What causes the red staining under my dog’s eyes?

Tear stains are more apparent on white dogs

Have you ever wondered what causes those unsightly red tear stains around the eyes of certain dogs? Watery eyes, known as “epiphora,” is fairly common in dogs, and may be caused by either an excessive production of tears or failure of the tears to drain properly. Epiphora is more common in certain breeds, especially brachycephalic breeds with short noses, and is most obvious in dogs with white fur where the staining is more visible.

Your dog’s tears contain an organic compound known as porphyrins which react with light to cause the characteristic staining. Porphyrins are also in your dog’s saliva, which is why you may see the red staining around your dog’s mouth, and also on the paws of dogs that tend to lick their feet. When the fur around the eyes stays moist, it can also lead to the growth of yeast and bacteria.  Ptyrosporin, commonly known as “red yeast” also causes the familiar reddish-brown staining, and may result in a bad odor.

If your dog has excessive tearing, check with your vet to determine if there is an underlying medical cause for the epiphora such as an infection, foreign body or eye injury. If the cause of the excessive tearing cannot be treated, you can prevent the tears from causing staining of the fur with a product such as Angels’ Eyes soft chews. While Angel Eyes will not eliminate the excessive tearing, it will prevent the tears from causing the staining on the fur. For existing stains, you can use Angels’ Eyes Gentle Tear Stain Wipes, which are gentle enough for every day use.

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  1. I have a white poodle and tried everything to get rid of the stains. Finally, I read to use distilled water. It worked!

  2. Oops! For your dog to drink only distilled water!

  3. Thank you Pam. I’m going to get distilled water for my dog to drink for his reddish eyes.

  4. I have a martte dog her eyes are red a round the outside what can cause that

  5. Thanks Pam. In going to try it on my Chewyrussel.

  6. Namrata ramchandaniMay 28, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Hi I have Pomeranian puppy and she has red between his nose and eyes what to do

  7. I have a frenchie and she gets these stains around her eyes, she hates her face being touched so I can’t really clean them, what can help this?

  8. My dog also has the stains but also had the red round ball in her eyes how do i get that to go away also.. I can see gunk on her eyes also

  9. Hi
    My dog is a Maltese cross Shitzu and he chew his paws to the point where they became red/ brown stain 🤔as he also has red stains around his eyes and mouth, and I desperately need a solution to fix this matter
    If you help me with some answers. Thank you

  10. I’ve tried distilled water and no joy. I bought a water filtration system (reverse osmosis) and no joy. Help?

  11. Michele ShackelfordFebruary 8, 2022 at 4:28 pm


  12. i have used Angel Eyes since my shi tsu mix was a baby. He is 3 now and that product has never worked. any other suggestions?

  13. Contact lens solution! It has a mild solution of boric acid, which for many decades was the universal eyewash. Boric acid kills fungus but is mild enough for anyone’s eyes — we are talking about contact lens solution! Just regularly wet and wipe your dogs eyes with it, and if it doesn’t work I will eat my hat.


    Distilled Water NOPE
    Angel Eyes $50 Wipes NOPE
    Angel Eyes Antibiotic power NOPE
    Vet Diagnosis NOPE
    Special Food NOPE

    A friend of mine took his dog in for SURGERY and the name stuff came back.


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