Maltese dogs can produce tear stains around the eyes and mouth. The stains are reddish brown because of growth of yeast and bacteria. The causes of tear stains stem from health problems, environmental issues (like allergies), stress and genetics. Treatments include topical--outside the animal, these include wiping excess moisture from the eyes, or using shampoos--and internal treatments. These are antibiotics or other treatments.
Excess wetness can develop into a staph infection. Dogs lick each other, sniff noses and share water and food, and can pass the infection to each other. Clean brushes, food and water bowls and toys once a month. Put toys and bowls in the dishwasher, or use hot, soapy water. Launder plush toys.
Health Causes of Staining
Excess tearing can be caused by partially or fully blocked tear ducts. This requires an irrigation or surgical opening of the ducts by your veterinarian.
Ear infections can cause excess tearing. Dogs with floppy ears are prone to yeast infections. Mites or ticks can also be causes of ear infections. Check with your veterinarian before beginning treatments to be sure this is the problem.
Fleas can cause staining. Fleas will live in the moisture around your dog's eyes. This will irritate your dog's eyes and cause excess tears. Use a flea product like Frontline Plus to get rid of fleas. Always consult your veterinarian before using any flea product.
Environmental Causes of Staining
Allergies to preservatives, additives or food colouring can cause excess tearing. Beet pulp, which is added to many commercial dog foods, is a common cause of tearing. High mineral content in water can cause tearing. Try using natural foods such as Missing Link, along with filtered water.
Allergies to chemicals and perfumes in shampoos can cause tearing. Use natural shampoos that contain oatmeal and natural oils such as Natural Oatmeal Shampoo by Bio-Groom.
Genetic Causes of Staining
Some dogs have a genetic predisposition to excessive tearing and staining. When purchasing a puppy, make sure to view the dame and sire to see if they have staining. Talk to the breeder and ask if staining has been a problem for them.
Don't let a genetic predisposition to staining prevent you from purchasing a puppy. Just be aware that staining will be an issue you will have to face.
Stress and Staining
Stress is a possible cause of excessive tearing. Stress can be caused by separation anxiety--a fear of being left alone--lack of exercise or heat. Exercise your dog regularly, ensure she has adequate water and shade on hot days and seek a qualified trainer if your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
Hair falling in your dog's eyes can cause excess tears. Trim hair away from your dog's eyes or hold it away with a tiny barrette or scrunchy.
Use a natural, chemical and antibiotic free stain remover such as Maltese Secret Stay White Tear Stain Remover. Use this product in the morning and at night. It is safe for puppies 12 weeks and older.
Clean your dog's ears after a bath with a natural drying solution such as Ear So Fresh. This product removes wax build-up and keeps your dog's ears fresh and clean.
For flea, mite or yeast infections in your dog's ears or around her eyes, you will need an antibiotic or anti-fungal medication. Consult your veterinarian for a suitable treatment.