Best Overall for Tear Stains: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
“This limited ingredient dog food help you avoid allergens that cause tear stains without being stuck to just one food option. It has a variety of flavor combinations to choose from using very few, premium quality ingredients.”
Best Food Supplement for Tear Stains: Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement
“Reinforce your dog’s diet with a healthy food supplement that helps boost his immune system so he’s got extra protection from allergy-inducing food ingredients. These soft chews aren’t just tasty treats for your pooch, they also reduce the chances of allergies and prevent tear stains.
Best Value for Money: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
“Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach has good quality ingredients for its price. It is specially made for sensitive skin and stomach and is ideal for multi-dog families so you can avoid tear stains in more than just one pup.”
There are several factors that cause dog tear stains, and while it’s more prevalent in dogs with lighter fur, almost all dog breeds can suffer from this condition.
Excessive tearing that produces stains and discoloration around your dog’s eyes is not exactly life threatening. But it may indicate some underlying health issues that are causing pain and discomfort to your little pooch without you even knowing.
We’ve rounded up some nutritious and effective dog foods that can alleviate chronic tearing. If changing their diet to eliminate tear stains doesn’t work, consult a vet to see if other health conditions may be causing it.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown
- Best Dog Food For Tear Stains
- 1. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 2. Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement
- 3. Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
- 4. Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 5. American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 6. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 7. Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 8. The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Dog Food
- 1. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Different Causes of Tear Stains in Dogs
- Key Elements to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Food for Tear Stains
- Other Ways You Can Do to Help Prevent Tear Stains
- Questions & Answers
Best Dog Food For Tear Stains
Here are our top recommendations for the best dog food for tear stains:
- Best Overall for Tear Stains: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best Food Supplement for Tear Stains: Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement
- Best Value for Money: Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
- Best for All Life Stages: Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best for Eye Support: American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best Immune Boost: Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best for Easy Digestion: Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best Dog Food Topper: The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Dog Food
1. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best Overall for Tear Stains: Grain free, limited ingredient formulation that avoids problem ingredients which cause tear stains
- Wide variety of flavor options makes it easy to avoid allergens without being limited in choice
- Probiotics and antioxidants are added after cooking to preserve their effectiveness
- Between 8 and 10 ingredients in each flavor
- No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients
- A little on the pricey side
Allergies trigger chronic tearing and one way to prevent them is by avoiding ingredients that your pooch may be sensitive to. A grain free limited ingredient dog food like this one does exactly that. With great nutritional values, high protein and fat, high Omegas, and a splash of joint-strengthening supplements, this kibble is suitable for just about any dog who wants to reduce tear stains.
Apart from the varying protein and fat levels, you’ll find high Omega fatty acid levels (in fact, some of the highest out there), as well as added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.
The beauty of these recipes is not only the flavor range, but the fact that they cater for every dog at any life stage. They have formulas for puppies (added DHA), seniors (extra vitamins and minerals), weight management (low in fat), and small breeds.
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2. Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement
Best Food Supplement for Tear Stains: Grain free soft chews that boosts your dog’s immune system to prevent allergies causing tear stains
- Provides an immune boost to help prevent allergies
- Contain vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants
- Has a rich blend of omega fatty acids for added skin and immune support
- Has added colostrum, a substance that protects your dogs from allergies
- Exceeding the recommended dose could have adverse results
If you don’t want to change your dog’s current diet but you want to reduce his tearing that causes stains, you can give him a food supplement like the Zesty Paws Aller-Immune Bites. It can be introduced to your pup as a treat in between meals.
These flavored bites are packed with healthy stuff to build your dog’s immune system and lower the chances of allergies and tear stains.
There’s a bunch of great ingredients in these, including salmon oil, apple cider vinegar, and colostrum. A five-strain probiotic blend improves digestive health, and the mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants bolster the immune system nicely. The salmon oil also adds a dose of DHA and EPA, which have great anti-inflammatory properties.
The best part is that they are also a natural antihistamine, which should help quite a lot to reduce watery, itchy eyes, which will in turn help reduce and prevent tear stains.
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3. Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
Best Value for Money: An affordable dog food formula specifically created for dogs with extra sensitive skin and stomach
- Good protein and fat levels for the average fairly active dog
- Added prebiotic fiber and fish oil for better digestion
- Healthy and easily digestible carbohydrates
- No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives
- “Fish meal” and “Animal fat” are a little vague and indicative of lower quality ingredients
Getting rid of tear stains doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food can help you protect your dog who has an extra sensitive skin and stomach from allergies. It has a rich blend of omega fatty acids which nourish your dog’s skin and coat. It also contains natural prebiotic fiber that promotes growth of healthy intestinal bacteria which gives your dog’s stomach additional immunity from allergy-causing ingredients.
