Red tear stains around the eyes is not a pretty sight, but what to do about them is an all too often question I get from doggy owners of white long-haired dogs. .
A deeper understanding of the physiological and psychological aspects at question will give one a deeper understanding of why and how these red stains are formed.
Let’s first look at the stains themselves, they occur when the area around the eyes is moist for extended periods of time. The longer the hair the more moisture will accumulate around the eyes since the area will be restricted from air flow due to the hair. Long-haired dogs have a bigger problem with the formation of "red tear stains” on the hair around the eyes. The stains are created by bacteria build up resulting in red marks. Teary eyes moisten the hair, so the moisture combined with the dog's body temperature of 38°C/100°F, provides a suitable environment for the development of bacteria. We notice the existence of bacteria due to the presence of red colored hair or stains. However, as the breed of Lhasa Apso can be dark haired, we may not perceive these tear stains as red, although the bacteria that grows there is the same it just isn’t visible due to the hair color variation.
Should one turn to Antibiotics?
There were various antibiotic-based topical and oral preparations available to treat red tear stains. They existed in large numbers on the market, but relatively recently, the FDA banned their use, so in America, almost all of these preparations were withdrawn from sale. The manufacturers claimed that the preparations did not contain antibiotics. However, the only way to kill the bacteria was to use antibiotics. If a dog takes such a medicine, the antibiotic will also be expelled from the body through various secretions, including tears; bacteria cannot grow on a medicated environment.
Even though the manufacturers did not add additional antibiotics to the treatments, they did use chicken or beef liver of animals that had previously been treated with antibiotics. There is a certain waiting period that should elapse from the time when an animal eats or drinks food or medicine to the moment when they can be slaughtered and used in human nutrition. Often these animals can be used because there are no antibiotics detected anywhere in the body when tests are done however, the liver continues to store these antibiotics which don’t register on blood tests. The liver is removed full of antibiotics, which ends up in dog eye care products.
When the existence of these antibiotics was proven, a ban was imposed on these preparations. Scientists aren’t sure whether excessive or long-term use of antibiotics causes problems for dogs. However, some dogs became resistant to a certain group of antibiotics, so when they got sick from certain illnesses there were no cures for them which often ended in death.
There are similar topical creams which are applied around the eye area.
They also contain an antibiotic, or chemicals that create a certain pH value, which does not suit the bacteria growth.
There are many dangerous of over medicating and only treating the symptoms. A better approach is to examine the issue from a systemic level and to get to the root cause.
It's all about healing the underlining cause, so the question remains why does the dog have excessive teary eyes? And why is the dog crying? This is a much deeper question relating to the relationship between humans and dogs, which can induce a certain degree of anxiety in both species.
Dogs have several natural coping mechanisms of releasing stress and tension for example; great inner restlessness, tension, and anxiety which should be expelled from the body, leads to panting. When restless dogs gasp they do it to keep cool, but also to expel excess fluid from the body. Panting can sometimes be replaced by excessive tearing or sweating. Since the dog does not have a sweat gland, except on the paw pads, these marks or stains can appear on the paw pads as well, under the eyes and around the lips - wherever body fluid is released and allowed to build up.
A dog may cry because he is unhappy, and he is unhappy because he thinks that its owner does not have enough strength and courage to take proper care of their life, which indicates that they are incapable of fully experiencing life. The dog, then, deep down asks only one question: What will I do without you?
So, the dog and the owner can enter into such a dynamic relationship, where the dog is worried about his own life, primarily because he does not see the right leadership in the care-taker with whom he lives. Our dogs know us deep down and they are able to match our cortisone stress hormones and will match our moods and temperaments. We should all ask ourselves are we truly content deep down or are we harboring feelings of sadness and frustration?
The dog is a follower by nature. It is not a natural relationship when we give the dogs tools they don’t know how to use. In the cases when we are too sensitive, vulnerable, when we treat the dog in a way that the dog does not deserve, not respecting them as a follower and not taking our leadership position serious.
It is in the nature of dogs to follow man; we cannot act by following them. Our soul can follow the signs that dogs give us, but even then it is the man who goes first.
Let’s examine a practical scenario.
A person starts looking for a dog and stumbles upon the Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso is an ancient Tibetan breed, one of the most original breeds in the world. Even today in Tibet the original long haired Lhasa Apsos exists, there they are called - "little lion dog".
Why do we sometimes choose these dogs as pets? Because on our path of growth and development, we need the signals that the Lhasa Apso provides. The Lasa Apso, or some other dog with similar characteristics, will be chosen by those of us who need to look deeply into our own anxiety and restlessness. We can act calmly on the outside, but often this is such a well-learned role that we ourselves are not aware that we are in someone else's role, and not in our own in which we should be. The real role is the one in which we know that we are deeply upset because we lack the courage, strength, or maybe even life energy to deal with our lives in the right way. Although, every way is right, because it leads a person to the paths they can take.
Having a dog with the mentioned symptoms near us is a clear sign that deep inside there is a place where we are vulnerable, scared and anxious, and we are not aware of that. It can be a great trigger, which always brings us back to the same places in our life’s results, from where we cannot get out.
The moment we take our lives into our own hands, when we understand the signals, face them, look them in the eye, and allow everything that is to be, without condemnation and without an idea of how it should or ought to be - then the dog finally realizes that we live life responsibly.
When we out of respect take on the responsibility that belongs to us and our life, when we start living life according to our own rules, in our own shoes, then the dog can finally breathe a sigh of relief and follow us on our path.
If you would like to read the orginal Spanish version click below