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Nothing ruins a picture-perfect shot of your furry companion quite like a layer of rust-colored tear stains under their puppy dog eyes. And while tear stains are typically nothing more than an aesthetic annoyance for pet parents, taking the time to clean them up on a regular basis can help avoid the potential of future skin issues or irritation.

“Some small breed dogs like Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzu, Schnauzers, Yorkies, and Maltese for example are prone to tear staining in their genetics,” explains Dr. Heather Venkat, a veterinarian based in Arizona, who adds that the reddish brown coloring comes from porphyrin produced in tears. “Porphyrins contain iron and when broken down, produce a reddish brown color which shows up on the dog’s fur underneath their eyes.”

Dogs and puppies prone to cosmetic-level tear stains are typically unbothered by the porphyrin build-up but pet parents who wish to clean up their companion’s face and get rid of tear stains can do so safely with the right dog tear stain remover.

From first-hand experience to veterinarian-approved product picks, below, we’ve rounded up some of the best dog tear stain removers that you can purchase online. All of the following are considered to be safe to use on dogs of all ages and are both economically- and environmentally-friendly.

Why You Should Clean Dog Tear Stains

So what do those rust-colored rings under your dog’s might mean—and do you really need to clean them consistently or worry about them at all? According to Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, some dogs will get tear stains because they have eye problems, or because the hair around their eyes rubs their cornea. In the first instance, you should check with your vet that your dog’s tear stains are not caused by a medical problem, and ensure your dog’s hair is properly groomed from around their eyes.

“Providing tear stains remain dry, clump-free, and are not getting sore skin beneath, tear stains do not have to be cleaned consistently—or at all,” explains Dr. Woodnutt. “However, most people prefer to clean them to keep their dogs looking tidy and to prevent buildup of tears leading to sore skin.”

Dog Tear Stain Removers: What to Look For

Maltese with tear stains

There are a lot of great tear stain removers out there—but pet parents should take caution when making their selections. After all, this is a product that is to be used very closely to your dog’s eyes so you’ll want to ensure the label’s ingredients are clean and safe. 

Here are some pointers to keep in mind while shopping:

Look for all-natural ingredients. All of the veterinarians we spoke to agreed that the most important factor in a dog tear stain remover is all-natural ingredients. This is a product that will be coming in close contact with your face and eyes and as such should be free of toxic chemicals and other nasties. Look for natural ingredients like witch hazel or dandelion extract, but avoid products with peroxide and antibiotics (unless prescribed by your veterinarian).

Make sure it’s pHbalanced. Dr. Woodnutt suggests looking for a tear stain remover that is specifically formulated with balanced pH levels—this will help ensure that you won’t sting your dog’s eyes in the wiping process.

Consider customer reviews. Not all wipes or formulas are created equal—certain products may mold or dry out quickly. Both Amazon.com and Chewy.com offer thousands of verified reviews that will help ensure the product you’re interested in is of high quality.

Best Tear Stain Removers for Dogs

Having had the pleasure of being a pet parent to several Poodles over the decades, I’ve seen my fair share of tear stains—and tear stain removers. My household has always been big into natural and non-toxic solutions and my tear stain preferences reflect that.

By way of our own trial-and-error in the tear stain department and a handful of veterinarian-approved choices, we’ve ranked out top dog tear stain removers based on real-life experience, expert insights and safety measures, and the tens of thousands of consumer reviews on sites like Amazon and Chewy.

Best Overall Dog Tear Stain Remover

Our Pick: Great Eyes Tear Stain Wipes

Great Eyes tear stain wipes

Not only do tear stains look unsightly, but they can cause irritation and itching. Since your pup can’t tell you how she feels, Great Eyes Tear Stain Wipes are a must-have. Avoid messy liquids and multi-level systems with one easy wipe. Keep these handy for photo snaps and selfies with your dog. Gently wipe the area around her eyes, but don’t stop there. Great Eyes is free of any nasty chemicals, alcohol, or sulfates, so you can use them around a dog’s mouth and ears. 