It’s ideal for multi-dog families who are looking to reduce tear stains in one or all of their pups.
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4. Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best For All Life stages: Protects dogs from serious allergies no matter which life stage they’re at
- Fantastic recipe range for healthy flavour options
- High in protein and fats to provide proper nourishment while avoiding allergies
- Contain DHA, EPA, and glucosamine & chondroitin
- Somewhat pricey
The Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is formulated for dogs at any life stage. It’s a nutrient-dense grain free dry dog food that is highly concentrated in protein, fat, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. All of these nutrients come from high quality ingredients that are proven safe and nutritious for dogs of any breed.
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5. American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best for Eye Support: Rich in Vitamin A and DHA which promotes healthy eyesight and prevent eye-related issues
- Great flavor variety with delicious ingredient combinations your pup will enjoy
- Contains DHA and Vitamin A which fortifies your dog’s eye health
- High-quality single animal protein source that’s proven safe
- May not be suitable if your pooch is sensitive to legumes
- Fat level may be too low for active pups
American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is suitable for dogs of all ages, breeds, and activity levels. It uses a single animal protein source to ensure your pup don’t encounter any problem proteins which can trigger allergic reactions.
It offers a complete and balanced nourishment while avoiding ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, legumes, or anything artificial. You can guarantee there’s only natural, freshly sourced ingredients in this food
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6. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best Immune Boost: Rich in vitamins and antioxidants that keep your dog’s immune system strong
- Contain LifeSource Bits which are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, & minerals
- A few different recipes are available so your pooch won’t get bored
- Single source animal proteins with both whole meat and meat meal
- May not be great for pets who are sensitive to potatoes
Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food is packed with immune-boosting vitamins that help protect your dog from allergies which cause tear stains.
It’s single source protein formula combined with slow-burning carbs, and contains added vitamin and minerals bits making this great for dogs who need help strengthening their immune system to reduce tear stains.
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7. Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best For Easy Digestion: Uses lamb which is highly digestible protein source, ideal for dogs who suffer from tear stains as well as digestive issues
- Possible to avoid most common allergens, including legumes
- Nice mix of flavors so your pooch can have some choice
- No grains, corn, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, gluten, or artificial ingredients
- Slightly on the pricey side
Dogs who have trouble with digestion and suffer from tear stains as well can benefit from Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food. It provides dogs a well-balanced diet that help prevent allergies causing tear stains. It also comes with a good dose of joint-fortifying supplements to keep their joints strong and healthy.
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8. The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Dog Food
Best Dog Food Topper: Human grade dog food processed minimally to retain flavor and nutrients which reduces risk of allergies
- Human-grade, so it’s guaranteed safe for your pooch
- A variety of grain-free flavors to choose from for your picky eater pup
- Dehydrated ingredients helps preserve their nutritional integrity
- Avoids most allergens including chicken, beef, and potatoes
- Expensive (although it makes four times the volume)
The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Dog Food is a perfect kibble topper that’s high in protein, and fat, calorie-dense and uses all-natural ingredients.
It’s naturally preserved, comes in a few flavours, and is super soft which adds a nice texture to your dog’s usual kibble.
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Different Causes of Tear Stains in Dogs
There isn’t just one answer to this question. Basically, whatever the underlying cause, the actual staining is caused by excessive watering of the eyes. The fluid contains a pigment that stains the fur.
Eye watering can sometimes be brought on by irritation, and sometimes because the tear ducts aren’t draining properly. This can be caused by:
- Eye infections
- Ingrown eyelashes
- Inward-turned eyelids
- Bulging eyes (some breeds are more prone to this than others)
- Excessive minerals in their water (this also causes stains around the mouth)
- Food or environmental allergies
Anyone of these things could be the culprit when it comes to your pup, so you’ll need to pay some close attention to figure out what the actual problem is.
If obvious physical causes are ruled out, then it’s a good idea to look at environmental allergies (dust, pollen, etc), and food allergies.
Key Elements to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Food for Tear Stains
1) High-Quality Animal Protein Source
The protein source should always be what you see heading up the ingredient list. It should be ingredient number one and should be a high-quality animal protein.
Although food sensitivities can play a part in tear stains, this depends very much on the individual dog. We haven’t avoided any particular protein on this list, because although some dogs may have certain allergies or sensitivities, not all of them will.
As long as there’s a premium quality animal protein right up there and the protein count is decent, then we’re happy with that. This will ensure your pooch gets all the necessary amino acids they need in their diet.
2) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Although tear stains can be caused by out-of-whack chemicals and vitamins and minerals in the body, there are some that can help.
