How to Get Rid of Tear Stains and Clean Face Wrinkles

french bulldog tear stains

Not only do tear stains look bad but they can often make your pup’s face wrinkles become raw and unpleasant. My French bulldog Saylor had the hardest time with tear stains. She has extremely deep folds in her wrinkles to the point where it is almost impossible to keep them dry. Here is what I have learned about properly handling those pesky tear stains.

When I first got my pup I asked our local veterinarian what we could do. He said that there is a powder that I could put on top of her food that would help a lot but she needed to be at least six months old before I could use it. Since Saylor wasn’t 6 months old yet I had to come up with other ways to keep her tear stains from getting so bad because the moisture was causing in between her wrinkles to become very raw. I tried wipes, balms, and even tear stain removers to help her but it seemed like it was just making it worse.

The wipes would help keep her wrinkles clean but it started to make the skin in her fold become even more sensitive if I used them too often. So, I tried a balm next by the brand Natural Dog Company. I had seen such great reviews for it and was very excited to try it. Unfortunately, Saylor hated how strongly it smelled and would wipe it off almost immediately.

Finally, when she turned six months old, I tried Well & Good Eye Wipes. Even though I felt like this product helped the color fade slightly, it made her wrinkles more raw than any of the other products.
At that point, I went back to my veterinarian and asked about the powder product Tylan again. He said that it had a probiotic in it that helps get rid of the bacteria build up in the folds. It also must be prescribed by a vet. Since Saylor’s folds were so deep, the bacteria had caused them to become raw and sensitive.

The way the powder works is by inhibiting the bacteria’s protein from synthesizing. He told me that some dogs only need to use it a few times and never need to use it again but other dogs may need it every day. In our case, Saylor only needed it for a few weeks.

I feel like I have a pretty good method for keeping her wrinkles clean and her tear stains under control now. I simply take a wet washcloth once a week and wipe in her folds.

If they seem to be raw from her allergies, I will take a very small amount of Vaseline and rub it inside her folds. One trick I found when I would wipe her wrinkles is to not drag the washcloth past where the tear stains already are because it would cause them to run down further.

Although Saylor’s folds will never be completely stain free because of how deep her folds are, this method seems to work great for her! She has not needed the Tylan powder again but it is a great resource.
If your dog struggles with tear stains or sensitive folds, I would contact your local veterinarian and ask what your options are. While there are some great products on the market that may work great for other people, the Tylan powder really turned my pup’s folds around!

Madison Fisher is a student majoring in animal science. Growing up with dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, frogs and birds, she learned all about companion animals. When she got her first French bulldog, she had a lot of questions and a lot to learn. The Frenchie Journal talks about everything to take care of your pup!

5 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Tear Stains and Clean Face Wrinkles”

  1. I’ve found that tear staining is almost all related food your Frenchie is eating. Since I switched to a prescription canned Whitefish & Potato food my tear stains have completely gone away. If you can’t find a food that helps, I also suggest wiping your Frenchie’s tear stained areas morning and night with ReNu contact lens solution. My vet recommended ReNu because it is a very mild cleaner and antiseptic that you can use as often as you like without harming sensitive skin or eyes. I found it really helps a lot!!

    Bubba Louie, Pied Frenchie, Age 8

    1. I agree! Weston + Fira eat fresh cooked foods (and we omit ingredients they’re allergic to) and they’ve never had issues with tear stains (except Fira when she was a baby). I wrote about my experience on my personal blog

      Thanks for sharing your tips! It will be super helpful to others reading!!

  2. I had the same problem with my girl Lily until we installed a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system in our kitchen. I had been giving her bottled water but after getting the RO system the change was dramatic. The man installing the system noticed Lily’s tear stained face and told me they would clear up in a day or two and he was right. He said that bottled water had tons of bad microbes. It was so amazing. She never had that problem again.

    1. thank you for posting this informative article. Like Sherrie (see above comment), I got a reverse osmosis system recently and I give my little Cooper only that type of water and I’ve noticed his tear stain is not as prevalent as it was beforehand. 🐶

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