One of the most attractive things about owning a Maltese is the beautiful, lush white fur that makes the breed look graceful and regal. It’s like walking around with a princess on a leash, but less creepy than that. The downside of that snow white coat is that it can be difficult to maintain, even though it is totally a labor of love. At the top of the list of things to clean are Maltese tear stains.
For a number of reasons, tear stains for Maltese are incredibly common. In a survey of 600 owners, 93% reported having a tear staining problem. Just think about that. 93%! Imagine if 93% of humans look as though they’ve been punched in the face. However, you can take some steps to help prevent the stains from forming in the first place and we’ll give you a few tips to get rid of them if your late in the game.
Grooming Maltese Eyes
Ironically, the thing that makes Maltese so popular is probably also part of the problem. Tear staining happens when tears remain on the coat for too long and attract dirt. It's the same sort of reaction that can happen around your pet's mouth if saliva remains on the fur. Often, it’s not the tears or saliva themselves that are originally causing the problem. Instead, it is the dirt they attract, which then causes a natural reaction to the irritant. In some cases it can be yeast, but Maltese tear stains are usually not the sign of any serious infection. In fact, they're a sign that your pet's eyes are reacting in a healthy way to the irritants.
One of the prime things that irritates Maltese eyes is the long coat that you love so much. The first problem can be the fur that bounces into her beautiful face irritating her eyes. Regular grooming will keep the coat clean and a top knot, (or if you have a male, a “man bun”) will pull back the hair that is likely to fall into her face. You can even mix up a home hair-dye mixture of 10% hydrogen peroxide and water to turn the hair back to white, although it's likely that the stains themselves will return in a few days without other preventative steps. And of course, you will have to worry a lot about where you get the formula to avoid any serious eye damage. Under no circumstances should you use bleach this close to your pet's eye. Seriously… what are you even thinking? Don’t do it.
Since Maltese tear stains are so common, it's most likely that you're going to need to come up with a regular cleaning regimen. That's great news for Fluffy because it likely means weekly facials. She'll love it, right?
When selecting a product for the cleaning, you want to find something with natural, even organic oils that will clean the dirt and prevent the tears from staying on the coat in the future. The Petpost Tear Stain Remover is a coconut oil based solution made from the highest quality extracts. The coconut oil is a gentle and safe cleansing ingredient that we have discovered to be hyper effective at keeping Maltese tear stains away. These oils also provide a natural barrier that prevents the tears from soaking into the fur.
You'll need to clean the area consistently for 5 to 7 days once you get started. Maltese tear stains are stubborn, and that intense initial regimen will help you get rid of the dirt that has built up. After that, weekly cleanings are usually sufficient. In a couple of weeks the fur will have grown out to the point that you will see new white fur at the roots, and once you trim off the permanently dyed fur the eye stains will be gone forever.
The only permanent solution to Maltese tear stains is a regular program of maintenance. Sweet Pea can curl up in your lap while you treat the area once a week or so. Regularly brushing her fur will also promote healthy growth which helps. Other causes of excessive tearing can be diet. Avoid foods with chemical dyes or grain additives. You might try filtered water as some animals have a reaction to the fluoride and chlorine added to tap water. If her food and water are in plastic bowls, you can swap them out for metal and see if that helps as well. It's best to try one of these at a time for several weeks to help determine the cause.
One item that gets overlooked is the effect of sunshine on Peaches's coat. The old saying is true: sunshine is the best disinfectant. If your Maltese tends to be in the house most of the day, be sure to make time for her to get out in the yard or go for a walk and get some sun on that coat.
While tear stains are unsightly, with regular treatment they can be removed and prevented. The best part is it gives you an excuse to schedule some quality cuddle time with your furry princess (or prince).