Have you noticed that your dog has rusty spots beneath their eyes? Tear stains, as people call them, aren’t dangerous for a dog, but they mar your pet’s beautiful complexion. One way to deal with them is coconut oil.
So, how do you use coconut oil for dog tear stains? Treating tear stains with coconut oil is quite simple. You rub the coconut oil on the stained fur for a couple of days or until the tear stains disappear. Under no circumstances should you try to remove tear stains with bleach or make-up remover.
While dealing with dog tear stains isn’t rocket science, you still need to know a couple of things. So, I’ve prepared a 9-step guide on how to use coconut oil for dog tear stains.
9-Step Guide on How to Use Coconut Oil for Dog Tear Stains
1.Understand What Tear Stains Are
To treat your dog’s tear stain successfully with coconut oil, you have to know what causes tear stains in dogs.
As the name suggests, excessive eye discharge (tears) is what causes these rusty spots to appear under your dog’s eyes.
Dog’s tears, saliva, and urine contain an iron-rich agent that darkness the fur whenever exposed to air. The more this agent remains on the fur, the darker the stain gets.
These discolorations usually appear beneath the eyes, but they can also encircle them and run down the cheeks and muzzle.
Some breeds are prone to them due to the flat structure of their faces. However, allergies and eye conditions are the main underlying cause of excessive eye discharge in dogs.
The moist environment is also a perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. These can also stain your dog’s facial hair and turn it rusty or red.
What distinguishes tear stains from other possible discolorations is that these stains develop over time. They don’t appear overnight but gradually darken. They’re also more visible on dogs with light-colored coats.
2. Remove the Cause of Dog Tear Stains
Before you start using coconut oil to remove your dog’s tear stains, you have to deal with the underlying cause. Otherwise, these stains will reappear before you know it.
Usually, allergies are the most common reason for tear stains in dogs. So, you should find out if your dog is allergic to something and remove the irritant. For example, switching to grain-free food might be beneficial for those dogs who are allergic to grain.
You’d also want to have a vet check your dog’s eyes. Some eye diseases can cause excessive tearing, and these aren’t going to disappear on their own. More importantly, they can affect your dog’s vision if you don’t deal with them on time.
3. Pick the Right Coconut Oil
When it comes to tear stain removers, you can find dozens on the market. However, what you don’t know is that some of these products might contain antibiotics. A couple of years ago, the FDA issued a warning about such companies.
The overuse of antibiotics for such trivial matters is bordering on dangerous. Your dog might get liver problems or get resistant to antibiotic treatments. That would be a problem when your dog gets sick.
On the other hand, coconut oil is safe for dogs and has numerous benefits. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which inhibit the growth of bacteria when applied to the fur.
Coconut oil also creates a protective layer that repels tears and doesn’t allow them to soak the skin. Moreover, coconut oil is an active ingredient in many commercial stain removers.
However, to reap the benefits of coconut oil, you have to choose the right one. You need organic and unrefined coconut oil.
Non-organic brands probably have a lot of chemicals in them that will irritate your dog’s eyes and skin. As such, you should read the label carefully when you go shopping for coconut oil.
4. Gather Your Supplies
Before you apply coconut oil to your dog’s tear stains, you have to do some preparations.
First, you want the area to be as dry as possible. So, you need wipes to blot the moisture. Don’t use any wipes with alcohol because they’ll sting and irritate your dog’s skin and eyes. Your dog won’t cooperate if they’re in pain.
If your dog would allow it, you should trim the hair around the eye with blunt-tipped scissors. Trimming the fur will make it easy to apply the coconut oil to the skin and make it work more efficiently on bacteria and yeast.
But you should be very careful not to hurt your dog accidentally. Don’t try it if your dog squirms or struggles.
5. Get Your Dog Comfortable
Before you attempt to clean your dog’s tear stains, you should get your pooch comfortable. You want it to be a pleasant experience so that your dog doesn’t fight you in the future.
So, start by cuddling with your dog for a couple of minutes until your dog starts to relax. Then you can proceed to the next step.
6. Apply the Coconut Oil
Get a wipe and gently dry your dog’s hair around the eyes as much as possible. Then take some coconut oil and massage it into your dog’s hair and skin. Make sure that you cover the whole stained area and that you do both eyes.
If you’re going to apply the coconut oil with your fingers, you should wash beforehand. You don’t want to get any more bacteria into your dog’s skin and make the situation worse.
Otherwise, you can use a makeup pad or cotton cloth. Avoid cotton balls since they can get stick to the fur.
Once you’ve applied coconut oil to both eyes, you should reward your dog with a treat and give them a belly rub or a petting. In this way, your dog will look forward to your next cleaning session.
7. Be Consistent
You won’t get rid of your dog’s tear stains if you’re not consistent. That means that you have to apply coconut oil daily on the discolored spots. If you happen to forget, you should do it as soon as you remember.
Usually, it takes 10-14 days for the treatment to work. But it depends on how dark your dog’s tear stains are and how soon you start treatment.
If you don’t see any improvement in the stain’s color after two weeks, you should talk to your vet. The same goes if your dog’s eyes start watering out of the blue.
8. Learn How to Prevent Tear Stains
When it comes to tear stains, you can do a lot to prevent them. For starters, you can wipe your dog’s face daily to keep the moisture from building up. You can also trim the facial hair or get your dog to a groomer to do it if you’re not comfortable doing it.
Besides grooming, you should consider your dog’s diet. Low-quality dog food usually contains a lot of ingredients that can cause allergies. Lack of proper nutrition will also weaken your dog’s immune system and make them prone to infections.
You should also have your dog’s eyes examined to rule out a medical issue if you haven’t done so already. Some breeds are prone to eye problems, so you shouldn’t ignore tear stains.
9. Add Coconut Oil to Your Dog’s Diet
Coconut oil is beneficial not only for your dog’s skin but also for the whole organism. When you add it to your dog’s diet, it can boost the immune system and help it fight viral and bacterial infections.
Usually, the dose is one tablespoon for large dogs. So, you’ll have to adjust if you have a toy breed. Don’t give too much coconut oil at once or your dog will get diarrhea.
Coconut oil is a safe alternative for dealing with tear stains in dogs because it fights bacteria/yeast and prevents moisture from soaking the hair. Besides coconut oil, you can use commercial tear stain removers as long as they contain natural ingredients and are free of chemicals and antibiotics.