Poodle Tear Stains: How to Clean & Prevent Them

Categorized as Poodle Breed Information, Poodle FAQs, Poodle Health & Wellbeing
Poodle Tear Stains How to Clean & Prevent Them

Have you ever noticed dark brown or reddish tear stains under a dog’s eyes and wondered where they come from?

Especially with breeds like the poodle, tear stains seems to be an ongoing problem.

Tear stains are one of the most common dog health issues people notice. The discoloration usually begins on the corners of a dog’s eyes and works its way in toward the nose, creating streaks or splotches. While some tear stains are hereditary, others are caused by medical conditions such as untreated allergies or infections.

A long time reader of this blog e-mailed me the other day asking  if I had any idea how to prevent tear stains in Poodles. She said her poor dog was suffering from an eye problem and she did not know how to make them go away. 

As someone who loves to educate people about poodles and how to best care for them, I have encountered my share of tear stained dogs (both Poodle and non-Poodle). So, I thought I would write about it for my readers who love their canine friend very much.

What are Tear Stains?

Tear staining is a common condition in poodles. 

Tear stains are dark brown or reddish marks that appear beneath a dog’s eyes. These stains are often accompanied by discharge, but not always. 

An apricot poodle with tear stains

An apricot poodle with tear stains

A light colored poodle such as the white poodles and the apricot poodle will have a more noticeable tear stain than one with darker fur such as the black poodle

Most color changes in the fur due to tear stains aren’t permanent, although stains that have been neglected for a long time will need to be grown out quite a bit and then trimmed.

Poodle tear stains extensive guide

Are Poodle Tear Stains Normal?

Now that we have discussed what tear stains are, the next logical question seems to be “Is it normal for my poodle doggo to have these nasty stains?” 

There is a misconception that tear staining is caused by excessive tear production. Tear staining in poodles is relatively common and frequently has no underlying ocular cause. However, many dogs have a normal variation in the structure of their eyelids that causes tears to drain onto their face rather than draining down how it normally would.

In simpler terms, tear staining does not always indicate underlying health issues, sometimes it’s just the way how your poodle’s eye lids are structured.

With that being said, I would still advise you to get it looked at by a vet when you go for your poodle’s routine checkup. 

What Causes Tear Stains in Poodles?

In most cases, tears cause the stains due to epiphora, a condition where excessive tears are produced or tears fail to drain.

Epiphora may occur acutely or chronically. There can be a variety of causes for epiphora, so you should consult a veterinarian or specialist.

A white poodle with tear stains

A white poodle with tear stains

Porphyrin is a red pigment found in tears, which builds up under the eyes, causing those nasty reddish stains under the eye.

In the case of brown, rust-colored stains, they are usually caused by a yeast infection that builds up on the skin under the eye.

The reason for this yeast infection to occur in that exact location is because of the constant supply of moisture it gets from tears building up on the surface of the skin.

Underlying Medical Issues that Cause Tear Stains in Poodles

There are several causes of tear stains in dogs. Some reasons include not regularly cleaning the dog’s eyes, as well as congenital or genetic reasons. Other reasons typically result from some medical issue. 

Below are some possible medical issues that can cause tear stains on poodles.

  1. There is a serious condition called Glaucoma that causes a build-up of pressure in the eye and damages the optic nerve. 
  2. A discharge from the eye can be caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections.
  3. Mucus, pus, or discharge can be caused by inflammation of the eye’s lining, also known as conjunctivitis.
  4. An ear infection may cause tears to flow more often than usual from the eye on the same side of the head.
  5. An ingrown eyelash can irritate and damage the eye since it rubs against the surface.
  6. Entropion occurs when the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye, causing irritation, which in turn causes more tears to flow.

Different Body Structures that Cause Tear Stains in Poodles

Not all poodles are the same, while they all are awesome at heart, some of them are built differently from others.

While there can be some underlying medical conditions that can be causing your Poodle’s tear stains, the most common cause is due to your poodle’s body structure. 

  1. Poodles that have large tear glands. These larger than usual tear glands naturally produce a larger volume of tears with each blink than poodles with smaller tear glands.
  2. From each eye, there is a tube going into the nasal cavity so that excess tears can be drained from the eyes. Having small openings in these ducts reduces their efficiency, and excess tears accumulate in the hair.
  3. Blockages in the ducts prevent excess liquid from being removed from the eye.Poodles tend to have drainage holes that do not develop properly.
  4. It is possible for tear drainage to decrease if the eye has been infected or damaged previously.
  5. The hair that gets into the eyes can wick away the tears, pulling away the moisture from the eyes and leaving it on the skin.

