Dogs are known for their cute and adorable looks, but tear stains in their eyes can be an unsightly problem. Tear stains are brownish or reddish marks that appear under the eyes of dogs, and they can be caused by a variety of factors. While tear stains may not be a serious health concern, they can be an indication of an underlying health issue or environmental problem. In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of a dog’s eye, the causes of tear stains in dogs, and how to prevent and treat them.
Anatomy of a dog’s eye
A dog’s eye is similar to a human eye in its basic structure, but there are some differences. The cornea, lens, retina, and optic nerve are all present in a dog’s eye. However, dogs have an additional membrane called the third eyelid that protects and lubricates the eye. Dogs also have a lacrimal gland that produces tears and a tear duct that drains excess tears away from the eye. The tear duct opens into the nasal passage, which is why dogs sometimes have a runny nose when they cry.
What are tear stains?
Tear stains are discolored marks that appear under a dog’s eyes. The stains are caused by a buildup of tears that contain pigments, bacteria, and yeast. The pigments in the tears are produced by a dog’s body to protect the eye from harmful UV rays. When the tears overflow the lower eyelid, they mix with bacteria and yeast to create a dark, reddish-brown stain. Tear stains are most common in white or light-colored dogs, but they can occur in any breed.
Causes of tear stains in dogs
Tear stains can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, allergies, eye infections, poor diet, and environmental factors. Some breeds are more prone to tear stains than others because of their anatomy or genetics. For example, dogs with flat faces, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more likely to develop tear stains because their tear ducts are shorter and more prone to blockage. Other breeds, such as Maltese and Shih Tzu, are genetically predisposed to tear stains because of their small tear ducts and shallow eye sockets. Environmental factors, such as dust, pollen, and pollution, can also contribute to tear stains by irritating the eyes and causing excessive tearing.