If your tiny teacup poodle's face is smudged with rusty-brown streaks, she is by no means alone. Tear stains are common among poodles, and inherited traits and disorders may be the reason. Consult your vet to determine whether allergies, disease or your teacup's anatomy are causing excessive tearing and stains.
The water in your teacup's eyes may look clear, but it contains a pigment called porphyrin. If her tears overflow onto her fur for a prolonged period, the pigment will build up and stain her coat. While tear stains can appear on any teacup, they are most noticeable on pups with light, white or apricot coats. Excessive tearing is known as epiphora and has many causes.
Tearing can be a sign that your pup has an eye disease. Miniature and toy poodles are susceptible to serious eye diseases such as glaucoma and progressive retinal atropy, according to "The Toy and Miniature Poodle" by Janice Biniok. Your teacup can inherit narrow-angle glaucoma or iridocorneal angle glaucoma, two disorders that prevent eye fluid from draining properly and put harmful pressure on the eye. PRA damages the retina and will affect your dog's night vision before leading to total blindness.
Your teacup's watery eyes may be a reaction to allergens in her environment. If her eyes are irritated, her tears will try to wash away offensive matter such as pollen, grass, plastic and chemical cleaning agents. If you want to stop the tear stains, you need to stop the tears. With your vet's help, you can determine what your teacup is allergic to and then remove the allergens from her environment. Your vet can take a blood test or conduct a skin prick test to diagnose your dog's allergy.
Your teacup may have inherited physical traits that make her eyes more likely to tear up. Poodles are prone to blocked tear ducts, or puncta, according to WebMD. Normally, excess tears will drain down your dog's throat. When tears can't drain properly, the eyes become watery and moisture overflows onto your pup's nose. If your pup has shallow eye sockets, protruding eyes or an eyelid deformity, you can expect excessive tearing and stains. Inflammation, infection or an injury to the eye area also can disrupt the natural flow of tears.
Your diminutive dog's eyes will tear up when the dust flies, so keep her inside on windy days. Any debris in her eyes will irritate them and cause them to water. Even her own eyelashes may be the enemy. Poodles are prone to entropion, a inherited condition that causes the eyelids to roll inward and the eyelashes to rub against the eye. Entropion is a serious problem that can scar the eye and cause ulcers on the cornea. Contact your vet if you suspect that your teacup has this condition.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in Los Angeles, Mary Helen Berg has been writing about pets, travel, families and parenting since 1989. Her work has appeared in publications such as "The Los Angeles Times" and "Newsweek." Berg holds a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.