What To Do About French Bulldog Tear Stains? | How To Remove

French Bulldog tear stains. Photo of a French Bulldog with tear stains.

Is your French Bulldog having a lot of issues with tear staining? Below, you’ll learn about why that is, when to worry, and how to treat French Bulldog tear stains properly so he can put his best face forward!

French Bulldogs naturally have tear staining, which can appear red on Frenchies that have light-colored fur. While it looks like blood, it’s normal tear staining, so there’s nothing to fear. Treating tear stains is about regular hygiene and proper trips to the groomer.

Cause for tear stains on French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs are going to suffer from tear staining throughout their life. It is one of the most common problems with even the most attentive pet parents. Understanding the possible causes for it can help you minimize the frustration as much as possible. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Biological and genetic issues
  • Dietary concerns
  • Dirty facial folds
  • An underlying eye issue

Biological and genetic issues

If you bring home a French Bulldog, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to have an issue with tear staining. Since Frenchies are brachycephalic breeds, their eyes are further back in their heads than typical dogs, and they have squished faces. Both of these things combined lead to tear staining.

Genetically speaking, some Frenchie pups are going to struggle with it more than others. If both parents are “heavy stainers”, the pup will be too. Since staining is often a cosmetic issue, it isn’t necessarily a determining factor. Nonetheless, if it’s something that really bothers you, you can ask the breeder about it! They also may have more tips on how to get a handle on it too.

Dietary concerns

French Bulldogs who don’t eat a proper diet may struggle with staining more than others. If their diet lacks the right nutrients and is too high in fat or protein, staining, such as dark staining, will be more likely. If you notice a sudden increase in staining, you can bet your first check will be the dog’s diet!

Dirty facial folds

Since they have so many (adorable) facial folds, it’s easy for the skin to get irritated and start forming a build-up of natural oils and bacteria. It can lead to increased staining. It’s always a good idea to keep those folds clean so that any staining is minimal and remains light in color.

You may notice, too, that he struggles with staining after a walk or after being active on a hot day. Consider the option of cleaning out facial folds after exercise, or make it a habit on hot days to help minimize it as much as possible!

An underlying eye issue

In some cases, especially dark staining could be due to an underlying eye issue that needs attention. However, this will often combine with other symptoms such as colored discharge or increase picking at their eyes. If you suspect it might be an issue like that, it’s always a good idea to check with the vet, even if it’s just to rule it out.

What’s the difference between red and brown tear stains?

If your French Bulldog’s usual tear stains are brown, but you suddenly see bright red, it might be alarming. As a loving pet parent, it’s normal to feel a little nervous!

The switch from brown to red might be due to your Frenchie excreting his dead red blood cells! It is a normal part of his cycle, but it isn’t always noticeable. Perhaps you’ve noticed that sometimes the tear stains seem darker than expected, but not bright red. This event is because you most likely aren’t seeing the red blood cells secreting until after it has darkened on your dog’s fur.

If your dog’s eyes look fine, there’s no reason to believe that he has suddenly started crying blood. It is most likely his red blood cells. However, if his eyes appear crusty, or you are concerned about perhaps a case of cherry eye, it’s a great idea to take him to the vet and have him checked out just to be on the safe side.

How to clean a French Bulldog tear stains

Now that you’re up to speed on the potential causes of tear staining learning how to deal with it is a great idea! There are two ways that you can do it, of course: through a tear stain remover or natural options.

Since tear staining is so common, there are all sorts of tear staining products out there. One of the best is tear stain wipes. These are pre-moistened, so all you need to do is simply wipe them over your dog’s tear stains. These are chemical-free and are great for Frenchies, which tend to be prone to many skin reactions and allergies! 

Suppose you notice that your dog is dealing with a severe case of stained fur from previous staining (it happens from time to time). In that case, you can also go a little more heavy-duty with a safe, vet-approved dog shampoo. Massaging this shampoo into your dog’s stained area every few days will help loosen the stain from the fur’s follicles, and your Frenchie will be back to looking his best in no time. From there, proper use of wipes should help keep the fur stain-free. 

If you’d rather go all-natural, you can use a clean, gentle cloth with warm water and gently wash the area down. After you wash it, you’ll also want to pat it dry with a fresh, soft towel. It will take a bit more effort and time if your dog has a lot of staining.

In both cases, you’ll find that preventative care for tear staining is going to be one of the best ways that you can help your dog stay looking his best!

How to prevent tear stains with French Bulldogs

Helping stop tear staining before it happens will offer the easiest solution for pet parents who are especially concerned with their dog’s looks. As far as some general tips to focus on, some of the most common options are:

  • Keep the eye area clean and dry regularly
  • Wipe up tears and stains as soon as you notice them
  • Have him professionally bathed and groomed regularly

These will all help him look his best and feel his best, too, which will be a huge perk. As always, if you don’t find that it’s helping, or you’re concerned that there might be an underlying issue, a trip to the vet is always a great idea!

Tear staining with French Bulldogs can be a standard, lifelong issue, but getting on top of it is as simple as putting the tips to proper use! Know someone who will love to have this advice? Consider sharing this with them and spread the knowledge!


Tear staining can sometimes take on a darker color due to factors such as genetics, diet, cleanliness, and more. Understanding when it can be of concern and how to treat it is essential for long-term French Bulldog comfort and health.

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.