The Bichon Frise is a breed of dog that is particularly prone to tear stains. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that you don’t want to hamper the otherwise adorable appearance of this dog with rusty red brown tear stains under their eyes.
What’s more, some tear stain removers can contain harmful chemicals that will do your Bichon no good. With that in mind, I decided to do some research into finding a homemade tear stain remover for your Bichon Frise.
In this article, I’ll share with you the homemade tear stain remover that I use on my Bichon. As well as this we’ll look at what causes these brown tear stains and how you can prevent them.
What Causes Brown Tear Stains In Dogs?
So you might be wondering: Just what causes brown tear stains in dogs?. This is a really good question and one I had not even considered until we got our Bichon, Scully.
As the Bichon Frise can be prone to developing tear stains, it’s a good idea to learn all you can about their cause and how to clean and prevent them.
Let’s take a look at the main causes of brown tear stains in dogs right now.
1 Excess Tearing
First up, let’s look at what exactly causes those rusty red brown tear stains under your Bichon’s eyes.
The primary cause of this tear staining is mainly due to excess tearing.
A purebred Bichon’s eyes are very round in shape, so much so that they protrude out slightly. This causes tears to spill out over their eyelid rather than them flowing down into the corner of their eye where the tear duct is.
This tearing can run down a Bichon’s face resulting in a warm damp environment just under their eyes. Unfortunately, this just so happens to be the optimal condition for bacteria to grow. In the case of the Bichon Frise, red yeast is a common culprit that accounts for the rusty red-brown coloring.
2 Dog Allergies
Another common cause of tear stains is dog allergies. The Bichon Frise, as we’ve talked about in this article: What Is The Age Span Of A Bichon Frise?, can be prone to certain allergies.
These allergies can often be seasonal and may occur more severely in the Spring or when the temperature changes.
A Bichon that is suffering from allergies can become irritated particularly around their eyes which in turn results in tearing. This tearing can then build up to produce the rusty red brown tear stains under your Bichon’s eyes.
If your Bichon is suffering excessively from allergies, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet to determine the best course of action for treating them.
3 Mineral Rich Water
This is a really interesting cause if you have any knowledge of chemistry. Don’t worry, I’m not about to launch into a big complicated science experiment!
Mineral-rich water, such as the kind you’d find in tap water, contains minerals that include iron for example.
If you’re familiar with your chemistry or even if you have a basic knowledge of science, you might know that iron turns a reddish color when exposed to air.
Bingo! If your Bichon is drinking mineral-rich water that contains iron, then over time this will turn their coat a reddish brown color. This will mainly be concentrated around their face and perhaps their paws.
A common cause of tear stains in puppies is teething. As your puppy grows and develops into a fully grown dog, they will lose their baby teeth to make way for big grown-up teeth.
As with babies, this process can be irritating for them which accounts for more tearing than usual. This, in turn, accounts for more tear stains.
5 Eye Problems
All of the causes we’ve looked at up until now have been pretty normal and aren’t cause for concern.
However, excess tearing could sometimes be an indication of more serious eye problems.
Whatever the cause of these tear stains, it’s highly recommended that you discuss this with your vet who should be able to determine the best treatment for your Bichon.
How Often Should You Clean Your Bichon’s Eyes?
As the Bichon is prone to tear staining it is necessary to clean their eyes every few days. This will be the best approach to preventing the build-up of bacteria.
As well as this, if you keep up with this routine regularly, it will make the process super easy because there will be less to clean and your Bichon won’t mind this being done.
Homemade Tear Stain Remover Recipe
Now that we’ve looked at just what causes tear stains in dogs, it’s finally time to talk about the homemade tear stain remover recipe that I have started using with my Bichon.
I can’t wait to share this with you and I certainly hope you find this as useful as I have.
Yup, that’s it. Just plain and simple coconut oil. No secrets here.
I have recently discovered that humble coconut oil has natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. This is perfect for the treatment of the bacteria developing under your dog’s eyes.
As well as this it’s completely safe to use near your dog’s eyes, so that’s a relief.
Ok, so now that we have our coconut oil ready to go, it’s time to get started cleaning your dog’s eyes.
Here’s what to do:
- To begin, gently blot away any excess moisture from under your dog’s eyes. You can do this with a piece of soft tissue.
- Next, gently massage a small handful of coconut oil under each eye where the stains can be found.
- Once this is done, use another piece of soft tissue to wipe away any excess coconut oil and other gunk.
- Repeat this simple process to keep on top of those pesky tear stains!
Other Ways To Remove Tear Stains From Your Bichon
As well as the homemade tear stain remover recipe we looked at above, there are a few other tools you can use to help remove tear stains:
- Dog Tear Stain Remover Wipes – These are super handy to have in your doggy bag and they are gentle on your dog’s skin – Grooming Wipes
- Tear Stain Remover Combs – For particularly bad tear stains that may develop into clumps, these handy tear stain remover combs do the trick nicely – Dog Tear Stain Remover Combs
- Tear Stain Remover Kit – Buying a dedicated kit for tear stain removal can be a good idea if your Bichon is prone to tearing – Tear Stain Remover Kit
How To Prevent Dog Tear Stains
Now that we’ve covered just how to clean the tear stains from your dog’s eyes, it’s time to look at ways of preventing dog tear stains:
- Routine Eye Care – Simple tip here but prevention is always better than cure! By regularly cleaning your dog’s eyes, you’ll prevent the build-up of bacteria and yeast and therefore preventing the worst of the tear staining.
- White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar – By adding a teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water you’ll limit the severity of tear staining. This is another sciency explanation here but the development of yeast (which causes the brown tear staining) is mostly caused by a pH imbalance. This can commonly occur under your Bichon’s eyes because of the mineral rich water they may be drinking. Simply adding a teaspoon of apple cider or white vinegar to your dog’s drinking water will alter the pH balance on their face and prevent the yeast from growing.
- Filtered Water – as we talked about above, tap water can be quite mineral rich. The iron in the water over time will cause the red brown color to develop under their eyes. With that in mind, by switching to filtered water, that will reduce the extra minerals and prevent those red brown colored tear stains.
- Stainless Steel Dog Bowl – By only using a stainless steel dog bowl for your dog’s water, there is much less chance for bacteria to grow. Fewer bacteria means less chance for bacteria to grow under your dog’s eyes. Plastic bowls can allow the build up of bacteria over time, especially when they aren’t regularly cleaned. This is why a stainless steel dog bowl is your best bet. Be sure to clean it regularly.
- Petroleum Jelly – This is a handy tip we got from a Bichon breeder. That is to rub a little petroleum jelly under your dog’s eyes after you have cleaned them. This will prevent dust and dirt from entering your dog’s eyes keeping them extra clean.
We were able to cover some pretty useful information in this article so let’s summarize everything we covered:
- We looked at the potential causes of brown tear stains in dogs.
- Next, we talked about how often you should clean your Bichon’s eyes.
- After that, I shared with you the homemade tear stain remover recipe that I use.
- We also looked at other ways to remove tear stains from your Bichon Frise.
- Finally, we looked at some tips to prevent dog tear stains from developing.
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