Other Possible Causes of Poodle Tear Stains

  1. As the eye attempts to remove the irritating substance, it may become watery due to an irritation.
  2. Eyes can water excessively as a result of allergic reactions. Seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, or an allergic reaction to the dog’s food can all trigger allergies.
  3. Many issues can be caused by anxiety and stress.Poor-quality food containing undesirable and indigestible ingredients is stressful to the body of a dog.Foods that are cheap and low-quality are often problematic.
  4. While teething, puppies may produce more tears and tear stains may appear on their skin. Having your pet’s vet check for any other issues that could be causing the tears is a good idea, but the problem usually subsides once teething is done.

Can Poodle Tear Stains be Removed? 

Tear staining, a common problem in dogs, can often be a medical issue as well as an aesthetic one.

Dog groomers have said, the happy dog has no tear stains. Removing tear stains is not an easy task. But there is good news: it’s possible. In fact, there are several ways you can use to clean tear stains.

I have seen many dog owners who have tried many methods to get rid of tear stains. Some methods work, but others don’t. I will tell you about all the methods that I could find, and you can take your pick.

Easy Solutions to Get Rid of Poodle Tear Stains

Ah, the sweet smile of a poodle. How they make us melt with their cute cute eyes. However, some of those beautiful light colored coats come with an embarrassing downside – tear stains! 

The first step in getting rid of tear stains is to determine their cause. After your veterinarian has ruled out health issues, try any one of these four easy to use remedies to get rid of those nasty tear stains.

You can clean your dog’s tear stains at home by mixing some warm water with a saline solution. However, you can also check out tried and true products designed specifically to remove tear stains efficiently.

These products are pet-friendly (safe to use), easy-to-use and effective.

Angel’s Eyes Gentle Tear Stain Wipes

Angel’s Eye Tear Stain Wipes is packed with Chamomile Extract and Aloe Vera for gentle cleansing. These wipes are safe, simple to use, and made with herbal extracts that are gentle enough for around your dog’s eyes.

Angel eye's tear stain wipes for poodles

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This product delivers the kind of results you’d expect from one of our recommended brands – bright, clean eyes, no irritation.


  • 100 pre-soaked wipes are included in each container.
  • Non-irritating formula suitable for daily use.
  • Rinse after use is not necessary.
  • On dark-colored dogs, this product will not lighten their fur color. 
  • Lightens existing tear stains while eliminating residue around the eyes
  • It is free from harsh chemicals, parabens, sulfates, MEA, and DEA.
  • Reduces the risk of infection around the eyes.

For Best Results:

  • Use the wipes only after shaking the container upside down to re-saturate them.
  • Don’t rub the delicate area around your poodle’s eye aggressively with these tear stain wipes.
  • It is recommended that you use it daily for best results.
  • For the wipes to stay moist, the container must be sealed.

Eye Envy Tear Stain Remover Pack for Dogs

With a no irritation formula and hundreds of glowing reviews, this all natural Eye Envy Tear Stain Remover Pack is a great value.

Along with the brand’s reputed stain remover solution, this package also includes white powder, application pads, and a brush for working the powder into your dog’s fur.

Not just for removing stains and odors, this comprehensive solution also freshens your dog’s fur. 

Eye Envy NR Tear Stain Remover for poodles

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If you have a poodle suffering from stubborn tear stains, try this pack of Eye Envy. This cleaning kit lasts 60 to 90 days and makes grooming your pets a stress-free experience.


  • For the price, this is an excellent deal.
  • The ingredients are all natural.
  • The kit includes powder and a brush.
  • Made and Ships from the USA.

For Best Results:

  • Despite the powder’s messiness, the brush makes it easier to apply.
  • Use daily for best results.
  • If the product is used daily, the stains will disappear in around 7 days (as with most tear-stain removers).

Zesty Paws Tear Stain Support Soft Chews

With these easy-to-give soft chews, you can treat tear stains from the inside out. Plus, your poodle doggo gets tasty treats!

This product is the perfect match for poodles that don’t particularly like wiping and grooming.

These chews include ingredients such as cranberry extract, marshmallow root, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, which work to remedy the primary causes of dog tears staining.

