An interesting theory I saw regarding tear stains on raw fed dogs attributed them to the ripping and tearing action they go through. In a nutshell, raw fed dogs use their face muscles a lot more than kibble-fed dogs, and this causes the tear ducts to expand and release more fluids.
Tear stain is a yeast or bacterial infection. Basically, your dog is producing too much tears (the cause of which can vary) which becomes a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria which causes it to have that brownish or reddish color. For white or light haired dogs it's very obvious, for dark haired dogs it could be difficult to spot without looking at it closely. A lot of times, people with dark-haired dogs won't address the issue because it's not really an "eye sore". Unfortunately, the infection can get really bad and end up becoming a health issue and not just a cosmetic one especially in dogs like English Bulldogs and Bichon Frises that are susceptible to these types of health problems.
That said, allergies can cause excessive tears. Teething dogs can also cause excessive tears (the skull gets temporarily misaligned causing a pinching on the tear ducts). Some dogs have an eye structure issue or blocked tear ducts that causes fluid to excrete through the eyes instead of through the nose... that may require surgery. There are other causes... these are just some of them.
So... to address this problem first you have to figure out why he's producing excessive tears and try to solve that. Next, you have to get that infection (either yeast - brown or bacterial -red) controlled. The distilled water option is a good one because it changes the pH of your dog's body making it more difficult for yeast to thrive. But the simplest (but most inconvenient) way to solve this problem is to keep the dog's face dry at all times... wipe, wipe, wipe, and wipe some more... until you solve the problem that caused the extra tearing in the first place.
I got Bullied and loving it!
Bella "Bullie" Rose, adopted on July 24, 2011
allergies are environmental since he only gets tear stains during the summer. During winter months, his face is always clear ... we call him our winter baby since he loves the snow too.
"I am normally not a praying man, but if you really are up there, please save me Superman!'' - Homer J. Simpson
Thanks for the thorough response. I know the whole bones keep the teeth clean and provide mental stimulation but I tried teaching her to chew and had no luck. She had two choking instances and I refuse to risk I again. I beleive the tear stains she has are from when I tried to give her a fruit and veggie mix that I'm guessing had too high of a sugar content and she was definitely allergic to something in it. She woke up the next day reverse sneezing and horrible tear stains over night. I no longer give her fruits and veggies and we got the yeast issue cleared up. Now I'm just working on getting rid of them. I am using the milk or magnesia, cornstarch, peroxide mix. Seems to be working but what a pain it is to try to get it in her folds.