Maltese are prone to getting tear stains and other discolorations on their fur. Of all the discolorations, Tear stains are definitely the most noticeable as they are on the face. All dog breeds can suffer from tear stains but the Maltese are particularly prone to it because of their snow white fur which contrasts the yellow staining.
Tear stains on a Maltese dog can be easily prevented and treated. In order to prevent tear stains you may need to implement a change in diet, use filtered water and create a daily face cleansing routine for your Maltese dog. To clear up any current tear stains or discolored sections of fur you can use tear stain wipes or a tear stain remover from your local pet store.
This article will outline:
- What tear stains are,
- What causes tear stains in the Maltese breed
- How to prevent tear stains from occurring, and
- How to clear up current tear stains on your Maltese
What are tear stains ?
Tear stains can be a frustrating occurrence on some breeds and the Maltese is at the top of that list. Maltese fur is generally a bright white and the discolorations on the fur can be a striking contrast which makes it very noticeable. Most people tend to treat the symptoms which are the tear stains, rather than the cause, but if you treat the cause you will have a much happier Maltese dog and a lot less tear stains as a result.
Tear stains can present themselves in a few different shades and can be described as either pink, red, yellow, brown or rusty in color. The main color tear staining occurs in is the yellow shade, but any color discoloration under the eye which is unsightly is regarded as a tear stain. Generally the tear stains will be a little stiff or hard to touch as the minerals in the tears solidify on the fur. But the fur can still be soft if the tear stain is recent or is still wet from tears. Some people describe the fur as feeling like straw.
Maltese puppies do not seem to be afflicted by tear stains as much as older dogs. Generally a puppy will still have snow white hair under its eyes. As the puppy grows and matures it is more likely they will have brown and pink hairs to appear. This is not a natural coloring for a Maltese and it is the start of tear staining. The reason why this is the case is that the Maltese breed does not generally have the genetics to produce any rusty, brown, pink or red hair. The only real colors a Maltese may show apart from snow white hair are a tinge of yellow sometimes called lemon or tan on the Maltese breed. These alternative colors rarely appear near the eyes and are more likely to appear on other parts of the head such as the ears.
As your Maltese ages, any staining that you see around the eye area is usually caused by unnatural staining. This is something that can be easily resolved and is not a cause for concern in relation to your dogs health.
What are the causes of tear stains?
Maltese dogs will often have tear staining around the eyes. Some of the factors which are responsible for producing the yellow staining that you see around a Maltese dogs eye area also contribute the yellow staining which can often occur on other areas of the Maltese dogs face. Usual spots for yellow staining on the face can include the mouth and the chin. Because this yellow staining is so common in the tear area it is often also common to see the yellow staining on other parts of the face.
While predominately white in color Maltese dogs are able to produce yellow and tan hairs which can alter the color of their fur. When this does occurs in Maltese dogs it is usually restricted to the ears if anywhere at all. This localized coloring is why if you see a yellowing of the fur on a Maltese dog around the mouth or chin it is almost certainly a result of the staining.
How to prevent tear stains ?
If your Maltese dog has issues in relation to tear stains it is something that can be easily remedied. There are ways in which you can rectify this in your Maltese dog.
In order to remedy the tear stains in your Maltese it is prudent to take a proactive approach to the staining. If you are not proactive and follow the below steps correctly you will find that there will be minimal success in relieving the tear staining and the results will be simply temporary in nature. It is important that if you wish to take steps to resolve the tear staining problem in your dog that you make a firm commitment to ensure the best possible results. If you are committed to being proactive and follow the steps you will find that the tear staining problem will be cleared up and that it will aim to stop the staining from reoccurring.
There are a few main contributing factors to why your Maltese is getting the tear staining and addressing these factors is very important. The first step is to eliminate anything which may be causing your Maltese dog to be getting the tear staining. If you are able to address these contributing factors or causes then it is going to be of paramount importance to stopping the tear staining from reoccurring. The main contributing factors you need to address and make changes as needed are:
- Low quality food choices. The food that you feed your dog has a big impact on the quality of its health and well being. This is particularly applicable to the Maltese dog as they are considered a toy breed and are small in nature. Inferior food can often impact the stomach of your dog and make them unwell but it can also affect their coat and their skin. This means that food which is not nutritious can cause tear staining. This is caused by all the additional coloring , flavoring and preservatives which are aptly named “additives” as they are added to the dogs food. Another component of the dogs food which could be contributing to the issue is the use of corn and wheat in the dogs food. Many dogs are allergic to corn and/or wheat and this allergy can contribute to the staining on you are seeing on your dog. A corn and/or wheat allergy can cause the dogs eyes to excessively tear which caused more wetness on the fur which will in turn stain the fur around the eyes.
