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Cavalier Eye Staining

“My dog’s face is constantly wet and stained, what should I do?"

How many times have I heard that very same question and indeed whilst one would think the answer to be an easy one, I am afraid there may be even more questions before a resolve can be found.


Most instances start with a young puppy with tearing and facial staining. The first answer invariably is puppy losing and gaining a new set of teeth, which of course could be just one of the reasons.


Dogs have a very efficient tearing mechanism, which is to lubricate the eye and wash off any airborne impurities and to keep the eye clear of debris. The excess fluids are then drained away into the inner corner of the eye which should drain into a very fine duct which in turn flows into the nose and out through the nostrils. In young dogs which are still growing there are instances that these ducts have yet to fully unfold and grow out, which time and age will rectify. Again this seems to be more prevalent in shorter faced dogs like Cavaliers.


If you find that your dog is still tearing past puberty which in Cavaliers can start as early as 8 months, it might be good practice to visit your Veterinarian who will examine your dog to ascertain the true cause. He might even suggest flushing out these minute tubes, a very delicate procedure which often rectifies the problem, as sometimes this unwanted detritus is in fact mucus, possibly there since birth. If this treatment is unsatisfactory your Veterinarian will also make extra investigations to see if your dog is suffering allergic reactions. Many of the cleaners we use in and around our homes can cause adverse problems, and while many people might use disinfectants and chloride bleaches they can very often prove most unsuitable for our canine friends. Remember too, when you wash floors that your dog is much closer to the products than we are.

In Victorian times the favored house plants of the day were ferns and aspidistras. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s the ficus (rubber plant) and monsteras’s (Swiss cheese plant) were all the rage. Latterly the plants of the genus phalaenopsis (moth orchids) have become the must haves, and while they make a welcome addition to brighten our homes, some dogs react quite badly to them and the most often reaction is weeping and runny eyes.

Meantime, one should take special care to keep the area below the eyes clean and gentle swabbing with plain cooled boiled water 2 or 3 times daily will help. Let the water cool before cleaning the dogs face. If tears are allowed to build up the resultant wet patches will allow bacteria and yeasts to form which will also cause an unpleasant odor.


Do make sure that once these areas are cleaned that you swab dry as best you can and to further protect a small smear of petroleum jelly will allow the tears to roll away.


Staining is often more noticeable on party-colors Cavaliers which are the Blenheim and Tri colors. A smear of Vaseline just below eyes will enable the tearing to run down the side of the face and not on the white area where it notices much more. Only a very small smear is needed and do ensure that none goes into the eye.

There are many products on the market which claim to make these pinkish/brown stains disappear but I have yet to find something that really can work its magic.

Patience and copious washing is still probably the only answer.




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