Best dog food for tear stains contains easy-to-digest human-grade ingredients along with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Many dog breeds with watery eyes such as Yorkshire terriers, poodles, etc. are prone to tear stains.
They have sensitive skin and coat and are prone to food allergies which can cause paw-licking, tear stains and other skin issues.
Tear stains can also occur due slimy pet food and water bowls.
While tear staining is not a dangerous or harmful condition, it does look quite nasty especially on dogs with light colored fur.
In this guide, we will discuss everything there is to know about dog tear stains.
We have also reviewed some amazing high-quality foods which can fight inflammation and allergies to reduce tear stains significantly.
Just in case you are in a hurry, click on our short summary below to view our Top 5 reviewed products for the best dog food for tear stains:
- Forza10 Sensitive Tear Stain Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- JustFoodForDogs Human-Grade Pantry-Fresh Dog Food
- CANIDAE Premium Grain-Free Dog Food
- Nulo Adult & Puppy Grain-Free Canned Food
- Hill's Prescription Veterinary Diet for Dogs with Skin Sensitivities
Best Dog Food for Tear Stains – 2021 Top 5 Picks
1. Our Editor’s Pick: Forza10 Sensitive Tear Stain Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Three reasons make Forza10 an excellent dog food for tear stain elimination and prevention:
One: It is free from grains and has limited ingredients.
Limited ingredient diets can reduce allergens that cause poor fur conditions like tear staining in certain breeds.
Two: Forza10 is rich in anchovies which provide plenty of healthy omegas – both omega 3 and 6.
These nourish the coat and prevent skin allergies that are responsible for tear stains.
Three: Forza10 dry dog food benefits eye health in pets.
It reduces inflammation that causes excess discharge from the eyes and also supports healthy immune function and eye tissue lubrication.
Ingredients like turmeric and papaya in this great food support immunity and reduce inflammation.
Forza10 dog food for tear stains and dog eye health is formulated with the help of vets and based on scientific research as well.
What we like about it
- Best dog food for tear stains supported by vets and scientific studies
- Contains herbs for immunity building
- Optimal balance of omega 3 and 6 for healthy fur
- Non GMO. No wheat, soy, corn, fillers, by-products, artificial flavors, etc.
What we don’t like about it
- High price-tag which is expected from high-quality food.
- DOG FOOD FOR TEAR STAIN REMOVAL - this dry dog food will help eliminate and prevent tear stains on your furry friends. It will help free your pet from unsightly tear stains, keeping the eyes and face clean and beautiful.
- GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD FOR ADULT DOGS - the formula is grain free and is made primarily with wild-caught anchovy meal, among other natural ingredients, making it rich with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- IMPROVES EYE HEALTH - this dry dog food is made to improve and supplement ocular health and reduce excessive tearing in your dog's eyes.
- NUTRIENT RICH - this food is packed with nutrients, including crude proteins, fiber, and fats. With this well-rounded dry food formula, dog owners can rest easy knowing their canine companions are getting the very best in nutrition.
- VETERINARIAN APPROVED - developed as a part of a healthy diet in order to support the immune system and lubrication to help with tear stains.
JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh dog food uses human-grade ingredients which means that there are no fillers, feed-ingredients, preservatives, or GMO-ingredients etc.
All these can cause inflammation and dog tear stains.
There are human-edible ingredients in this great dog food including beef, potatoes, beans, carrots, etc.
Every single ingredient is fit for human consumption.
JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh dog food is grain and gluten-free, vet-recommended, and EXCEEDS AAFCO’s pet nutrient profile standards.
Each Tetra-Pak® packet of this fantastic high-quality dog food consists of complete, balanced, ready-to-eat meals that are devoid of preservatives and come with a shelf-life of 2 years.
Just 2 weeks on this food and your pet will have smaller firmer stools, more vitality, greater energy, optimum weight, shinier coats, and no allergic reactions.
What we like about it
- Human-grade dog food – every ingredient is fit for human consumption.
- Grain and gluten-free
- Zero preservatives
- Great to take on travels
- Exceeds AAFCO standards
What we don’t like
- Contains potatoes which make some dogs gassy or cause diarrhea.
- Package is difficult to open and wastes a lot of food.
- REAL FOOD FOR DOGS - Human-edible Ground Beef and Beef Heart, Russet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Carrots, Peas, Apples, Green Beans, Cod Liver Oil, & JFFD's vet-developed Nutrient Blend.
- GRAIN FREE, WHOLE-FOOD INGREDIENTS – This is not dog food. It is food. For dogs. And every single ingredient is fit for human consumption to ensure the highest quality, whole fresh food for dogs to help them look and feel their best.
- ZERO PRESERVATIVES – And ZERO rendered meats, ZERO artificial coloring, and ZERO scary acronyms like BHA, BHT, or LFBT.
