Skip to main content

A note on Tear Stains

During my daily meandering through online forums, I picked up an interesting question from a perplexed dog owner. This one relates to a natural phenomenon called tear stains.

The concerned dog owner asked what causes a tear stain and if it was true that changing dog food brands causes it. First of all, anyone involved in dog ownership, or in the appreciation of this wonderful branch of the animal kingdom, is not new to the sight of a tearful dog. Sure, but they are not tears of sorrow but an overflow of this liquid whose function is to clean the eyeballs. There are ducts that allow this liquid to drain into the nasal area where it is eliminated. When these ducts are clogged or closed, for whatever reason, the liquid overflows unto the cheek area and causes the stain that we are so familiar with. Many small dogs, like Chihuahuas, have protruding eyeballs. Tear staining is very common among them as well as in any toy class. In this case, the protrusion of the eyeballs stretches the ducts and prohibits the liquid from draining into the nasal cavity. Humans are no different. Ever wonder why our noses clog up when we cry? Excessive tearing, thus crying, causes an overload in the nasal cavity even if tears are overflowing unto our cheeks. That's when we reach for the tissue. For goodness sake, when you see these tears, please do not assume that the dog is emotionally distressed neither is it overjoyed.

As for changing dog food brands as the possible culprit, it seems to me that someone was trying a different angle on this issue, one with commercial interest.


Popular posts from this blog

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Simba. Pomeranian.

Here's a dog I want you to meet, Simba. He's an energetic little fellow who literally leaps in joy when it's time for a walk. I mean, Simba leaps vertically like he's on a pogo stick. He's very amusing. Simba was rescued from a pound down in West Virginia, and he's now with us in northern New Jersey. I love small dogs, and he's become my most recent favorite. Simba certainly qualifies as a lap dog. Last Sunday, after walking him, we sat in our patio area at the shelter and I gave him tummy rubs and back massages while he laid like a pillow on my lap. I've been told that Simba doesn't like having a collar put around his neck, and so he wears a harness instead. Interestingly, Simba is microchipped. So, he belonged to someone who cared for him. He's a good boy and only two years old. All predict that Simba will get adopted quickly, like most toy dogs do.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Adopted by the Small Animal Rescue of Princeton, NJ

Poem. Captivity, Longing. Cruelty. Misery. Free the Animals.

Thumbing through some Robert Frost poems, I was led to this one by Maya Angelou . I don't know if Frost ever had an influence on Angelou, but certainly any American poet living today would be familiar with Frost's work. Frost and Whitman are my favorite poets, and the romantic poets ( Keats, Byron, and Shelley ) I can't bear. I find their work dense, abstruse and impenetrable. It's just a matter of taste and connectivity. I am no expert on verse, but I will accept the opinion of those who are. They warn us that Frost's poetry is deceivingly simple. If we were to try our hand at it, to put complicated emotions into simple verse, we would be tied up in knots.

Anyway, Angelou's poem below, Caged Bird, touches on the plaintive cries, the longing for better things, that captive individuals must go through. You can apply the core meaning or sentiment of this poem to any situation involving imprisonment or captivity, human or animal. Think of the dog in a dank, dark ba…

Hiking. Protection Against Snake Bites. Gaiters.

You might wonder what on Earth are these? They are called, "gaiters," and fashion has nothing to do with them. Gaiters act like shin guards against briars and other thorny plants, worn by those who work outdoors like forestry rangers, ranchers, and farmers. Gaiters come in different styles and material, but they normally protect the ankles up to the knees.

This pair provides protection against snake bites. New material called SuperFabric makes protection possible without putting on the usual thick, cumbersome gaiters with polycarbonate sheets embedded in them. This pair is flexible and light, made by Whitewater. I got this pair from

I believe that such protection is necessary for hikers considering that rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are not rare along the trails, and they can be difficult to spot on the ground. I am willing to accept the prevailing theory that snakes, like most wild animals, will avoid hikers if given enough tim…