For these reasons you want to make sure that you are feeding your Maltese dog the best quality food that you are able to. It is ideal to stick to well known brands which have a high consumer rating. These foods will need to have zero additives and ideally no corn or wheat, for this to be the case they will need to have what is called a “grain free” base or formula. Most of the best dog foods are highly recommended on Amazon at very competitive prices. The prices change frequently and there are always discounts and specials happening so cost effective to buy a water filter jug from the store which you can keep in the fridge to have water for your dog handy for when you require it. In a situation where you are not able to access filtered water bottled water is a usable alternative.
- Keeping your Maltese fur dry. When a Maltese hair is exposed to being damp it is then subject to yeast growth. Yeast growth occurs when an area on the dog stays damp for a period of time. This yeast growth can happen in areas like the genital area, where is it damp from your Maltese relieving themselves, on the face and in the ears where yeast ear infections can occur. When your dog drinks their face will most always become damp. This is because water droplets from their water source will inevitably end up splashing up onto their face. This also can occur when your dog is eating, especially if their dog food is more wet in nature. This often happens with food that is in any kind of gravy or casserole formula. To combat the dampness that occurs when your dog eats or drinks it is a good idea to clean their face after eating, in particular the eye area where the tear staining is more prominent.
- Daily Grooming. Daily grooming may sound overwhelming but rest assured it is simple. It is as simple as wiping your Maltese face a few times every day. This routine of wiping will ensure that the face and eyes stay dry and are not remaining damp. This will reduce the tear staining that you see on the Maltese dogs face. This action will only take a few seconds at a time and over time will become part of your routine. It is ideal to do this after every meal and any time you notice their face looking particularly wet. You can purchase eye wipes from most major pet supply stores and they usually have ones which are for canines in particular. Establishing this routine of cleaning the face is very important for your Maltese.
- The type of bowl you are using. It is very common for people to reach for a simple plastic dog bowl when it comes to having water and food accessible for your Maltese. The sad reality is that many plastics these days contain BPA and these chemicals are very harmful for pets. It is a good choice to stay away from plastic bowls all together. This is because even bowls which are labeled as “BPA free” can still contain dyes and chemicals which can be harmful to your Maltese. These dyes and chemicals can cause physical harm to your Maltese and are very dangerous. This harm can include causing a dry nose, nose discoloration and discoloration of the hairs on the face. A wonderful alternative to plastic is to use stainless steel bowls. The prices change a lot but
How do you remove tear stains ?
As covered earlier it is very important to have a daily routine of cleaning your Maltese dogs face as part of addressing and fixing the issue of tear staining. The best option is to invest in some good quality canine wipes from the pet store and use these as part of your daily Maltese maintenance. It is important to invest in good quality wipes as they are going to be gentle enough to use near the eye area without causing irritation and will have ingredients that are beneficial for both the coat and skin beneath it.
If you find that this is not having the desired effect of addressing the tear staining issue then you may have to resort to taking more specific measures. This would mean that you would want to look at buying canine wipes at the pet store which are designed specifically for tear staining prevention. These wipes are formulated to prevent and treat tear staining. These wipes are ideal to use along with all the other steps to help address the tear staining issue in Maltese dogs. They are a great thing to use for maintenance but should be used in combination with all the other factors as listed above.
A tear stain remover is another option for the tear staining problem. This is a liquid that you apply near the eye where the tear staining occurs in order to help aid in removing and preventing the tear staining. Tear stain removers often help to fade the staining but sometimes you may find that they do not do a lot. If you find that the tear stain remover is not working you can try changing brands as certain things will work for some dogs and not others. But if you find none are working for your Maltese it is important to understand that prevention is the main key to success. This is because in the same vein as the canine tear stain wipes they are only helping to mask an issue the same can be said of tear stain remover. If you want to try out the tear stain remover or read up more on what is available check out