Shih-tzus & brown eye tear stains

Written by stephany elsworth
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Shih-tzus & brown eye tear stains
Excess tearing in shih tzus is called epiphora. (Shih Tzu dans la neige image by Jeff LEONARD from

Shih tzus often have bad-smelling, dark-coloured tear stains around their eyes. These stains can be difficult or impossible to remove from their fur. This condition occurs because the dog's eyes are continuously watering. WebMD states that dog breeds with short muzzles such as shih tzus are prone to this condition because they have shallower eye sockets than other breeds. However, other conditions besides shallow eye sockets can cause a Shih Tzu's eyes to water excessively.

Blocked Tear Ducts

WebMD indicates that dogs with blocked tear ducts may have watery eyes. If a dog has had a previous eye infection, he may have scar tissue around his drainage holes. Vet Info notes that some breeds have very large eyes, and the size of the eye itself can stretch the eyelid so far that it blocks the tear ducts. The Shih Tzu Reporter suggests massaging the bridge of his nose and around his eyes several times a week. This may help to loosen up the blockage.


Sometimes a Shih Tzu's eyes can become irritated by his own hair. Go Pets America notes that the dog's eyes will tear and stain if his hair is continuously falling in his eyes. They advise keeping long hair in a top knot. WebMD indicates that hair growth around the eyes can be a problem as well. This source of irritation can be minimised by keeping the hair around his eye sockets trimmed very short.

Eyelid or Eyelash Problems

WebMD indicates that if the dog's eyelids are turned inward toward the eyeball, this can cause his tear ducts to become blocked. Another condition noted by Go Pets America is called entroption. In this condition the dog's eyelashes turn inward, which irritates his eyes and causes them to water. Eyelash and eyelid conditions may need to be treated surgically.


Go Pets America and the Shih Tzu Reporter note that a dog's eyes can become irritated because of an inflammatory disorder called conjunctivitis. This disease can be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, or parasites transmitted through tick bites. Conjunctivitis will cause excessive discharge. Treat it with tear stimulants, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.

Cleaning Tear Stains

The Shih Tzu Reporter suggests cleaning the dog's face by using a solution of one part distilled water and one part 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. This solution can be gently sprayed on his face or on to a cotton swab or ball and used to wipe away excess tears. Washing his face regularly will help to minimise both the odour and the staining associated with excess tearing. Finally, commercial products are available that are made specifically for removing tear stains from dog fur.

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