Have you noticed that keeping your cockapoo’s face clean is hard, particularly from rusty, tea streaks and stains? No matter how much cleaning and scrubbing of your dog’s face you do, the stains don’t shift. Although we are going to level with you – there is no miraculous way to deal with cockapoo tear stains, in the following article, we will discuss why it happens and what you can do about this problem.
Do Cockapoos Get Tear Stains?
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Yes, like other dogs, cockapoos get tear stains. Important to eye health, tears keep your dog’s cornea clean and moist. The eye is a masterpiece of micro bioengineering. Within your cockapoo’s eyes, a balanced mechanism drains away the tears through the tear ducts, preventing them from spilling out onto your dog’s face.
A good way to think of this clever mechanism is like a sink with taps. When taps are left running, but there is nothing in the plughole, the water can drain away without any problem. Tear staining occurs when there is an issue with the above system. For instance, with the sink and tap analogy, the sink can overflow if the taps are full and there is a blockage or plug in the plughole. With your cockapoo, your dog is either producing way too many tears or the tear ducts are blocked in some way.
Factors That Make An Overflow of Tears and Tear Staining Possible!
Several factors can come into play that make it more likely that your dog’s tears will overflow and cause tear staining. These factors are:
Narrower Tear Ducts – Both eyes have what are called 2 tiny miniature puncta (plugholes) on the inner corner. There is one at the bottom and one at the top, and these join together, forming a Y junction that becomes a wider duct. Anything that causes the ducts or puncta to narrow makes it harder for tear fluids to drain away. Common reasons for this happening include:
- Blocked tear ducts – either due to inflammation or debris getting caught in them.
- Micro puncta – this is more common with cocker spaniels but is possible with cockapoos too. It is a condition where their tear ducts do not fully develop properly and are narrower than they should be.
- Impunctate Ducts – this is a problem that is associated with poodles and occurs when puncta are sealed over (similar to the idea of leaving your plug in the plughole in a sink)
- Large Eyes – larger-sized dog eyes will often roll eyelids outwards more, pushing the tear ducts away from the dog’s corner to make drainage ineffective.
- Increased Production of Tears – Maybe the tear ducts are working perfectly fine but are overworked by the excessive volume of tear fluid being produced and spilt down onto the face (known as epiphora).
Some of the main causes of this include:
- Triggered Allergic Reactions – airborne irritants like deodorant, perfume, hairspray, and fresheners are among the most common triggers of allergies that lead to increased production of tears.
- Eyelids that Scroll Inwards – if your cockapoo’s eyelids scroll inwards, this means whenever they blink, their eyelashes will rub against their cornea, causing their eyes to start watering.
- Physical irritation – long hair rubbing against your dog’s cornea or grit stuck in their eye can also cause epiphora.
- Wind chill – just like it happens with human eyes, your cockapoo’s eyes may water more excessively during cold weather.
Why Does The Tear Staining Happen?
As tears are generally colourless, you may wonder why tear staining happens. When they are exposed to the air, porphyrins start to oxidize. You will likely know what happens when you cut apples in half – the surface turns brown. This is like what happens with your dog’s eye fluid. The brown fluid in tears discolours the tissue it touches and turns your dog’s hair into a rusty brown.
How Can You Prevent Cockapoo Tear Staining?
Now that you understand tear staining better – what causes it and why it happens, let’s look at how you could prevent it. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. In the following section, we will discuss the methods for preventing tear staining that works and those that are just myths.
Hypoallergenic diet – many people suggest that if you feed your cockapoo a hypoallergenic diet or make sure you only give your dog gluten-free food, it can stop excessive tear staining from happening.
There is no evidence of this being the case; there is no logic to the solution either. When dogs suffer from allergies to certain foods, just like humans, they suffer from an upset stomach or serious itchiness, not increased and excessive production of tears. ‘
Whitening Wipes – whitening wipes are the best way to remove tear staining from your cockapoo.
This is technically true. However, you must note that the reason whitening wipes work is that they consist of bleach-like chemicals that can cause your cockapoo’s eyes to become irritated. With that in mind, while solving the cosmetic issue of tear staining, you may cause your dog to have a more serious eye problem.
Additionally, all cleansing solutions can harbour bacteria (particularly those made at home). So there’s a definite risk of wiping your cockapoo’s eyes using soap full of bacteria and giving your dog a nasty eye infection.
The use of antibiotics like tylosin – As porphyrins and not any infection cause the staining, there is no point in using antibiotics, as this may cause your cockapoo to develop a solid resistance to the effects of antibiotics. If your dog suffers from conjunctivitis, then topical antibiotic eye ointment would be your best treatment option.
Now that the don’ts are out of the way, let’s look at the things you can do to deal with cockapoo tear staining.
Trim the hair around your dog’s eyes – hairs wick excessive moisture away from your cockapoo’s eyes, spreading any tear staining. To make the problem easier to manage, keep the hair around the area of the eyes well-trimmed and neat.
Avoid exposing your cockapoo to irritants – avoid smoking near your cockapoo and keep them out of any room where you have been recently spraying aerosols.
Use an effective barrier for tear staining like Vaseline – during colder weather, when your cockapoo’s eyes are likely to water more excessively, you can combat this by smearing a fine layer of Vaseline on the skin underneath your dog’s eyes. This will also stop them from getting sore skin and chapping.
Use special malacotic wipes – perhaps you have good reason to believe your cockapoo has a yeast infection. If this is the case, contact your vet and ask if they can give you malacotic wipes. Malacotic wipes contain a special anti-yeast ingredient.
Wipe your cockapoo’s eyes regularly – using a cotton wool ball (always make sure you use a fresh one for each eye, every time) that has been soaked in some freshly boiled water (allowing it to cool down first), wipe away the gloop around your dog’s eye ducts. As tear staining takes several hours to fully develop, remove tears as quickly as you can stop staining.
Identify and Treat Any Underlying Conditions Your Dog May Be Suffering From
As we noted earlier, some physical conditions and issues could cause excessive tears and staining. It is vital that you take your cockapoo regularly to your vet to have him or her checked over. Your vet can help identify issues – perhaps your dog’s hair is rubbing against their cornea or they have eyelids that are turned inward. In the most serious of instances, correction through surgery could be the most effective solution.
Another way vets can examine your cockapoo’s eyes is by using fluorescein, a special dye that can highlight issues with the tear ducts. If your vet discovers blockages, flushing your cockapoo’s tear ducts could help dislodge any stuck debris. It’s worth noting, though, that micro puncta are much trickier, as forcing tear ducts to open wider can develop scar tissue, making them narrow again.
The normal colour for discharge from your cockapoo’s eyes is rusty-coloured or clear. If this fluid is especially tacky or has a very deep yellow-green colour, it could signify that your cockapoo has a dry eye or an infection. If it is either of these issues, only a vet can help.
Another key factor to consider regarding tear staining is that as poodles are prone to tear staining, subsequent breeds from poodle mixes, like cockapoos, are more likely to suffer from these issues. Therefore, it is good practice to clean and wipe your cockapoo’s eyes regularly.
More than just a cosmetic issue, tear staining can become a more serious issue if not dealt with properly. As shown in the article above, there are many reasons why cockapoos and other dogs suffer from tear staining. There are also several ways to deal with it when it happens. First, identify, possibly with the help of your vet, what’s causing your dog’s excessive tear production and tear staining and then treat that if there is an underlying condition. You also need to clean your cockapoo’s eyes regularly.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.