Zesty Paws Tear Stain Support Soft Chews for Poodle Tear Stains

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For small, medium, and large poodles, these soft chews contain Quercetin, Lutein, and Astaxanthin to maintain normal vision and may also reduce histamine levels.


  • 90 chews with every bottle.
  • Human grade ingredients.
  • Contains natural antibiotic properties from herbal ingredients.
  • Bonus treats for doggo.

Things to Consider:

  • More than one chew a day is necessary for dogs over 25 pounds.
  • Results are not achieved overnight. Consistent use will yield results over time.

Burt’s Bees for Pets Natural Tear Stain Remover

Burt’s Bees understands pet parents and the special needs of their pets. This solution gently removes tear stains without causing irritations.

Their all-natural tear-stain remover contains chamomile extract and dandelion extract to break up the particles that cause staining.

In addition to being fragrance-free and chemical-free, this product is recommended by veterinarians

Burt’s Bees for Pets Natural Tear Stain Remover for Poodles

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  • Ingredients are all natural.
  • It is easy to use. All you need to do is dab the stain with a cotton ball.
  • After use, there is no need to rinse or wash.
  • The product is safe for both adults and puppies.
  • Made in the USA.

For Best Results:

  • For best results, use daily.
  • It may take a few uses for stains to disappear.
  • You shouldn’t apply this directly to your pet’s eyes as is the case with most tear stain removers. 

How Not to Remove Tear Stains in Poodles?

I have told you about some of the best ways to remove tear stains in the previous sections.

Now, let me tell you about some of the “DIY remedies” and “quick fixes” I found on the internet that claim to get rid of tear stains for good.

Most of these fixes just seem too risky to mess with, especially using it near the eye region. 

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide – In a water-diluted hydrogen peroxide mixture (10 parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide), soak a cotton pad and thoroughly clean the stain with it. Be careful when handling the hydrogen peroxide, as you don’t want any to end up in the dog’s eyes.
  2. Milk of magnesia – Combine equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia in a bowl and stir in some cornstarch. After you have applied the paste to the stained area, leave it for four hours before thoroughly washing it out with water.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar – You can increase the acidity of your dog’s body by providing them with 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar daily. Alkalizing your dog’s body will not only remove tear stains, but it will also help prevent recurrence of bacteria or yeast infections. Dilute the vinegar with approximately 1 gallon of water.

I personally would not touch any of these “fixes” with a ten-foot pole. They’re just too risky and bothersome, especially when you have much safer options like the ones we discussed earlier. 

I decided to include all of these solutions in this article in order to educate you on the matter as much as I can.

How to Prevent Tear Stains in Poodles?

Owners of light colored poodles such as the white poodle and the apricot poodle are always on the lookout for ways to prevent tear stains. 

There are a number of easy steps you can take to keep these attractive pooches looking their absolute best.

  1. Make sure your food is of high quality – Insufficient-quality foods use corn, wheat, and meals as fillers that do not ensure long-term health and may cause allergic reactions, which can cause excessive tears and other problems.
  2. Make sure their drinking water is clean – Having traveled a couple times with my own dogs without their normal water and having to pour them water from my own bottled water, something that they’re not used to. I have always noticed that they quickly start to develop stains in response to excess minerals.
  3. Maintaining hygiene of their mouth, eyes, and hair every single day – You can keep the stains at bay by “face grooming” daily. 

Do Poodle Tear Stains Go Away on Their Own?

If your poodle is frequently getting tear stains on their face, you should have a vet check them out.

Poodles often get tear staining around the time they teethe and this is caused by hormones. But after they finish teething the problem often goes away, but if it doesn’t talk to your vet

Do Tear Stains Smell?

If you have a poodle, then you know that they can be prone to tear stains on the fur around their eyes. But do those tear stains smell?

The growth of bacteria in the moist fur under the eyes can lead to an unpleasant smell. Plus, this bacteria can spread to the skin and cause infections.

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Poodles make wonderful companions, but tear staining can be a persistent problem for new owners. 

Overall, I hope this article helps you to better understand the causes of tear staining in poodles. If your dog has stains, don’t be embarrassed about it or worry too much.

Tear stains are completely manageable. Following the methods I discussed in this article I’m confident you’ll be able to keep your poodle’s face looking healthy and stain-free.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, then feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

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