Highlights

  • 100 wipes per container that won’t dry out 
  • Made in the USA without parabens, MEA, or DEA
  • Handy for seasonal and year-round allergy facial clean up 
  • Soft wipe feels soothing and gentle around the dog’s eye area
  • Gentle formula is ideal for pups with sensitive skin
  • Helps dogs look picture-perfect for social media posts without using a filter 

Things to Consider

  • Must be used daily for at least a week to see results; otherwise, trimming dyed fur is necessary
  • Check with your dog’s veterinarian first to rule out any underlying medical causes of tear staining.
  • Some dogs may need a period of adjustment and positive reinforcement to get used to a tear stain cleaning routine.

Best Chamomile-Based Dog Tear Stain Remover

Our Pick: Burt’s Bees for Pets Natural Tear Stain Remover 

Burt's Bees tear stain remover

Looking for a tear stain remover that is both all-natural and safe? The Burt’s Bees for Pets Natural Tear Stain Remover comes recommended by Dr. Woodnutt for its gentle ingredients that are both safe to use on puppies and adult dogs. The formula is also made to be left on—no rinsing required—which makes cleaning tear stains much easier on both pets and pet parents.

Highlights

  • Formulated with natural ingredients.
  • No rinsing off required.
  • Made in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • Must be used frequently to be effective
  • May take awhile to see results

Sample buyer review: “The only tear stain product that works for our Samoyed. Works without fail and I am very happy to have been able to get this product on this occasion. Tried other products but no way near as good. Twice daily usage is best and, as with any of these products, you need to remove any existing build up within the fur for it to be effective.”

Best For Tear Stain Prevention

Our Pick: I-LID ’N LASH Vet Pump Ocular Hygiene Cleanser

I-LID ’N LASH Vet Pump Ocular Hygiene Cleanser

If you want to get ahead of tear stains and prevent them before they show up, this ocular cleanser is a safe and effective solution. This animal eye wash is safe to use and will help keep your dog’s eyes free from external irritants that often lead to tear stains. As a bonus, it also helps to prevent facial-fold odors in certain breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers. 

Highlights

  • Recommended by veterinary ophthalmologists.
  • No harsh chemicals or antibiotics.
  • New, stain-free fur will grow in within 7-10 days.

Things to Consider

  • Meant as a preventive measure, so does not remove existing stains. But it does help clear up eye gunk. 

Sample buyer review: “Just wanted to let everyone know that this is the first product that has really helped my Shih Tzu … I’ve tried the vet, homemade concoctions, saline solutions, and regular old eye drops … to no avail … but this stuff WORKS!!”

Best For Ease of Use

Our Pick: Angel Eyes for Dogs Gentle Tear Stain Wipes

Angel Eyes wipes

Trying to reason with a fussy dog who wants nothing to do with washing their face doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, Angel Eyes for Dogs Gentle Tear Stain Wipes makes it easy and convenient thanks to its pre-soaked wipes that are both unscented and small enough to get in and out without much of a struggle at all.

Highlights

  • Includes 100 pre-soaked wipes per container.
  • Helps reduce the risk of eye irritation or itching.
  • Made in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • Container must be tightly sealed to prevent drying.
  • Daily use required.

Sample buyer review: “This is a helpful product to keep my cockerpoo’s hair around her eyes free from the red stains.”

Best Tear Stain Chews for Dogs

Our Pick: Vedco Tear Stain Soft Chews

Vedco Dog Tear Stain Chews

While it’s great to have wipes and cleaning solutions on hand, these soft chews from Vedco actually help to minimize tear stains from the inside out. Made with all-natural, herbal ingredients, these tasty treat-like chews help to minimize excess tear production at the source and cut down on moisture and bacteria buildup around the eyes. Plus, they taste great and are easy to give to your dog. 

Highlights

  • Simple and easy to administer to dogs.
  • Contain natural ingredients.
  • Works from the inside out—no wiping required.

Things to Consider

  • May take some time to see results.
  • Larger dogs require more than one chew.

