Why do English Bulldogs Struggle With Tear Stains?

English Bulldogs and Tear Stains

English Bulldogs are a friendly and loyal breed of dog with distinct facial features, including a broad head and short snout. Unfortunately, due to their unique facial structure, English Bulldogs are prone to tear staining, which is the dark staining of fur around the eyes from bacteria and other substances in tears.

Tear staining can vary from minor discoloration to intense staining, depending on the severity of the condition. While tear staining is typically not a serious health issue, it can cause discomfort and embarrassment for some English Bulldog owners. It is important to understand the causes of tear staining, as well as the treatment options available, in order to keep your English Bulldog’s eyes healthy and free from tear stains.

Causes of Tear Staining in English Bulldogs

Tear staining in English Bulldogs is a common problem that can be caused by both biological and environmental factors. Many owners of these breeds are familiar with the reddish-brown discoloration that can appear around their eyes due to tear staining.

Biological causes of tear staining include facial conformation, allergies, and eye infections. Many English Bulldogs have naturally short snouts, which can cause their tears to spill over from their eyes more easily, leading to staining. Allergies to food or environmental irritants can also cause excessive tearing. Lastly, eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, can result in increased tearing and associated staining.

Environmental causes of tear staining also enter into play. Poor grooming habits, such as not regularly cleaning your dog’s face and not providing enough exposure to natural sunlight, can create the right conditions for tear stains. Additionally, living in humid environments and poor diet or dietary supplement can also increase tear staining.

Prevalence of Tear Staining in English Bulldogs

Tear staining is a common problem in English Bulldogs. Studies have indicated that anywhere from 20-40% of English Bulldogs have some degree of tear staining. A 2018 study published in the journal Veterinary Ophthalmology found that tear staining was present in 32.7% of English Bulldogs examined. Another study conducted in 2013 observed tear staining in 40% of the dogs who participated.

Breed characteristics play an important role in tear staining prevalence. Brachycephalic breeds, like English Bulldogs, are prone to developing eye conditions due to their short muzzles and shallow orbits. This predisposes them to conditions like dry eye, allergies, and tear duct obstruction, all of which can result in tear staining.

Health Implications of Tear Staining

Tear staining in English Bulldogs can have serious health implications if left untreated. The accumulation of dirt, debris and bacteria can cause eye infections and vision problems. Dogs that are prone to tear staining have a greater risk of developing eye ulcers, keratitis and conjunctivitis, which can cause significant discomfort and pain.

Research has also suggested that tear staining may be associated with other serious health issues, such as allergies, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and liver issues. Therefore, it is important for pet owners to regularly monitor their dog’s tear staining and seek veterinary care if they notice any changes or unusual symptoms.

Treatment Options for Tear Staining

Tear staining in English Bulldogs can have both aesthetic and health implications, so it is important to consider all available treatment options for the condition. Treatment for tear staining is typically tailored to each individual dog, depending on the underlying cause. Here are some of the most common treatment methods:

  • Natural Treatments: Natural treatments such as herbal remedies, teas, and supplements may help to reduce tear staining. These treatments are often used in conjunction with diet changes, eye washes, and other lifestyle modifications.
  • Dietary Changes: Many cases of tear staining can be improved through dietary changes. Low-salt diets may help reduce tear staining, and adding omega-3 fatty acids (from fish oils, etc.) may also help reduce tear staining.
  • Prescription Drugs: In some cases, prescription eye drops or antibiotics may be prescribed by a veterinarian to treat tear staining. These should be used under the guidance of a vet.

It’s important to note that these treatments must be supplemented with regular cleaning and maintenance routines for optimal results. Additionally, your veterinarian can help you identify the underlying cause of the tear staining and recommend additional treatments if necessary.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Tear Stains

Having an English Bulldog with tear stains can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Fortunately, there are several steps that owners can take to make tear stain removal and maintenance much easier!

The first step is to use a gentle tear staining wipe to remove any buildup or discoloration in the affected area. These wipes should be used as directed, and should be free from any harsh chemicals that could potentially damage the delicate tissues around your dog’s eyes.

Next, you can use either a specialty tear staining remover or a mild cleaner to gently scrub away any dirt and debris from the stained area. Be sure to rinse the area with clean water afterwards, as any leftover residue could irritate your dog’s eyes.

Once the area is clean and dry, you can use either a moisturizing eye ointment or an all-natural tear-stain removing product to prevent further staining. Both of these products often contain ingredients such as vitamin E, aloe vera, and chamomile, which can help keep the area hydrated and reduce discoloration.

Finally, it’s important to keep your English Bulldogs eyes clear of any discharge or debris on a daily basis. Use a damp cloth or eye wipe to gently wipe away any buildup or debris in and around the eyes each day. This will help keep tear staining under control and keep your pup’s eyes healthy and free of irritation.

Prevention Tips for Reducing Tear Staining

Tear staining can be an unpleasant issue for many English Bulldogs, but it is possible to reduce the occurrence of tear staining with some preventative measures. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Avoid feeding your English Bulldog certain foods, including foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
  • Provide your English Bulldog with regular exercise, as this can help reduce tear staining.
  • Regularly keep your English Bulldog’s eyes and face clean and dry to reduce discomfort and prevent irritation.
  • Supplement your English Bulldog’s diet with eye products that are made to reduce eye-area irritation and tearing.
  • Provide your English Bulldog with plenty of fresh water and keep its environment clean and well-ventilated.

Following these preventive measures can help reduce tear staining and keep your English Bulldog healthy and happy.