- READY-TO-SERVE NUTRITION - Every recipe is formulated by our team of veterinarians and canine specialists, and then gently cooked to maximize nutritional value and promote a healthy immune system
- #1 VET RECOMMENDED FRESH FOOD BRAND – "I’m extremely happy with the JustFoodForDogs line of daily and prescription recipes. Their products have been great for my patients and contribute to excellent outcomes." - Dr. Mickila Collins, DVM, DACVIM Internal Medicine
CANIDAE premium, limited-ingredient dog food consists of real food ingredients without fillers, byproducts, preservatives, etc.
The first ingredient in it is protein-rich wild boar sourced from trusted sources.
It also contains protein-rich garbanzo beans, fiber-rich sweet potatoes, as well as peas and alfalfa.
Canola oil in CANIDAE dog food nourishes your pet’s fur while omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids support healthy coat to prevent tear stains.
There are healthy probiotics in this food which boost your pet’s digestive system and antioxidants for healthy immunity.
These nutrients can play a great role in preventing tear stains.
What we like about it
- Contains less than 10 ingredients.
- Has clean protein
- Contains probiotics
- Omegas support beautiful skin and coat
- Grain and gluten-free for sensitive pets
- Antioxidants for immune system.
What we don’t like
- Kibble size changes and inconsistent quality reported.
- Limited ingredient dog food filled with ingredients you recognize
- 10 Key ingredients or less
- Packed with the goodness of premium, clean proteins
- #1 Ingredient real meat, poultry or fish
- Beautiful skin & coat supported by Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids
Nulo grain-free canned food states that their food cold reduce canine food allergies and sensitivities.
The brand does not use any grains, starch, tapioca, white potatoes, carrageenan, artificial flavors, preservatives, etc. in this balanced food that is suitable for all life-stages.
There is beneficial mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in this food that support healthy immune system while salmon oil provides balanced omegas for healthy coat and skin.
What we like about it
- All-natural food without allergens (corn/soy/wheat/gluten), the brand recommends this series of food for sensitive dogs
- Contains vitamins and minerals for immune support
- Low carb, high protein
- Fish oil for healthy skin and coat
- Made in the USA
What we don’t like
- Caused diarrhea in a small percentage of dogs.
- 12-PACK of 13 oz cans. All natural without the use of corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; carrageenan; artificial flavorings or preservatives
- HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary recipe that is GRAIN FREE and contains more protein/animals fats. Supports healthy skin, shinier coat and more energy.
- GREATER NUTRITIONAL INGREDIENTS have a beneficial mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a healthy immune system and keeps your dog energized.Calorie content:1,097 kcal/kg
- PROMOTES WEIGHT MANAGEMENT through reduced carbohydrate intake. Helps your dog remain fit and happy.
- MAY REDUCE canine food allergies or sensitivities. Based in Austin, TX and proudly made in the USA
Hill’s Prescription Diet Dry Dog Food is formulated by vets and especially recommended for dogs with skin issues like tear stains, red itchy paws, flaking or dandruff, licking/biting/chewing of the skin, etc.
This food contains hydrolyzed protein which is a lot easier to digest for sensitive dogs.
Many pet parents saw a dramatic improvement in their pet’s skin and coat in just 30 days of switching to this food.
Hill’s dry dog food for skin sensitivities consists of Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant necessary for healthy skin.
It also contains essential fatty acids that promote a healthy skin barrier.
This fiber-rich food enhances digestion while the absence of gluten, soy, wheat, colors, preservatives, and fillers is beneficial for sensitive pets.
No wonder this food is clinically proven to normalize stools in hundreds of dogs as well.
Your pet will definitely benefit from the food’s antioxidants which give a boost to its immune system.
What we like about it
- Hydrolyzed protein is beneficial for dogs with skin allergies/sensitivities, tear stains, etc.
- Omegas and vitamin E support healthy skin and fur
- Fiber gives normalized stools
- Supports sensitive digestion
- Boosts immune function
What we don’t like
- Needs vet’s prescription
- Expensive like most high-quality dog foods.
- Hill's Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food is specially formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog’s skin and food sensitivities
- Clinically tested to help avoid skin and digestive signs of adverse food reactions
- Highly hydrolyzed animal protein and single purified carbohydrate source help avoid common food allergens
- Enriched with essential fatty acids and promotes a healthy skin barrier
- Clinically proven antioxidants help support a healthy immune system
What Features To Look for in the Best Dog Food for Tear Stains
The best dog food for tear stains ideally has the following features:
1. Limited but high quality ingredients
Tear stains are almost always a result of some kind of food allergy which causes an inflammatory response in your pet.
Limited ingredient diets are better for dogs prone to tear stains as they minimize such allergy response, prevent excess eye discharge and reduce subsequent tear staining.
Look for foods with premium ingredients or even human-grade ingredients.
Ideally, the food should not contain more than 10 ingredients. (All foods selected above meet this requirement).
Every ingredient in the food should have a purpose – there should be no fillers.
Fillers like corn and soy are often harder to digest and could cause skin sensitivities in dogs.
