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Safe and Easy Ways to Remove Tear Stains on Your Yorkie

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Let’s face it. No matter how much you care for your Yorkie, they always have those nasty brown tear stains, that are almost impossible to remove. 

I understand. This has been a common problem in our household, too. So, I came up with this easy guide to help fellow dog lovers like myself remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier. 

What are dog tear stains?

The most common root cause of dog tear stains is excessive or overflow of tears, known as epiphora. 

Epiphora is the inability to properly drain tears. There are many factors that cause epiphora in dogs. But Yorkies are usually prone to it. 

Dog tear stains appear when there’s a buildup of porphyrin around the eyes

Porphyrin is a pigment found in tears that results in brown or rust-colored dog tear stains. This is extremely noticeable if your dog has a white fur coat. 

But then again, if your Yorkie is experiencing excessive dog tear stains, consult your veterinarian immediately. 

Do tear stains on dogs go away?

Permanently, no. But tear stains can be managed. 

As responsible dog owners, we have to be meticulous in terms of our dog’s hygiene. Always wipe their face with a damp cloth to remove foreign objects that can irritate the eyes, wipe excess tears, and maintain regular appointments with a dog groomer

Why do Yorkies tear so much?

Yorkie being groomed

Although it’s perfectly normal for Yorkshire Terrier to have watery eyes, some are external factors that may lead to serious eye problems. Some of these are:

  1. Age – Adult and elderly Yorkies are more likely to tear so much compared to puppies. 
  2. Poor diet – Artificial colors, carbohydrate filters, and chemical flavor additives found in some dog food can worsen tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier. 
  3. Long hair or ingrown lashes – This can be prevented with regular visits to the pet groomer. You can also help by pulling the hair up in a ponytail on top of their head.
  4. Foreign object – If your Yorkie is rubbing his face on the ground, or constantly rubbing his eye, there’s probably a speck of dust or sand that causes irritation, which leads to watery eyes.
  5. Other illnesses – glaucoma, cataract, allergies, and cherry eye.
  6. Allergies -This is probably the most common reason for tear stains. Seasonal allergies and even food allergies can cause watery eyes.

How to prevent tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

Although tear stains are perfectly normal to adult Yorkies, there are factors that can elevate stubborn tear stains. Therefore, you need to consider the following to avoid making matters worse.  

  1. Food – Give your Yorkie a well-balanced diet.  My Chihuahua had horrible eye stains when I first got her. I changed her diet to a high-quality food and it helped quite a bit, probably by about 60%. Then I changed all my dogs’ diets to a homemade diet I developed with my vet’s approval. I did it to help my Yorkie Ziggy with his severe skin allergies but a great side effect of it was it took away My Chihuahua’s eye stains completely.
  2. Use pure filtered water as drinking water – Hard water has chlorine, minerals, and other toxins that may cause horrible tear stains to your Yorkshire Terrier. Therefore, switching to safe drinking water is best for your pet.
  3. Maintain healthy face hygiene – A damp face towel removes dirt and food residue from our pet’s faces. Use it every day to keep your Yorkie’s face clean and free from odor. 
  4. Avoid eye irritation by trimming the hair around the eyes – A pair of blunt-nosed scissors work perfectly in trimming the hair around the eyes. But if your Yorkie won’t sit still, or you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, seek help from a professional pet groomer to do it for you.
  5. Ph balance – Adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your Yorkshire Terrier’s drinking water every day, alters the Ph balance of your dog that can help alleviate dog tear stains. Be careful not to use too much though, and don’t do this if your Yorkie has existing medical conditions like bladder stones or ulcers.

Safe and easy ways to remove tear stains in your Yorkie

  1. Dog Wipes  

How to use dog wipes to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier:

If you’re always on the go, or you want a speedy solution to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier, dog wipes are one of the best options out there. This one from Earth-Rated is hypoallergenic, compostable, and alcohol-free. This dog wipe also has shea butter, chamomile, and aloe that will keep your Yorkshire Terrier smelling fresh and clean.  

There is also a wipe we love that is specifically used for the eye area called Squishface (cute name). The reason why these are a good option is that they have anti-itch properties in them, plus they are soothing and deoderizing.

  1. Dog Eyewash Solution  

How to use dog eyewash solution to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • Pour a small amount of dog eyewash solution into a cotton ball
  • Rub it gently underneath and around the eye area. 
  • An eyewash pad works like a charm, too. 
  1. Cornstarch  

How to use cornstarch to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, vinegar, and hot water to form a paste. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool.
  • Apply the paste directly to the tear stains in your Yorkie and let it sit for about an hour
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe it off
  • Repeat every two weeks or as needed 
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

How to use apple cider vinegar to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • Use a cotton ball and dip it into the apple cider vinegar 
  • Squeeze the excess vinegar, and make sure it’s not dripping. The cotton ball should only be damp 
  • Gently apply the apple cider vinegar in the eye area with the tear stains
  • Be careful not to allow the apple cider vinegar to go straight to the eyes 
  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

How to use hydrogen peroxide to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • Dilute one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts water. 
  • Dab the mixture to the affected area using a cotton ball or sponge
  • Repeat as needed 
  • DO NOT put the mixture directly to the eye
  1. Chamomile

How to use Chamomile to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • Prepare your usual cup of chamomile tea. No sugar. No milk.
  • Allow it to cool completely.
  • Dab the chamomile tea to the tear stains using a cotton ball or sponge
  • Rinse with clean water, or wipe with a damp face towel 
  1. Mild baby shampoo

How to use mild baby shampoo to remove tear stains in your Yorkshire Terrier

  • Dampen your face towel with warm water and a mild, tear-free baby shampoo
  • Gently wipe around the eye and snout area, avoiding direct contact with the eyes 
  • Repeat as needed


There you have it. I hope you find this guide helpful. Combating those nasty tear stains is not easy. But constant attention, love, and care, we will be able to provide a clean and healthy lifestyle for our Yorkie.  

And, here’s a bonus tip. Use coconut oil to moisturize the skin around the eye area, in case the tear stains are making the skin inflamed or irritated. 

Lastly, always consult your veterinarian. Excessive tears may be a symptom of a much more serious illness. Having a doctor take a look at your Yorkie will help examine and treat the root cause of your dog’s excessive tears and give you peace of mind.

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing
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John Carston

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

I like how you mentioned that cleaning your dog's face is important to prevent stains. My cousin mentioned to me last night that he is hoping to find tear stain remover wipes for his dog and asked me if I have any idea what is the best option to do to find one. Thanks to this informative article and I'll be sure to tell him that he can consult a trusted dog tear stain remover wipes shop as they can answer all his inquiries.