Red yeast stains on a light colored or white dog look horrible. The topic of staining recurs regularly in all toy breed forums and websites including those pertaining to the Havanese.
Like many of you, when faced with the issue of staining, I looked high and low for answers.
I found a wide range of thought and suggested solutions that range from Tums®, yogurt, and buttermilk added to the dog’s food; buttermilk paste, boric acid, Peroxide, and denture cleanser applied directly to the stains; or Angel Eyes and similar antibiotic-based products. Pretty much everything short of virgin sacrifice.
I bought and tried them all. The picture above is of things I’ve tried. This review is to tell you what worked.
The product that worked on my dog was Thomas Laboratories I-Stain kit. It contains a powder that can be added to food or dissolved in the dogs drinking water, and a liquid drop that is applied topically. You can buy the powder and drops separately as well.
Thomas Laboratories is a Tolleson, Arizona animal health laboratory founded in 1978 by pharmacist Steve Thomas. Bob Brady, is the company’s general manager and coordinates the efforts of a a team of microbiologists, nutritionists, and veterinarians who help develop natural, holistic solutions to animal health issues.
Thomas Labs approaches the issue of staining from the inside out, addressing the issue holistically rather than applying a cosmetic cover-up.
Red yeast stains can form under the eyes and around the mouth because excessive moisture there creates a hospitable breeding ground for the red yeast that causes tear stains. I-Stain takes a multi-pronged approach to the problem. Active ingredients calcium carbonate and calcium gluconate helps to elevate the dog’s pH making the moist areas less hospitable to the red yeast.
The company’s researchers found that dogs fed a raw diet are less prone to staining and that allergies to corn and gluten commonly found in dry kibble exacerbate the staining problem. For those dog owners that don’t feed a raw diet the lab added enzymes to the formula to help provide better digestion and offset the potential for allergies.
To boost the immune system and help dogs preemptively battle the mild eye infections that sometimes accompany staining the team’s microbiologists added probiotics to the I-Stain formula.
Brady points out that because this is a holistic formula it can take three to six weeks to see the full effect. My results took about a month. Because they elected not to include any bleaching agents Brady also explains that it will not clear the current stain and that should be trimmed out. One reason the Thomas team elected to exclude a whitening or bleaching agent is because all affected dogs are not white and discoloration occurs on dogs of other colors. Dark colored dogs can just as easily have red yeast staining albeit less visible.
The Thomas Labs I-Stain formula is notably free from antibiotics. Tylosin, is a broad-spectrum antibiotic licensed for the treatment of infections in livestock but not licensed for use in tear staining products. Numerous other tear stain products contain tylosin. Health professionals globally warn against the indiscriminate and casual use of antibiotics and have declared antibiotic resistance one of the world’s most pressing health problems.
Affordability was a driver for the Thomas Labs team as they compared other tear stain products. I give my 8-lb. Havanese 1/2 tablespoon daily of the I-Stain powder mixed into her food and 9 months in I’m not half way through the package. I’ve only used the drops maybe 5 or 6 times over the 9 months.
You can purchase Thomas Labs I-Stain with or without the I-Stain drops. The drops contain Nano non-colloidal liquid silver and can be used as a healing wash to quickly arrest yeast growth.
It’s important to mention at this point that there can be multiple factors causing tear staining. It’s advisable to check with your vet to rule out clogged tear ducts or other causes. I use a Lixit No-Drip Dog Bottle for Rory’s water so her face doesn’t turn into a big wet sponge.