Avoid foods with GMO, gluten, dyes/colors, tapioca, carrageenan, etc. as these are common allergens.
Look for foods with protein that your dog can easily digest.
Many dogs are allergic to chicken and poultry. In such cases, rabbit, wild boar, anchovies, salmon/seafood are good choices.
2. Antioxidants for immune support
Choose a food that will boost your pet’s immunity.
Often, poor immunity is a cause of skin issues like tear stains, paw licking, scratching, dandruff, etc.
High-quality dog foods with vitamins and minerals support healthy immune function.
They also support healthy eyes thanks to the presence of vitamins, taurine, and lutein.
Such foods can also contain herbs like turmeric for preventing inflammation and boosting natural immunity in your pet.
3. Essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
The best dog food for tear stains should also contain healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids in a balanced ratio.
This is important for a healthy skin barrier to prevent tear stains.
Omega fatty acids nourish the skin from the inside to prevent skin dryness, tear stains, paw-licking, flaking, dandruff, hot spots, etc.
What are the Causes of Tear Stains in Dogs?
One of the most common causes of tear stains in dogs is food and environmental allergies.
Fillers, GMO-ingredients, fillers, by-products, corn, wheat, gluten, soy, grains, and certain proteins are common allergens in dogs.
Environmental allergens like dust, pollen, etc. can also cause watery eyes and tear stains in sensitive dogs with lower immunity.
B. Slimy food and water bowls
The biofilm or slime in food and water bowls can also cause tear stains.
Slime is nothing but bacteria that mixes with your dog’s drool and saliva.
These pathogens build up over time and could cause tear stains in dogs with poor immune function.
You must make it a point to wash pet water fountains, food bowls, and water bowls regularly.
Avoid plastic bowls as they tend to have miniscule cracks that form breeding grounds for pathogens.
Always use stainless steel bowls and clean and wash the bowls every day after use.
C. Certain minerals in drinking water
Your city/municipal tap water can also contribute to your pet’s tear stains.
Certain minerals can cause iron buildup in your pet’s blood.
This iron buildup could cause watery eyes and inflammation which leads to eye discharge.
The discharge can cause reddish-brown stains in the corners of your dog’s eyes. In pets with light-colored fur, these stains become very prominent.
Changing to spring water or bottled mineral water can help.
Many pet owners of Morkies, Yorkshire terriers, poodles etc. are known to only feed bottled water to their tear-stain-prone breeds.
Also Read: How to Prevent Slime in Pet Water Fountain
D. Blocked tear ducts and eye irritation
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to blocked tear ducts. These include poodles, cavapoos, Yorkshire terriers, cairn terriers, etc.
Tear ducts can also get blocked due to eye infections like conjunctivitis, allergies, or other underlying health issues.
Your pet’s eyes could also water incessantly due to the presence of irritants like eyelashes, facial fur, dust, pollen, grass, and other environmental allergens.
Sometimes, a course of antibiotics or antihistamines can clear these ducts to reduce eye irritation and eye discharge.
It is best to consult your vet to rule out these issues.
E. Yeast infections
Excess yeast in your dog’s body can also lead to tear staining in your dog.
Yeast infections are typically caused by low-quality, carb-rich diets.
Switching to the best dog food for tear stains with non GMO, human-grade ingredients can reduce Candida or yeast in your pet’s body.
Over time, you will notice less paw licking, reduced tear stains, and healthier and shinier coat in your pet.
What Else Can You Do To Prevent and Eliminate Dog Tear Stains?
Apart from switching to a premium, high-quality, and limited ingredient dog food, you can take the following steps for reducing and even completely eliminating your pet’s tear stains:
1. Switch to spring/bottled water
Feed your pet filtered or bottled water. This will minimize the hard minerals that lead to iron buildup in your pet’s blood.
2. Clean food/water bowls daily
Wash your dog’s food and water bowls with hot water and vinegar.
This will eliminate the slime or biofilm that causes a buildup of pathogens responsible for tear staining in your pet.
3. Groom your pet regularly
In certain hairy breeds, facial fur or eyelashes can irritate your pet’s eyes causing eye discharge and tear staining.
Groom your pet and trim the hair around its eyes. You can also tie a top-knot to prevent your pet’s hair from entering its eyes.
4. Use tear stain eliminating products
We recommend feeding a tear stain chew supplement which contains cranberry, Oregon grape root powder, and marshmallow powder.
These herbs are known to reduce tear stains by boosting your pet’s immunity to infections and allergens.
The best dog food for tear stains contains high-quality though limited ingredients. It is free from allergens like corn, soy, GMO, wheat, gluten, etc.
The food should ideally contain healthy essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as antioxidants for immunity support.
We recommend Forza10 Sensitive Tear Stain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Formulated to Reduce Tear Stains which contains many herbs for immunity, is gentle and easy to digest, and good for your dog’s skin and coat.
Do check out our other recommendations as well.