Best Budget-Friendly Dog Tear Stain Remover

Our Pick: Eye Envy for Dogs Tear Stain Removal Pack

Eye Envy Tear Stain Value Pack

While tear stain removers can be on the expensive end, this value pack by Eye Envy helps slash the cost significantly. The all-natural package includes everything you need to keep your dog’s eyes free of stains for 60-90 days—including gentle eye pads, an application brush, and white powder for light-colored dogs.

Highlights

  • Excellent price-to-quality ratio.
  • Includes veterinarian-recommended all-natural ingredients.
  • Made in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • A little more difficult/messy to use.
  • Should be used daily for best results.

Sample buyer review: “This product really helps (and I’ve tried so many!) You can see a difference right away because the powder conceals the redness but I definitely see a visible difference when I am consistent with application morning and evening.”

Best Multi-Use Tear Stain Product

Our Pick: Squishface Wrinkle Paste

Squishface paste for tear stains

Looking for a multi-use product that will ensure your Frenchie or Pug stays looking fresh and feeling hydrated? Squishface Wrinkle Paste takes care of moisturizing their facial wrinkles while also minimizing tear stain build-up and potential irritants. Note that this product will work just as well for other breeds experiencing tear stains.

Highlights

  • Short list of natural ingredients.
  • Helps moisturize skin folds.
  • Very fast results.

Things to Consider

  • More expensive than other options.
  • Can be messy to apply.

Sample buyer review: “We have an 80lb white English Bulldog and this product is the only one that has really helped with his creases and tear stains. Well worth the money as you only use a little bit and it works.”

Best for Multi-Animal Households

Our Pick: Arava Pet Eye Wipes

Arava Pet Eye Wipes

It’s not just dogs and puppies that experience tear stains. In fact, many light-colored cats, rabbits, and other animals often develop rust-hued rings under their eyes as well. This all-natural cleaner by Arava is safe and effective on all animals thanks to its natural active ingredients and bleach-free formula.

Highlights

  • Safe for dogs and cats of all ages.
  • Convenient pre-soaked soft wipes.
  • Includes soothing aloe vera and chamomile.

Things to Consider

  • Some reviews mentioned the product dries out rather quickly.

Sample buyer review: “We’ve been using this product on our dogs for the past month or so. It has helped keep tear stains from the corners of their eyes. The cloths are soft and gentle. I think the cloths are an appropriate size since it’s being used just around the eyes.”

Best Tear Stain Remover For Sensitive Dogs

Our Pick: PUPMATE Tear Stain Remover Wipes for Dogs 

Pupmate Tear Stain Wipes

Whether your dog is sensitive or you simply prefer keeping your home scent-free, PUPMATE Tear Stain Remover Wipes are truly unscented and are crafted to be extremely gentle on your dog’s fur—making it a safe option for both puppies and sensitive adult dogs.

Highlights

  • Very convenient, small-sized packaging.
  • Includes pre-soaked wipes for ease of use.
  • Unscented and very gentle on the fur.

Things to Consider

  • Product will dry out if kept for too long.

Sample buyer review: “I have a beautiful Maltese that’s perfectly white everywhere except for under her eyes! These wipes make it a whole lot easier to clean around her eyes and overtime has lightened the hair in that area. Well worth the money!”

Best for Bacteria Control

Our Pick: SCOBUTY Pet Wipes

SCOBUTY Pet Wipes

If you’re making the effort to wipe your dog’s tear stains on a daily basis, you may want to consider a formula that also helps control future irritation or redness. SCOBUTY Pet Wipes do just that thanks to their hypoallergenic ingredient list that includes a careful pH balance and natural plant extract formula.

Highlights

  • Includes 150 pre-soaked organic cotton wipes.
  • Helps control redness, irritation, and tear stains.
  • Made from hypoallergenic ingredients.

Things to Consider

  • Wipes have a light smell that could be irritating.
  • Must be used daily for best results.

Sample buyer review: “I bought these wipes for my pugs. I’ve been using them to clean around their eyes and in their face wrinkles. I love that all the ingredients used are gentle and soothing. The pads have a very light smell (kind of like unscented baby wipes) and are very gentle on their faces.”

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