As long as your pup’s food isn’t laced with unnecessary stuff or packed way too full of extra vitamins and minerals, things like vitamin A, vitamin E, probiotics and prebiotics can help keep your dog’s immune system happy, tear ducts in good condition, and prevent the stains from appearing in the first place, or being made worse if they’re already there.
Because tear stains can also be caused by infection, it’s important to keep your pet’s immune system as healthy as possible.
3) Avoids Common Allergens
Food allergies and intolerances can cause various allergic reactions in pets, and these allergies can cause your pooch to suffer from more watery eyes than usual. This, in turn, can contribute to tear stains.
It may be worthwhile switching foods to avoid common allergens if your pooch is having trouble with these stains. Chicken, beef, eggs, potatoes, and grains are quite common allergies, so if you think this may be part of the problem, switch your pup to a food with a different protein source or one without the ingredient you think could be the problem.
4) No Synthetic Ingredients
Artificial colours and flavours in dog food can contribute to the appearance of these facial marks. The chemicals that are often added to commercial kibbles often cause an excess of iron-rich porphyrin molecules, which are secreted in your pup’s tears and leave reddish-brown stains.
The best dog food for tear stains will be all-natural and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Foods like this aren’t hard to find, so whichever one you choose on this list, you can be sure your pup will be eating a chemical-free meal.
Other Ways You Can Do to Help Prevent Tear Stains
Changing your dog’s diet is a good first step to getting rid of tear stains, but it’s not the only thing that you should be looking at.
There are other things you can do to help your pup’s eye health improve, such as:
- Facial grooming
Keeping your pup’s facial hair trimmed (especially around the eyes) and giving his face a regular wash can make a huge difference.
You can simply gently wash his face twice a day with a damp washcloth, or, if his eye problems are more severe, you can use a canine eye-wash. There are different ways to use these – you can either flush out the eyes or just give them a rub underneath and around with a cotton ball.
- Use filtered water
If your pup is a messy drinker, try to keep his mouth and chest dry after he’s been at the water bowl. Reducing moisture on his fur can help reduce staining quite a bit. If this is tricky, he may benefit from using a doggy water dispenser instead of a bowl.
Speaking of water, staining can occur as a result of excess minerals in your pet’s water. Filling his bowl with filtered or purified water instead of just tap water can fix this issue.
As for removing the stains that are already there, you can find products on the market that claim to do so. Be very careful, though, that you aren’t using something with unhealthy or dangerous chemicals in it. An all-natural product will work the best.
We would advise simply taking measures to improve your dog’s health and letting the current stains grow out. If you are feeding your pooch a great quality food, healthy water, and giving them a regular face groom, the tear stains shouldn’t come back.
Questions & Answers
Are certain breeds more susceptible to tear stains than others?
Yes! Flat-faced dogs tend to suffer from these more than others, due to the abnormal shape of their faces and how that affects the growth and development of their tear ducts.
Dogs who are light in colour, especially on their faces, are not necessarily more at risk, but the staining will be far more noticeable on their fair fur.
How do I know when my dog’s tear stains are a sign of something serious?
If your pup’s tear ducts are working overtime, it’s generally something that should be fixed if possible. Watery eyes themselves are not dangerous, but it’s uncomfortable and not fun for your pooch.
If the tear stains on your dog’s face are accompanied by swollen or crusty eyes, a lot of fluid, or an unpleasant smell, then a vet’s visit is probably a good idea.
Any other symptoms that come along with them could be cause for concern too. Tear stains don’t generally appear overnight, and other longer-term symptoms could be part of the same allergy or sensitivity. Sensitive tummies, reluctance to eat, and dull, dry fur could be signs of a food allergy.
Coughing, sneezing, lack of energy, and itching in addition to these stains could be indications of an environmental allergy.
If your pup has tear stain markings but is otherwise happy and healthy, then there should be no cause for concern. Just be sure to keep their eyes clean and dry, but if there are other additional symptoms, a vet’s once-over might be a good idea.
How does the best dog food for tear stains differ from other dog foods?
Whether or not the initial cause of your pup’s stains is food allergies, changing their diet can actually help reduce the chances of staining and keep allergies and irritations at bay.
Dog foods that help tear staining are usually limited ingredient recipes that are all-natural and contain no synthetic ingredients that might mess with your pup’s system.
Limited ingredient doesn’t have to mean limited nutrition though. The recipes should be protein-packed and make use of slow-burning carbohydrates, while staying away from common allergens if possible.
Things like probiotics, prebiotics, vitamin A, vitamin E, and Omega fatty acids are great for helping reduce or even prevent allergies.
While there are many high-quality kibbles on the market, the best dog food for tear stains will most likely contain fewer ingredients than most, with a nice dose of extra vitamins.