Written by Marlene K. Nolting,  home of Happy Trail Havanese
this article cannot be reproduced in any form.
     Many times I am asked, what do you do for tear stains in Havanese and do all
Havanese get tear stains.  I  have given this alot of thought and have also done quite
a bit of research on this topic.  As you read thru this remember there is more than one
right answer:  since there are many reasons for tear staining.  First there is the excessive tearing which is the cause of the staining, we then must find what is causing the exces-
sive staining. is it genetics? health or diet of the pup? fleas? bacteria infection?  there
can be many causes which brings me to my next topic:

Before you can find a cure you must first understand what the cause is, or you will
always be fighting it and never have cured it.


My veterinarian has confirmed that the cause of tear stainng is excess tearing.  The face
gets wet from the tearing which causes a breeding ground from the bacteria, which is a
yeast infection.  Usually you can smell this on the dog, at this point you now have two things to overcome, first the excess tearing and second a yeast infection on the face,
which is where the redish or brownish staining occurs.  If not properly cured , it will continue to worsen and spread in as little as a few days.


If you have a Havanese with tear staining and tearing a trip to your vet is the first step,
he will be able to look at the ducts to see if they are blocked, which would need to be irrigated.  Also at that time he can inspect the dog to insure that the lower eye lid is not rolled back into the eye.  That would be very uncomfortable, since every time the dog
blinks the eye lashes would scratch the eye, which in turn would cause excess tearing.


A ear infection will also cause excess tearing, after all we know the ears , eyes, and
sinus's are all connected.  Care need to be given when you give your havanese a bath,
so that water does not get into the ear canal.  Here it is also very important that after a
bath, you must clean the inside of the ears and pluck the hairs from the canal, which
would otherwise grow downwards into the canal causing a terrible infection.  You can
spot a infection by the dog itching at the back of a ear with his hind leg.


To me , I have found genetics are the biggest role factor here.  If you breed a female
and male with tear staining, the result would most definitely be puppies with the tear staining.  On the other side of that, if you selectively breed adult dogs who have little
to no tear staining, I believe that would eliminate alot of the problems.  Since there are
so many things that are passed thru genetics, tear duct problems, cronic ear infections,
shape of face, placement of eye rims, health and care.


Havanese will cut their adult teeth around 6 months old, it is not uncommon for them
to all fall out at about the same time.  During this time their mouth is undergoing changes which cause pressure on the tear ducts.  I have one bloodline in particular that never has
any tear staining but when the adult teeth start to come in, it seems that just overnight
they start tearing and will continue for 2-3 months.  Which at that time, their adult teeth
will be all the way in.  Once the teeth are all in, the tearing stops on it's own,
of course it is important to remember that during those 2-3 months, you must stay on top
of the tearing so that it doesn't turn into a yeast infection.


The eyes of your Havanese can be irritated by the hair that hangs in and or pokes into
the eyes, that is why it is very important to keep the hair around the eyes trimmed, or at least pulled back to eliminate the irritation.  This usually begins to be a problem when the pup is about 4-5 months old and the hair begins to grow alot.


The water in many areas has a very high mineral content, which can lead to staining.
To avoid this possibility you may wish to give your Havanese purified water or commer-
cial bottled water.  I know people who use this method and notice a difference in as
little as a month.


Fleas can be a significant source of tear staining.  If your Havanese gets fleas, the flea
needs moisture to survive, they get the moisture needed from the tears and or eyes.
This will cause irritation as well as making the Havanese very uncomfortable.  The flea
dirt, which is the flea feces is also a red stain.  Here I can't stress enough, take your dog
to the vet and use a prevention for fleas, with the thick under coat on a havanese, fleas
and or ticks would be most uncomfortable.


By now you must be thinking, if I have a Havanese with tear staining, what is the cause. That is the way you must think to understand the process and eliminate the tearing once
and for all.

First take you Havanese to your vet and have it thoroughly checked for blocked tear
ducts, eye rims rolled back into the eay to cause eye irritation.  Als have it checked for a
ear infection, you can smell the ear the same as you would a babies ear to see if you smell anything unusual.

Tetracyline is a low dose antibiotic that your vet may recommend.  usually they place
them on this for 10 days and it will clear up a infection.

This is a great product you may get from your veterinarian for yeast infections in ears
which more often than not can be a significant source of tear staining.

This is a liquid for athletes foot fungus, it kills yeast infections and it is the cure for
yeast infections that I have used for many years.  Place 5 drops in the ear twice daily,
for 2  days, that is all it takes and wow does it work.  My doctor had used this on my stubborn ear infection many years ago.

This is a ointment that youplace in the eye, twice daily for 3-4 days.  It contains a mild antibiotic which will clear up the eye infection.  Again you must know the cause for the tearing/infection or it will come back.

Tums is a antacid that you can give to your Havanese, you give them a half of a tablet
twice daily, this changes the PH of the tears, which will orevent the tearing from staining.  There will still be tearing, but it will not cause staining.  Ude the 500mg tablets, 1/2 tablet twice daily.

A teaspoon of white cider vinegar can be placed in the Havanese water to again change
the PH level of the tears.  It will take awhile for your Havanese to get use to this in his water.  I do hope if you try this, you watch the dog for any signs of dehydration.

This is my favorite, a small amount of cornstarch placed in the corner of the eye will
catch the tears so they do not run down the face.   I do this when we are cutting teeth
every morning and every afternoon, what happens is the tears pool on the cornstarch
and quit running, which in turns dries the face and makes it so the yeast
has no place to thrive.  You must to this religiously for it to work.

This is a great product to get rid of stains if you do have them and are trying to save
the coat.  I have used many other products such as 8 in 1 tear stain remover with no success.  Diamond eye will work if you clean the hair
that is stained everyday, this  changes the PH of the tears and stains, it will take awhile
but will work.

Through my researching tear stains and removers I have found that optic solution,
which is used in humans as well as dogs.  It is a liquid that is to be harmless to the
eye, usually you place a drop or two in the eye twice daily.  The optic solutions contain
BORIC ACID, that really puzzled me, since boric acid is a roach and ant killer, yes a insecticide.  For insects it is dusted on the floor, the bugs walk thru the powder, lick the bottom of their feet and die.   From my understanding it is safe to place this in our eyes, when I asked a professional about this, his comment was but it is not enough to be toxic, kind of like Tylenol is not toxic unless you take to much.  Some people place this boric acid in the corner of their dogs eyes, since it is a powder and catches the tear and does not and
will not stain. My thought on this, if little ToTo was feeling afectionate and licked her
mates face, then there would be only one, since it does kill by causing sever abdominal problems.

I do hope you have found this intersting and well as useful,
written by Marlene K. Nolting
home of    Happy Trails Havanese
this article may not be reproduced in any form.
copyright 2001mkn                                              back to homepage