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Why Do Pets Develop Tear Stains And What Can Be Done?

Have you ever noticed how the fur beneath the eyes of your cat or dog can turn darker over time, perhaps becoming laced with streaks of red or brown? Eye discharge, more commonly referred to as tear staining occurs when your pet’s tears oxidize upon contact with air and are absorbed into the follicles, producing a change in color. On a molecular level, this is due to the breakdown of your pet’s red blood cells during natural cell division, producing the dye molecules known as prophyrins, which are excreted via the tear ducts whenever your pet tears up.

There are five main reasons why pets will tear up.

1. The first is pain, and especially so during the teething stage. Teething causes your pet’s mouth to ache, and just like a human child, your pet will respond to the painful sensation by producing tears. There is also more irritation and inflammation in your pet’s eyes at this stage of development so tearing will likely be often and excessive. Cats and dogs typically cut their
teeth several times per year during their first year of life.

2. The second cause of tearing in pets is infection. This can be either bacterial or viral. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine if either of these is the cause of your pet’s tearing. An eye stain test can determine whether tearing is caused by a scratch on the eye, or a bacterial or viral infection. If the test comes back positive for infection, the vet
will prescribe an ointment, eye drops, or an oral medication (sometimes a combination of all three is needed.) If tearing does not subside after the end of the treatment’s course, see your vet again for a second round or a different medication option. Using the Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio will help combat an infection, as it possesses antiseptic properties. It is
great to use in combination with your veterinarian’s prescription.

3. Thirdly, there is irritation. The chemicals contained within air fresheners, disinfectant wipes, perfumes, and other household products can be very irritating to animals, causing their eyes to drain. Irritation can also be caused by grass allergies, dust in the litter box, and other sources of air pollution. If you or your vet believe your pet’s tearing to be the result of environmental
factors such as these, your best recourse is to isolate and find an alternative for whatever is causing the irritation. If you cannot identify and/or remove the irritant, consider purchasing natural tears for your pet. Use the same kind as is sold in drug stores for humans, but not the kind that removes redness, as this type is actually an irritant to pets’ eyes. Natural tears
will help lubricate the eye and remove the irritants(s). This helps your pets eyes much like computer eye drops help human eyes, as irritation can often be attributed to a simple case of dryness.

4. The fourth cause of tearing in pets is allergies. Like humans, cats and dogs can be allergic to pollen, and experience seasonal allergies as a result. If you or your vet believe this to be the case, try minimizing your pet’s exposure to outdoor air on days when there is high pollen concentration. If this is not possible, such as when you need to take your dog out for a walk or to do his
business, consider using an infant’s version of Benadryl or using natural tear drops for humans. As always, talk to your veterinarian before beginning any medication regimen on your pet.

5. A fifth possibility is that your pet has developed a blocked tear duct, in-grown eyelash, or other medical eye problem that requires veterinary attention. If you are concerned that this may be the case, see your veterinarian.

What is the Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio?

Tear Stain Remover

Tear Stain Remover

By this time, you’ve seen several instances of the phrase “Anna Designer Pet” used in conjunction with “tear stain removal.” If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, or perhaps even if you are familiar with it, may be wondering, “How exactly does this Anna Designer Pet Trio actually work, and why is it any better than other tear stain removers on the market?” To answer this question, it is necessary to return to the issue of how tear stains are formed in the first place. But first, let’s discuss the Anna brand in general, and go over the component parts of its Tear Stain Remover Trio.

The Anna Designer Pet brand is Castle Baths’ natural pet grooming product line. The Trio is a collection of three natural, chemical-and-antibiotic-free products designed to remove tear stains from fur: a Face Shampoo, Face Wash, and Grooming Powder. First marketed in 2005, Castle Baths’ Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio has rapidly risen in popularity to become one of the world’s leading breeder-preferred and breeder-recommended natural tear stain remover on the market today for both cats and dogs. Developed by prize-winning Persian cat breeder Laura Thomas for her cattery, Purrinlot, it is now widely recommended by veterinarians and professional groomers. The Tear Stain Remover Trio comes in two sizes: a small trio, which contains one 12oz bottle of Face Wash, one 4oz bottle of Face Shampoo, and one 4oz jar of Grooming Powder, and a large trio, which contains one 12oz bottle of Face Wash, one 12oz bottle of Face Shampoo, and one 8oz jar of Grooming powder. The Large Trio is only a few dollars more than the Small Trio, and contains twice the volume of the Small Trio.
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How Does It Work

What separates the Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio from its mass-marketed competitors?

Hair Follicle Diagram

Hair Follicle Diagram

If you think back to the section on how tear stains are formed, you may recall the passage explaining that the stain-producing prophyrin molecules are secreted from the tear ducts and absorbed into the hair follicles surrounding the eyes. The key word to keep in mind here is “into” the follicles. Not on top of the folicles, but into them. This is because the source of each tear stain is actually buried deep within the inner layer of each follicle. If you look at the illustration to your right, you will see a diagram of a hair follicle shaft with its inner and outer layers. The Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio is the only tear stain remover on the market that is designed to work on the inside layer of the shaft where the stain originates. It accomplishes this via a three-step process:

Step 1: The Face Shampoo
The Face Shampoo is designed to work on the outer layer of hair. Those who are familiar with the structure of hair may recall that all hair follicles have a protective cuticle layer called keratin (see illustration to the right), which keeps the hair strand from splitting ends and prevents ordinary soaps and shampoos from penetrating into the inner hair shaft. When a tear comes into contact with the keratin on a hair follicle, and air, it oxidizes, weakening the keratin to the point where it seeps inside the follicle.
It’s like leaving an apple floating in a bucket of dirty water. Eventually, if the apple is left in the water long enough, some of the dirty water will erode the skin on the apple enough that some dirt gets inside the fruit. The stain, once inside the inner shaft of the hair follicle, causes a hard film to form overtop of the keratin. To continue with the apple analogy, once the dirt gets inside the apple, it has the effect of causing the apple’s skin to develop a hard texture as though it had been turned into a candy apple and baked in an oven. If someone wanted to remove the decayed spot inside the skin of the apple, he or she would first have to break apart the candy coating. This is essentially what the Anna Designer Pet Face Shampoo does. By breaking up the hardened, oxidized layer of stain obscuring the keratin, it allows the Face Wash and Grooming Powder to begin working on the deeper layers of the stain.

