Why Do Shih Tzu Get Brown Around Eyes And Mouth?

If you’ve ever owned a Shih Tzu, you might have noticed that they often develop a brownish discoloration around their eyes and mouth. It’s a common concern among dog owners, but have you ever wondered why this happens? In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating reasons behind why Shih Tzus get brown around their eyes and mouth, and what you can do to help prevent it.

One of the main culprits behind this discoloration is tear staining. Shih Tzus have large, round eyes that are prone to excessive tearing, which can lead to the formation of reddish-brown stains. Additionally, the hair around their eyes and mouth tends to be white or light-colored, making the stains more noticeable. But fear not! There are several factors that contribute to tear staining in Shih Tzus, including their genetics, diet, and even their environment. By understanding these factors and implementing effective solutions, you can keep your furry friend looking fresh and vibrant. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets behind why Shih Tzus get brown around their eyes and mouth, and how you can keep them looking their best.

Why Do Shih Tzu Get Brown Around Eyes and Mouth?

Why Do Shih Tzu Get Brown Around Eyes and Mouth?

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their beautiful and expressive eyes, but sometimes, you may notice that they develop brown staining around their eyes and mouth. This discoloration can be concerning for pet owners, as it can affect the appearance of their beloved furry friends. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Shih Tzu dogs get brown around their eyes and mouth and discuss some possible solutions to prevent or reduce this staining.

Causes of Brown Staining in Shih Tzu

Natural Tear Staining

One of the main reasons why Shih Tzu dogs develop brown staining around their eyes is due to natural tear staining. Tears contain a pigment called porphyrin, which can cause the fur around the eyes to turn brown when it comes into contact with the hair. Shih Tzus are prone to excessive tearing, which can be caused by a variety of factors such as allergies, eye infections, or blocked tear ducts. When the tears overflow and run down the face, they can leave behind brown stains.

Diet and Food Allergies

Another common cause of brown staining in Shih Tzu dogs is their diet. Certain ingredients in their food, such as artificial colorings, preservatives, or grains, can trigger allergies or sensitivities in some dogs. These allergies can manifest in various ways, including tear staining. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing excessive tearing and brown staining, it may be worth considering a change in their diet to see if it helps reduce the staining.

There are also specific foods and treats available that claim to reduce tear staining in dogs. These products often contain ingredients that help balance the pH of the tears, making them less likely to cause staining. However, it’s important to note that not all dogs will respond to these products, and individual results may vary.

Preventing and Reducing Brown Staining

Maintaining Good Eye Hygiene

To prevent and reduce brown staining in your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to maintain good eye hygiene. Regularly cleaning the area around their eyes with a gentle, tear stain remover solution can help remove the stains and prevent them from becoming more severe. Be sure to use a product specifically formulated for dogs and avoid getting any solution directly into their eyes.

Regular Grooming

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s facial hair trimmed can also help prevent and reduce brown staining. Long hair around the eyes and mouth can trap tears and saliva, leading to more significant staining. Regularly trimming the hair in these areas can minimize the contact between the tears and the fur, reducing the likelihood of staining.

In addition to trimming, regular grooming is crucial to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat clean and healthy. Brushing their fur regularly and scheduling professional grooming sessions can help prevent matting and keep their coat in optimal condition.


While brown staining around the eyes and mouth can be a common issue for Shih Tzu dogs, understanding the underlying causes can help you take the necessary steps to prevent or reduce the staining. By maintaining good eye hygiene, providing a balanced diet, and keeping up with regular grooming, you can help keep your Shih Tzu looking their best. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s health or if the staining persists despite your efforts.

Key Takeaways: Why Do Shih Tzu Get Brown Around Eyes and Mouth?

  • Shih Tzu dogs often develop brown stains around their eyes and mouth.
  • This discoloration is caused by a combination of tears, saliva, and bacteria.
  • Factors such as genetics, diet, and tear duct blockages can contribute to the staining.
  • Regular grooming and cleaning can help prevent and reduce the brown stains.
  • Using specialized products and wipes can also be effective in managing the discoloration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Shih Tzu get brown around their eyes and mouth?

Shih Tzu dogs are prone to developing brown stains around their eyes and mouth due to a condition known as tear staining. Tear staining occurs when tears overflow from the eyes and come into contact with the hair around the face. The tears contain a pigment called porphyrin, which can cause the fur to turn a brownish color.