Products for Tear Stain Prevention and Removal

Tearing is a common problem for English Bulldogs, and while it’s not necessarily indicative of any serious health concern, many pet owners opt to take preventative action against tear staining. To help with this, there are several products on the market specifically designed to reduce or eliminate tear marking in English Bulldogs.

These products come in a variety of forms, including shampoos and wipes designed to clean the area around your bulldog’s eyes, supplements that help reduce tear production, powders to absorb moisture, and herbal remedies that have been used for centuries to treat eye problems in dogs.

When shopping for an eye care product for your bulldog, it’s important to read the label carefully to make sure it’s suitable for their needs. Many products contain ingredients that can be harmful if used in excess, so it’s best to check with your veterinarian before purchasing an eye care product for your pet.

Some of the most popular eye care products for English Bulldogs include:

  • EradiCare Tear Stain Remover
  • Miracle Care Eye Clear Solution
  • Elizabethan Collar Natural Health Powder
  • Wahl’s Pet Eye Care Wipes

In addition to products specifically designed for tear stain prevention and removal, there are also many products available to support overall eye health in dogs. These include eye supplements, special eye drops and sprays, and special diets formulated for eye health.

Eye Care for English Bulldogs

Eye care is essential for English Bulldogs, as they are prone to tear staining and other eye issues. Regular preventive eye care can help reduce the risk of developing serious eye problems. This includes regular examinations by a veterinarian, cleaning their eyes with a damp cloth, and providing a good diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for proper eye health.

It’s important to look for signs and symptoms of eye problems in English Bulldogs, including excessive tearing, redness or swelling of the eyes, and cloudy or yellowish discharge coming from the eyes. If any of these signs or symptoms are present, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

In order to keep your English Bulldog’s eyes healthy, it’s essential to practice preventive care at home. This includes regular eye examinations, administering any necessary medications or supplements, avoiding certain foods that may trigger the development of tear stains, and ensuring adequate hydration.

Finally, make sure to keep an eye on your English Bulldog’s eyes when they are playing and running around outdoors. If they rub their eyes too much, this could lead to irritation and infectious diseases, so it’s important to take precautionary measures and pay close attention to their eye health.

When to See a Veterinarian For Tear Staining

Tear staining in English Bulldogs can be a sign of a more serious health condition, so it is important to pay attention to any signs or symptoms that warrant an immediate trip to the veterinarian. These include redness or inflammation around the eye, swelling, excessive tearing, and changes in color or consistency of the discharge.

Other signs of a serious health condition include crusty build-up around the eyes, excessive blinking or squinting, increased sensitivity to light, and any abnormality in vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately, as they could be indicative of an underlying problem.

Furthermore, any treatments you may be using to reduce tear staining should be discussed with your veterinarian as they may interact with any medications or supplements your pet is taking. Your veterinarian will also be able to provide more tailored advice for your specific pet.


Tear staining in English Bulldogs is a common and treatable issue that can have a negative impact on their health and well-being. It’s important to understand the causes of tear staining, the treatments available, and how to properly clean and maintain tear-stained areas. Additionally, various dietary and lifestyle changes should be considered in order to prevent the formation of new tear stains. Regular eye care is also recommended for controlling existing tear stains. If you believe that your English Bulldog has an excessive amount of tear staining that is not responding to treatment, then it is best to contact your veterinarian for further advice and care.

Additional Resources for English Bulldogs With Tear Stains

English Bulldogs with tear stains are not alone, and there are several resources available for pet owners to seek advice and support. Professional organizations, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), can provide helpful information about bulldogs and their health. Additionally, there are a few nonprofit advocacy groups, such as Bulldog Advocates, that provide support and resources to pet owners.

These organizations can be great sources of information and support if you have an English Bulldog with tear staining. Whether you need help with diagnosing the cause of the issue, are looking for tips on how to reduce tear staining, or just want to learn more about how to care for your Bulldog, these organizations can provide a wealth of knowledge and advice.

FAQs About English Bulldogs and Tear Staining

  • Q: What are English Bulldogs?
    A: English Bulldogs are a medium-sized breed of dogs originating from England. They have short legs and a compact, muscular body. English Bulldogs are known for their strong personalities and loyalty.
  • Q: What causes tear staining in English Bulldogs?
    A: Tear staining in English Bulldogs is caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. The tears contain porphyrins, a pigment that discolors the fur around the eyes. Other factors such as poor diet, allergies, and blocked tear ducts can also contribute to excessive tear staining.
  • Q: How common is tear staining in English Bulldogs?
    A: Studies suggest that more than 80% of English Bulldogs show some signs of tear staining. This percentage is even higher if the dog has a light-colored coat.
  • Q: What are the health implications of tear staining?
    A: Tear staining in English Bulldogs can lead to skin irritation and infection. It may also be a symptom of an underlying health issue such as a blocked tear duct or an eye infection. If left untreated, tear staining can cause more serious problems such as vision loss.
  • Q: Are there treatment options for tear staining?
    A: Yes, there are a variety of treatments available for tear staining in English Bulldogs. Natural treatments include dietary changes, supplements, and herbal remedies. Prescription drugs are also available to reduce tearing.
  • Q: What is the best way to clean and maintain tear stains?
    A: To clean and maintain tear stains in English Bulldogs, you should start by gently wiping away any existing tears with a clean cloth. Then, use warm water and an appropriate cleanser to remove any remaining residue. Finally, apply an eye-care product to prevent new tear staining.
  • Q: Are there any products available for tear stain prevention and removal?
    A: Yes, there are several products designed specifically for tear stain prevention and removal in English Bulldogs. These products contain natural ingredients such as herbs, probiotics, and oatmeal which help reduce tearing and eliminate debris.

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