Step 2:The Face Wash
The Face Wash is actually what removes the visible stain. If you were forced to select only one product from the Trio, this would be the one to choose. It can remove stains more effectively than other solutions and does so without stripping the hair shaft. However, even with the oxidized coating over the keratin dissolved, it will require several washes to remove a stain that has been building up for a long time. A single visible stain is actually composed of multiple, microscopic layers of stain that have darkened (oxidized) over time. A dark stain that has been on your pet’s face for a long time may easily have hundreds of layers of stain built up. Therefore, if you used nothing except the Face Wash to wash your pet’s face, and only washed it once per day, it would take hundreds of days to see results. The more often you use the face wash, the better the results will be.

Step 3: The Grooming Powder
Fortunately, this is exactly why there is a third product bundled with the Face Shampoo and Face Wash in the Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio: the Grooming Powder. Using the Grooming Powder after applying the Face Wash can speed the stain removal process up tremendously. Using the Grooming Powder after you have removed a layer of stain with the Face Wash, and patted the area dry with a cloth will help keep new stains from entering the follicles, as well as act like a makeup for your pet. But what truly makes this product exceptional is its ability to penetrate the hair shaft and push the stain outward so it can be wiped away by the Face Wash.

Be sure to pat your pet’s face dry with a cloth or tissue before applying the Grooming Powder. Otherwise, the powder and Face Wash will blend into a gravy-like consistency and smear all over your pet’s face. The best way to apply the grooming powder to your pet’s face is with a makeup brush, as this will allow it to work into the various layers of the hair. Since human skin is naturally oily, using your finger to apply the powder is not recommended, and using a cotton ball or swab will only apply the powder to the outer layer of the hair. Once applied, the grooming powder will begin to work its way inside each hair folicle affected by the stain and push the deepest layers of the stain outward. Once it has removed the stains origins inside the follicle’s inner shaft, the remaining stain layers can be more easily wiped away the next time you use the Face Wash. It is for this reason above all others that the Grooming Powder is included in the Trio. The Grooming Powder is, in essence, the Tear Stain Remover Trio’s secret ingredient.

So, as a summary of how the Grooming Powder is so effective, and different than most others on the market, it will:
• Act as a cover like makeup so your pet’s face is prettier
• Protect your pet’s fur from new stains by helping the tears roll off the follicles rather than into them
• Help push the stain out of the hair follicle so that it can be easily wiped away with the Face Wash.

How Long Does It Take

The time period it will take to completely remove a stain from your pet’s fur depends on how long the stain has existed (since stains build up over time) and the color of your pet’s fur. Some fur colors will clean up quicker than others. Cats and dogs with dilute colored fur have small cells comprising their hair follicles, so they are naturally more resistant to deep stains than those with dominant color. Cats and dogs with white fur are actually masking a gene for either dilute or dominant coloring. The best way to know if your pet’s coat is dilute or dominant is to ask your breeder. This is analogous in humans to when a natural blonde dyes her hair red. Because blonde hair cells are naturally small, the larger red dye molecules can’t penetrate the keratin coating and thus, just adhere to the outer layer of each follicle. Therefore, a layer of the red dye is washed off with each shower, and the person’s hair returns to blonde within about three weeks. However, if a brunette were to bleach her hair blonde, it would take much longer to reverse the process. The small blonde dye molecules would easily penetrate the spaces between the larger brown hair cells and take hold in the inner hair shaft, causing the brunette to need to grow out her hair before she could restore her natural hair color.

Interesting Product Tidbits

• The Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio is completely natural (no antibiotics or chemicals used in its formulation)
• It is clear/colorless and tearless (some colored tear stain removers will themselves cause staining because of the dyes used to color the liquid)
• It is safe for use on puppies and kittens as young as 3 weeks
• It is made with edible ingredients, and is safe to use around the mouth and eyes
• It is safe to use 12 times or more per day
• It is safe to use on the paws and around the rear end
• It removes stains at their source rather than simply masking their appearance.

Some Final Grooming Tips

1. If your pet is tearing up, ask your veterinarian about baby aspirin. Professional breeders of Persian cats use baby aspirin during teething to reduce inflammation as well as tearing. Please do not use this as a treatment option without first discussing it with your veterinarian.

2. Vitamin C helps decrease tearing. If your dog is tearing, but is not in the teething stage (or even if he or she is teething) you can try giving frozen green beans as a treat. Be sure to only use frozen green beans as opposed to canned ones, as canned green beans are often filled with preservatives and salt, which are not good for pets. Frozen green beans are also an effective pacifier for puppies who are teething. Do not do this with cats, however, as cats cannot process Vitamin C.

3. Try to avoid getting the Grooming Powder into your pet’s eyes. The Face Shampoo and Face Wash, however, are tearless. The Anna Designer Pet Tear Stain Remover Trio can be used effectively on any color or type of fur. But remember they are designed to work together, so you need to use all three in the order specified for best results.

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Tear Stain Removal

If I notice any staining starting to occur, I start off using Castle Baths Anna Natural Tear Stain Remover System. This method always works for me. (I know – a Cat? This product is appropriate for Dogs too!)