There are several reasons why Shih Tzu may experience tear staining. One common cause is excessive tear production, which can be a result of genetics, allergies, or eye irritation. Another factor is the shape of the Shih Tzu’s face, as their flatter facial structure can lead to tears not draining properly and accumulating around the eyes and mouth.

How can I prevent brown stains around my Shih Tzu’s eyes and mouth?

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate tear staining in Shih Tzu, there are steps you can take to reduce its severity and prevent further discoloration. Regular grooming is essential, as keeping the hair around the eyes and mouth trimmed short can help minimize contact with tears.

Ensuring your Shih Tzu’s eyes are clean and free from discharge is important, as any buildup can lead to increased tear staining. Using a mild, tear-free cleanser specifically formulated for dogs can help remove any debris or crust around the eyes. Additionally, providing a balanced diet and avoiding foods that may trigger allergies can also contribute to reducing tear staining.

Are there any home remedies to remove brown stains from my Shih Tzu’s fur?

While there are various home remedies suggested for removing brown stains from a Shih Tzu’s fur, it is important to exercise caution and consult with a veterinarian before trying any new treatments. Some commonly recommended remedies include using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and cornstarch, or applying a paste made from water and baking soda to the stained areas.

However, it is crucial to remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It is always best to seek professional advice to ensure the health and well-being of your Shih Tzu.

Can tear staining be a sign of an underlying health issue in Shih Tzu?

In some cases, excessive tear staining in Shih Tzu can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Allergies, eye infections, blocked tear ducts, or abnormalities in the tear production can contribute to the development of tear stains. If you notice persistent or worsening tear staining, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any potential health problems.

A thorough examination of your Shih Tzu’s eyes and overall health can help determine the root cause of the tear staining and guide appropriate treatment, if necessary.

Is tear staining a common issue in all Shih Tzu dogs?

Tear staining is more common in certain breeds, including Shih Tzu, due to their specific anatomy and genetics. The flat face and large, round eyes of Shih Tzu make them more prone to tear overflow and staining. However, not all Shih Tzu will experience tear staining to the same extent.

Factors such as individual genetics, diet, grooming routine, and overall health can influence the severity of tear staining in Shih Tzu. It is important to remember that tear staining is a cosmetic issue and does not typically cause any harm to the dog’s health. With proper care and management, the appearance of tear staining can be minimized.

How to Get Rid of Brown Eye Staining in Dogs

Final Thought: Why Do Shih Tzu Get Brown Around Eyes and Mouth?

After exploring the reasons behind why Shih Tzu dogs often develop brown discoloration around their eyes and mouth, it becomes evident that this issue can be attributed to a combination of factors. While some of these factors are inherent to the breed, others can be influenced by external elements and lifestyle choices. Understanding the causes behind this phenomenon is crucial in order to effectively prevent and manage the discoloration.

One of the main causes is tear staining, which occurs when excessive tears accumulate around the eyes and oxidize, resulting in a reddish-brown color. This can be exacerbated by factors such as genetics, allergies, and eye infections. Additionally, the natural shape of a Shih Tzu’s face and the folds of skin around their eyes can contribute to tear staining. Similarly, the accumulation of saliva around the mouth can lead to brown discoloration, especially in dogs that drool excessively or have a habit of licking their lips.

To address these issues, it is important to maintain good hygiene practices. Regularly cleaning your Shih Tzu’s face, especially around the eyes and mouth, can help prevent the buildup of tears and saliva. Using a gentle cleanser specifically formulated for dogs and avoiding products that contain harsh chemicals will ensure that you are taking the best care of your furry friend. Additionally, keeping an eye out for any signs of allergies or infections and promptly seeking veterinary care can help mitigate tear staining. By taking these steps, you can help keep your Shih Tzu’s eyes and mouth looking clean and vibrant.

In conclusion, the brown discoloration that Shih Tzu dogs often develop around their eyes and mouth can be attributed to tear staining and saliva accumulation. While these issues may be inherent to the breed, practicing good hygiene and seeking veterinary care when necessary can help prevent and manage the discoloration. Remember, a clean and healthy face is not only aesthetically pleasing but also indicative of your dedication to your Shih Tzu’s well-being. So, keep those wipes handy and shower your furry companion with the love and care they deserve.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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