How To Clean French Bulldog Tear Stains And Prevent New Ones


If you have a Frenchie with a darker coat color, you might not notice reddish tear stains under its eyes. However, if you have a Frenchie with lighter fur color, these stains can become a real cosmetic issue.

Sometimes, the reason behind tear stains is an underlying medical issue. But, in most cases, it is genetics and diet. 

Cleaning your French Bulldog’s tear stains depends a lot on the reason why they showed up in the first place. But, don’t worry – they can be cleaned quite easily, and you don’t have to go to a groomer or to the vet to do it.

You can do it at home.

You can also prevent new ones from forming in the comfort of your home as well. It’s great for both you and your Frenchie.

How To Clean French Bulldog Tear Stains

a woman cleans the tear stains of a French bulldog

French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed of dogs, which means they will have a lot of wrinkles on their face, bulgy eyes, and other anatomical and physiological conditions that will increase tear production.

Tears alone are not a problem, but too many can cause this tear-stain issue. It happens because of the oxidation of the main ingredients of dog tears: iron and magnesium, combined with salt. 

This process leaves reddish-to-brown tear stains on your doggy’s face. It can be mostly seen on lighter French Bulldog coat colors such as fawn, cream, isabella, etc.

So, what can you do about it?

1. Dog Face Wipes

This is the easiest way to clean your Frenchies’ tear stains. Before buying any wipes, make sure you are buying vet-approved wipes. You can even consult your veterinarian and see which are the best to use on your dog specifically.

How to do it:

  • Take one wipe and gently wipe down and away from your dog’s eye
  • Make sure not to wipe toward the eye as you can cause eye irritation
  • Go under all the folds and wrinkles, and clean them thoroughly
  • Use a dry cloth to dry your Frenchie’s face
  • Make sure everything is dry – check twice
  • Do this every day until you completely clean the stains

Instead of wet wipes, you can use a damp (clean) cloth soaked in chamomile tea. Make sure the tea is lukewarm. The process is the same as when using doggy wet wipes.

There are numerous stain-removing solutions available that you can use on your dog, but it is very important to ask your vet about them before using them.

Whatever you choose to use (wet wipes or solutions), never apply them directly to your dog’s eyes, and always wipe away from the eye.

2. Virgin Coconut Oil

If you have tried wet wipes and you had no luck with removing the tear stains on your French Bulldog, you can try virgin coconut oil.

How to do it:

  • Use a clean cloth or cotton swabs 
  • When using the cloth (or swabs), apply the coconut oil directly onto the stains
  • Be careful not to apply too much or into the eye
  • Swipe away from the eyes by using another clean cloth
  • Use another dry cloth to remove any moisture from the dog’s face
  • Repeat once a day until the stains are removed (it usually takes a couple of days)

Coconut oil is also a good supplement to your Frenchie’s diet. You can add one teaspoon of virgin coconut oil daily to your dog’s food. Coconut oil has a positive effect on a dog’s fur, skin, and immune system because it helps with allergic reactions.

How To Prevent Tear Stains On Your French Bulldog

a woman gives a French bulldog a bowl of food

If you have newborn French Bulldogs at home, no matter the color, they can all develop tear stains as they get bigger. The first stains can show even when a dog is just one month old. Of course, it is easier to see them on light-colored Frenchies.

So, what can you do to prevent them from appearing or reappearing after you clean them?

1. Proper Diet

It has been proven that diet can greatly increase your Frenchie’s tear stain formation. It happens because of the wheat, corn, and other fillers in dog food that have a bad impact on overall dog health, leading to allergies. Allergic reactions consequently lead to more tears.

Check your dog’s food. Many French Bulldog owners noticed an immense change after switching their dog’s diet from low- to high-quality dog food. 

You don’t have to feed your dog a raw food diet – you can simply look at the ingredients of kibble or canned dog food, and also look for these:

  • A high percentage of proteins (at least 10% up to 20%)
  • A low percentage of carbohydrates 
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Fewer food fillers (corn, wheat, soy, etc.)

2. Quality Water

Another thing French Bulldog owners do is switch to filtered water. Tap water has a lot of minerals that build up in tears, causing more tear stains. 

A lot of Frenchie owners have reported that the tear stains appeared much faster after they gave tap or bottled water to their dogs.

So, if you want to avoid this, use filtered water (purified, distilled water, etc.).

3. Clean Your Dog’s Face

a woman cleans the face of a French bulldog

And… I mean clean it every day. If you know your doggy quickly develops tear stains, you have to clean its face every day with a damp cloth and lukewarm water. I personally recommend lukewarm chamomile tea instead of water.

Not only will you clean your dog’s face, but chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. 

4. Make Sure It’s Dry

Another important (very important) thing is to make sure your Frenchie’s wrinkles are dry. A moist environment is the perfect place for bacterial infections. They can complicate things further, and cause more tear production, which leads to quicker tear stain formation.

After every cleaning session, use a new dry cloth to wipe all crevices and folds on your dog’s face.

5. Food Supplements

And, finally… you can give your dog one teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar, probiotic enzymes, fish oil, or the mentioned virgin coconut oil. 

Before adding any of these mentioned supplements, be sure to talk to your vet. Even though these supplements are not toxic, every dog is different, and they react differently to food supplements. 

Also, it is not the same amount of supplements for standard Frenchies and smaller ones, like Mini French Bulldogs.

The bottom line – check with your vet before adding any supplement.

What If They Won’t Go Away?

If you’ve tried everything, and your dog still has stains, there might be something behind this situation. And, that something might be a health issue. So, the first thing you have to check is your dog’s health.

These are some of the health issues that can cause tear stains:

  • Bacterial eye infection
  • Glaucoma
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Allergies
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Entropion
  • Ear infection

Solving underlying medical issues helps take care of the tear stains as well. Of course, you will need to continue to watch out for your dog’s health, and keep its face clean and dry.

The Conclusion

Cleaning your French Bulldog’s tear stains is not a hard task. You can do it at home without any problem. All you need, in most cases, is a clean cloth or a cotton ball / swab, and lukewarm water. 

You will also need to develop a daily routine if you want to keep your dog’s face clean and without any new tear stains.

Luckily, as you can see, the cleaning process doesn’t take a lot of time. Just make sure you dry the wrinkles and folds on your Frenchie’s face thoroughly.

And, remember… if you can’t clean the stains no matter what you do and use, it is best to take your dog to the veterinarian and have its health checked.

Your dog might have some underlying health issue that prevents you from completely cleaning its face from tear stains.

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