Maltese breeders of Maltese puppies & Champion Maltese Dogs
Eye Stain Prevention & Causes

In our opinion Eye Stain can be caused by heredity, health or environment. While a small amount of stain due to the moisture from the eyes can be considered normal a Maltese should not have an orange face! If your Veterinarian will not work with you to find the cause of a staining problem then find another Vet!

Teething: is the likeliest cause of heavy staining in puppies. If ALL of their permanent teeth are in (back molars and pre-molars included) and the baby teeth have been removed the tear staining should start to taper off now (approximate age 8 months). If you're still having a lot of staining, it's time to think of other things. Dirty or decaying teeth in older dogs can also be the source of stain be sure to have your dogs teeth cleaned at least once a year.

Hair: The most common but not often recognized culprit, in my opinion, is little wisps of hair in the eye. Do check daily to sure there is no stray "fuzz", especially up under the eyelid. Redo the topknot morning and evening, and use gel to keep the stray hairs of the forehead and muzzle slicked down away from the eyes.

Eye Irritation: from pollution, dust, dirt, pollen, etc (the same things that irritate our eyes) can irritate a Maltese's eyes. Some people use an antibiotic eye drop in the eyes at bedtime to kill bacteria and wash away irritants. Choryllium or Bausch & Laumb Eyewash is great for this, as it has Boric Acid in it that kills the bacteria that can promote staining. I put this is a small spray bottle and "mist" it in the eyes and on the hair under the eyes.

Clean the Eye Area: at least twice a day (maybe you already are?) with an eyewash and pack with corn starch after cleaning to keep the area dry. Many people have recently had a lot of success with the new product "Eye Envy" this is available online at or from Cherrybrook. Eye Envy makes use of the regiment of clean first and then keep it dry with a powder like corn starch. (Do Not Put Talc Powder on your dogs face!)

Clipping the Hair: around the eyes can exacerbate the problem, in my opinion, because when the shaved hair grows back in, in grows in the direction of the eye and causes MORE tearing. If you have clipped hair around the eyes now let it grow out and retrain the hair to grow where it belongs using a styling gel to slick it down and keep it out of the eyes.

Food Dyes, Water Minerals, etc.: have all been blamed for increasing tear staining. You can eliminate these possibilities by using bottled water or filtered water. Use foods that have been proven not to contain dyes or contribute to staining. The foods we recommended are Pro Plan Small Breed or Eukanuba are both good "safe" foods that do not promote staining in our opinion.

Have Your Vet Check Tear Duct Function: it's a simple eye drop test: if the tear ducts are blocked, tears overflow all over the face and cause a lot of staining. It's a simple procedure to clean out the tear ducts and get them working again, my vet just did this today for a client's 8 month old boy with a lot of staining, and his face is cleaner and dryer already! I personally have had this done to one of my Maltese with good results.

Bacteria: A low grade eye infection can cause tearing. Your Veterinarian can prescribe a oral antibiotic such as Lincocin, Tetracycline ( after teething) or Tylan. Eye Drops such as Gentocin or Neo Poly Dex can also be very helpful.

Ears: Ear Mites or an Ear Infection can also cause eye stain. Cleaning the ears after every bath with a ear cleaner/drying solution is very important. Any dark discoloration in the ears can be a sign of infection, yeast or mites. Please consult your Veterinarian.

Allergies: are the least likely cause of tear staining, especially in a very young puppy, but if you want to do a food trail to see if it helps, you might put him on a bland diet with hypoallergenic protein sources. You should always eliminate any health concern as the cause of tearing, such as teeth, bacterial infection, or food allergies, but food allergy is the least common cause of tear staining.

All these things are preventatives, and it's always easier to prevent staining than to get rid of staining.

We do not recommend "bleaching" as it is very dangerous and can cause serious damage to the eyes!