Tear stains can be common in light-colored dogs and cats, especially in certain toy dog breeds and Persian cats. They are caused by an overflow of tears onto the fur, and are dark due to a reaction that occurs between the tears and normal bacteria on the skin and coat.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine recently issued warning letters to manufacturers of several tear stain removal products, including ones meant to be added to your pet’s food. These are unapproved animal drugs that have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness.
The tear stain removers contain an antibiotic called tylosin tartrate, which is not approved for use in dogs and cats, or for treatment of conditions associated with tear stains.
Your veterinarian can rule out any eye infections or diseases that may be causing the stains. For normal tear stains, cleaning the area and trimming the fur near the eyes may be enough to solve the problem. Check with your vet if you are thinking about using tear stain removal products.
Click HERE for the FDA’s official notice, and to see a list of the brand names of the tear stain removers mentioned by the FDA.