Your puffy pooch just greeted you with puppy kisses ... and unsightly reddish-brown stains beneath his eyes. These are the Maltese's legendary tearstains, unfortunate byproducts of normal bacterial flora and the breed's light-colored, long, silky, translucent fur. You can successfully battle these stains by consistently following a few simple steps.
Wash around your dog's eyes with no-tear shampoo. Gently rub a small dab of shampoo into wet fur with a damp washcloth. Use a gentle, circular motion to thoroughly work the shampoo into the tearstains.
Comb tear-stained fur with an eyebrow brush. Carefully lift any trapped matter away from the skin and brush it away from the eyes and out of the fur.
Rinse your dog's face and eye area with cupfuls of warm water. Gently massage your dog's fur and skin as you rinse to remove all shampoo and debris.
Blow-dry your pup's face on low heat until the fur is completely dry.
Mix a half-teaspoon of medical-grade boric acid powder into 1 cup of warm water.
Clean tear-stained areas with cotton pads wetted in the boric acid solution. Avoid getting this solution in your dog's eyes.
- For a sparkly clean, stainless face, wash your pup's face with shampoo at least once per week. Wash the eye area with boric acid solution daily and wipe away tears as soon as you notice them. Keep your pup's fur out of the eyes with a stylish haircut or topknot. Some tear stains are caused by yeast infections. To combat them, feed your pup a tablespoon of yogurt daily.
- Consult a veterinarian before using commercial tear stain products or if your dog has a foul-smelling or greenish eye discharge or eye pain. Keep your doggy's facial fur dry to combat staining and eye infections, and avoid using Maltese bluing shampoos on the face as these can irritate the eyes.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.