Back to home
in Health

How to treat tear stains

  • July 29, 2018
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
How to treat tear stains

Do you have a dog with red rusty tear stains?  One of my Boston Terriers Orbit is two and a half years old and has had horrible red rusty tear stains since she was about 10 months old.  She also has a history of yeast which I’m glad to say we’ve put behind us now.

But she still had tear stains.  They weren’t as bad as when she had yeast outbreaks but it was there.

So I set out to understand more about what was causing it.

How to treat tear stainsWhat Causes Tear Stains?

Tear stains are usually caused by dye molecules called porphyrins.  Porphyrins are emitted primarily over bile and the intestinal tract, however in dogs a substantial amount of porphyrin is excreted over tears, saliva and as well as urine.  Saliva and tears both contain ingredients called porphyrins, which pigment light fur pink, red or brown.  The real reason for stains is the porphyrin in the saliva and tears.

Porphyrin is not serious and staining barring yeast problems, is more of a cosmetic problem and causes no damage to your dog.

The tear stains might also be caused by yeast.  If it is – you can use a spray that you can purchase from Amazon.  To read more about that spray read my previous post HERE.

Heal the Gut

My two dogs have had various allergy and yeast issues.  Under the guidance of our vets (we have several) we’re happy to report that after a year and a half both of our dogs are yeast and allergy free.

Their diet has a lot of variety.  I feed them balanced home cooked meals.  On occasion while traveling or if I’ve run out of food they get kibble.  And lately we added to their menu a pre-made raw food.

I do not feed any processed treats.  All of their treats are from Real Dog Box (single ingredient natural treats).

I still avoid chicken in all it’s forms.

And I try to feed on rotation five different proteins through out the month.

In Clover Fresh digest daily digestive enzyme

One constant through out their different meals has been to add digestive enzymes to their food.  I had previously been using a product from Nature’s Farmacy under the recommendation of Orbit’s Breeder who had been using the same product for years … until five months ago.

Orbit’s breeder has 7 bostons of her own.  Her dogs eat a species appropriate raw diet.

She switched her enzyme to Fresh Digest and noticed a positive effect on those of her dogs with tear stains.

Basically all their tear stains were gone.

She shared this product with me only recently because she wanted to give it time before she recommended it’s effectiveness.

I bought it on Amazon July 8th, 2018.  The company claims that you will notice the positive effects within 1 to 3 days.

I noticed a difference in Orbit within two days.  But I didn’t want to get too excited since I felt that was too soon.


This site does incorporate paid advertising and affiliate links.

Maggielovesorbit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

I wasn’t the only one surprised with how effective it was in minimizing new tear stain production … Orbit’s sibling who went to a different home was seeing similar positive effects.

I write this post now three weeks later after using the product to share our success story using it.

By adding this particular brand’s digestive enzyme supplement to her diet, Orbit’s tear stains are less obvious.

Orbit still has some old red stained fur under her eye but she has less of it.

What I suspect has happened is her gut has become healthier, produces less porphyrin, and therefore her tears aren’t staining her fur like they used to.

Don’t get me wrong.  She still has eye boogers.  She still has goopy eyes I’m constantly cleaning but she’s not as stained as she was prior to the time before I started supplementing with this product.

In a conversation with her breeder I learned that apparently it will take eight to ten weeks for all of her old stained fur to fall out as her new fur grows in.

I’ll be sure to update this post in a month and a half to share how her fur looks under her eyes.

In Clover Fresh Direct Digest Daily Supplement Ingredients

From their website it lists the ingredients as follows:


Plant based enzyme blend (protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase)

Being that I’m curious I looked up what each ingredient’s role was and learned:

Inulin is a prebiotic.  Inulin is not digested or absorbed in the stomach. It goes to the bowels where bacteria are able to use it to grow. It supports the growth of a special kind of bacteria that are associated with improving bowel function and general health. Inulin decreases the body’s ability to make certain kinds of fats.

Protease breaks proteins down into amino acids

Lipase breaks fat down into fatty acids and clycerol

Amylase breaks down carbohydrates into sugars

Cellulase break down cellulose molecule into simple sugars

Adding enzymes helps our dogs digest food.  They also help with immune function, reduce inflammation, remove toxins and waste from the body, regulate hormones and slow the rate of aging.

Unfortunately today, most dog food is enzyme deficient so supplementing is necessary.

Ideally you should feed enzymes whole.  You can see a list of whole food sources here.

Or you can add a plant based supplement which is what we do.


But first a disclaimer: Keep in mind I’m not a vet.  I merely share our journey in wellness for our dogs here.  Always consult with your vet and do your own research.

1.  Keep your dog’s face clean.  Wiping her face down with a wet damp cloth in the morning and night will go a long way.
2.  If your tap water happens to be high in mineral content or iron, consider giving your dog filtered or bottled water.
3.  Feed the best high quality diet that works for you and your family.  Certain diets produce more porphyrin.  And since the gut is the command post for where it’s produced, balancing their diet through the food you select and supplements you add can affect porphyrin production.

If you’re curious to learn more about tear stains from a vet’s perspective, you can visit this article from Leospetcare.

I only recommend products I’ve tried and believe in.  Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.   Alternatively you can direct message us through our Instagram.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story.  If you found it helpful consider sharing it with another pet parent on your social media or your Pinterest Boards.

By MaggieLovesOrbit, July 29, 2018
  • 12
  • Michelle & Watson
    July 30, 2018

    Such great tips! I’m going to have to try those Real Dog Box treats. Getting over tear stains is tough but so worth it!

    Woof Xo,
    Michelle & Watson

    • MaggieLovesOrbit
      August 2, 2018

      They are seriously our favorite treat company! Let me know what you think.

    • MaggieLovesOrbit
      August 2, 2018

      By the way Michelle – I went to your blog and tried to comment on your Palm Springs one but either I’m blind (I do have sight problems without my glasses) or I totally can’t see the comment box.

  • Candy
    August 2, 2018

    Wow! Orbit’s diet sounds better than mine. Which proteins do you switch up?

    • MaggieLovesOrbit
      August 2, 2018

      She’s on pork, fish (sardines, smelt, mussels, salmon, and other oily fish like mackerel), lamb, and beef. I used to cook for them now I give them Instinct Pre Made Raw from petco

  • Megan Rose
    August 2, 2018

    Def going to have to tell some of my friends about these tips!!

  • Janet
    August 2, 2018

    Great tips for eye stains. My folks Bishon has a little trouble with this. I’ll pass this info along.

    • MaggieLovesOrbit
      August 2, 2018

      Fantastic let me know if it helps her! So far we know 9 Bostons from different homes all using this.

  • Heidi
    March 28, 2019

    Heard about you by way of Chevy! I am definitely going to try your tear stain recommendations! Can’t wait. Instagram: Winstonprince_bostonterrier

  • Jean Beaulieu
    December 5, 2019

    I have a 9week old Boston boy who has tear stains. Can this product be used that young? I have 2 other Boston’s who i feed raw diet too but have the puppy on a raw coated kibble for now.

    • Maggie Loves Orbit
      January 20, 2020

      Hello – yes you can use it on a young boston terrier. Orbit’s breeder has 7 raw fed bostons and when she switched to this product …. her boston’s tear stains went away and she tested it for 6 months before she shared it with the Boston Community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About us
Hi, we're Maggie and Orbit
We envision reaching every Boston Terrier parent before they get their first puppy or dog and be their go to resource as their raise their dogs.We’re on a mission to equip pet parents the information they need to better raise Boston Terriers.
maggielovesorbit amazon
We love the beach!
We love the beach!
Instagram API currently not available.