Getting Rid of Tear Stains around Shih Tzu Tear Eyes and Mouth

If you own a Shih Tzu, you probably have one recurring problem that is annoying both you and your pup: tear stains. It’s not your fault, Shih Tzu s are genetically more susceptible to tear stain formation. Every once in a while, you’ll find some dark, reddish-brown discoloration around your pup’s eyes. This happens to lots of dogs but since Shih Tzus have a lighter coat that most, tear stains are more obvious.  

There are tons of things that can cause tear stains. Luckily, there are also a ton of things you can do to get rid of them.  Tear stains in Shih Tzus are usually manifested around the eyes and mouth and can be quite unsightly. As a Shih Tzu owner, your goal should be to eliminate tear stains and then make sure they never come back. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.  

Using Hydrogen Peroxide as a Cleaning Agent

One of the first quick remedies you can use is a hydrogen peroxide solution. Just make sure you get the proportions right. You need 1 part hydrogen peroxide diluted with 10 parts water. Mix those together in a cup and then soak up some of the solution using a cotton swab. Use it to wipe away you Shih Tzu’s tear stains once a day until the stains completely fade away.  

Use White Cider Vinegar for a Clean Coat

Another thing you can do is add white cider vinegar to your pup’s drinking water. Just one teaspoon is enough. The secret behind vinegar’s anti-tear stain effect lies in its pH-altering abilities. White cider vinegar can modify the pH level of your pup’s tears. The new pH level makes it difficult for bacteria and other microorganisms to live in the fur around your pup’s eyes. No bacteria mean no infections and no infections mean you can forget about tear stains.  

There is, however, a catch. The thing about white cider vinegar is that it tastes, well, pretty bad. Your Shih Tzu might not be able to handle the taste, at first. If you notice your pup isn’t drinking as much water as it used to, chances are it’s the vinegar that’s repelling it. If this happens, here’s what you should do. Start slowly. Add just a small amount of vinegar to your Shih Tzu’s water at first, less than half a teaspoon. It’ll be barely noticeable. After that, work your way up gradually until you reach a full teaspoon.  

Regularly Groom your Shih Tzu

This solution may seem out of place but sometimes the simplest answer is the most correct. The cause of your Shih Tzu’s tear stains might just be too much fur around the eyes. If your pup has hair poking out around the eyes, it can be quite irritating. This can cause its eyes to respond by producing an excessive number of tears which in turn, leads to tear stains. Take your Shih Tzu to a professional every once in a while, and have all that extra hair trimmed. It might just solve your tear stain problem.   

Mineral Oil to Prevent Tear Stain Formation

Mineral oil is great for preventing tear stains. All you need is a small amount of oil on a cotton pad. Apply it around your Shih Tzu’s eyes once daily and it’ll keep tear stains away. The idea is that mineral oils and water don’t mix. When tears form, instead of being absorbed into your pup’s fur and causing tear stains, they’ll find an impenetrable barrier of oil. They’ll just roll down your pup’s face leaving it squeaky clean.  

Tear Stain Wipes 

This is one of the the simplest, most obvious solutions, but it’s pretty effective. Always have a pack of wipes on you if your Shih Tzu is liable to tear stain formation. If you start to notice even the slightest discoloration, wipe away those tear stains right away. Don’t wait for the problem to worsen, always stay on top of it.  

Change your Shih Tzu’s Drinking Water 

Now, here’s a less obvious solution: change your pup’s drinking water. The type of water your Shih Tzu is consuming could be the reason it has tear stains. If you’re used to giving it tap water, then you could expect some discoloration along with several health issues.  

Tap water contains a huge amount of minerals that can be quite harmful to your pup’s health. These minerals are also the chief reason your Shih Tzu gets tear stains so often. You see, when your pup drinks tap water, the minerals accumulate in body fluids, such as tears. Once tears start collecting around the eye area, these minerals begin to oxidize and cause discoloration. The more tap water your pup drinks, the more tear stains it develops. 

The best kind of water you can give your Shih Tzu is purified or filtered water. All you need is a small filter attached to your sink or water pitcher. It’ll go a long way in treating your Shih Tzu’s tear stain problem.  

Your Shih Tzu’s Diet 

Your Shih Tzu’s diet is very important when it comes to preventing tear stains. You want to avoid high-grain foods that are full of chemicals and additives. Instead, opt for nutritious, high-quality products that are specially made for pups. The best foods are soy, grain, and chemical-free.  

Look for the likely Causes of Tear Stains in your Shih Tzu

Once you’ve eliminated your Shih Tzu’s tear stains, you need to make sure they never come back. The best way is to find out exactly what triggers these tear stains in your pup in the first place. While there are several causes of tear stains in pups, here’s a summary of the main things you should look for: 

  • Reactions to certain drugs, supplements, or medications 
  • Allergies 
  • Impure drinking water 
  • Eye or ear infections 
  • Anything that causes eye irritation, even smoke 
  • Diet 
  • Food and water bowl materials 
  • Physiological problems with their tear ducts 
  • Teething (if your pup’s a few months old) 


While tear stains aren’t much of a health issue, they’re probably bothering you and your pup. Shih Tzus are naturally beautiful and you’ll want to deal with anything that affects your pup’s appearance. Use these home remedies to get rid of those unsightly tear stains. Once they’re gone, it’s up to you to keep that beautiful coat shiny and clean!  

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