If you own a Bichon Frisé, you are probably familiar with tear stains. These are the reddish brown marks on the fur around the Bichon’s eyes. It’s natural for a dog to have a little tearing and discharge from the eyes. White fur, however, shows the resulting stains more than dark fur. And if the staining is extreme, the effect can be quite unattractive. The good news is that there are several ways to get rid of tear staining on your Bichon’s face.
1) Check for physical causes. Excessive tears and staining may be caused by irritation. Is there an eyelash or bit of hair constantly rubbing against the eye? Comb the fur on the face away from the eye area, and if necessary, trim the fur so it doesn’t contact the sensitive eyes.
Look at the condition of the teeth and gums. A broken or decayed tooth can lead to eye tearing and staining. Dental problems are painful and can turn into emergency situations – so get your Bichon to the vet quickly if you suspect anything.
If your Bichon has quite significant tear staining, your vet should check to make sure the tear ducts in the eyes are not blocked.
2) Change the diet. Many Bichon Frisé owners have minimized tear staining by feeding a different food to their dog. For some Bichons, eating grains contributes to tear staining. Try reducing or eliminating grains from the diet. This means feeding a raw diet or switching to one of the new dog kibbles that contain no grain, such as Evo.
Before switching foods, you may want to consult with your vet. If your Bichon is on a special diet for medical reasons, you certainly should not vary it without your vet’s ok. It’s very important, too, that if you decide to feed a raw diet you make sure it contains all the required nutrients. There are many frozen or dried grain-free dog foods available that offer an optimum balance of nutrition. Never feed your Bichon just meat, as he will become ill very quickly on such an unbalanced and unhealthy diet.
3) Clean the eyes regularly. Part of your daily routine should be to remove the debris that accumulates in the corners of the dog’s eyes. Don’t let this material build up, as this is irritating to your Bichon and will contribute to tear staining.
In addition, clean the area under your dog’s eyes regularly with a boric acid solution. Boric acid is a powder that is commonly used in eye washes. You can find it in the drugstore. To make the solution, dissolve 1/4 tsp of boric acid in about half a cup of boiling water. Let it cool. Wet a cotton ball with the solution, then gently wipe the stained area two or three times a day. Keep the leftover boric acid solution covered and in the fridge for up to a week. You should notice an improvement within a few days. The boric acid treatment may be enough to keep your Bichon’s face looking pretty.
4) Use an antibiotic product. There are several products on the market that are quite effective in preventing tear staining. One of these is a powder called Angels’ Glow. You put a small amount of the powder into your Bichon’s food each day.
The reason this type of product works is because it contains a small amount of specialized antibiotic. Some people don’t like the idea of administering antibiotics just for cosmetic reasons. However, if your Bichon’s tear staining is quite severe, you may want to give it a try. It’s always a good idea to get your vet’s opinion before giving your dog any kind of medication or supplement.
Tear staining is a common problem in the Bichon Frisé, and can spoil the look of your beautiful dog. In most cases, though, tear staining can be greatly reduced by using one or more of these suggestions.