinks So]
- Are Cavachons Hyper? [Our Personal Experience]
- How Big Do Cavachons Get?
- How Long Do Cavachons Sleep? *Sleep Habits & Training Guide
- How Long Does it Take to Potty Train A Cavachon? [9 Top Tips Inside]
- Cavachon Lifespan: How Long Do Cavachons Live?
- How Much Do Cavachons Cost in 2021? [Complete Price Guide]
- Do Cavachons Have Dew Claws? [All Is Revealed]