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dog parent must-knows

Why you should try a blueberry dog facial

Everyone’s favorite antioxidant is the perfect spa day ingredient for getting rid of pesky tear stains.

Updated November 2, 2020

Created By

Ali Wunderman,
Dog receives a blueberry facial

I need this. I deserve this.

What exactly is a blueberry facial?

A blueberry facial is a special dog shampoo derived from — you guessed it — blueberries. This can help decrease the appearance of tear stains in dogs while brightening their coats. It’s a hypoallergenic, tearless, and lick-safe option that naturally exfoliates as it cleans and hydrates.

Blueberry facials offer the benefits of antioxidants and vitamins A, D, & E to itchy skin, irritated skin, and even dogs that could benefit from a little pet cologne. They’ve grown in popularity recently — it’s like treating your dog to a spa day while addressing tear stains or enhancing coat color without having to visit a groomer. It can even be a calming experience when applied properly.

Whether you’re looking to clean up tear stains, apply a brightener to your dog’s coat, or just treat them to a special and relaxing spa experience, the blueberry facial is worth trying out. There are a number of ready-to-use products available on the market, or you can try your hand at making it at home.

A note on pet safety
Make sure to be extra careful around the eye, nose, and mouth areas are key to avoid any adverse reactions. Some products purchased through Amazon can be misleading, so consider triple-checking the label, or creating a DIY version at home (tips below on that) so you know exactly what you’re administering to your pup.

What causes tear stains

Not all dogs get tear stains, and the ones that do won’t necessarily have the same skin types or experience this condition for the same reason. Epiphora is the most common condition leading to tear stains, and it comes from excessive tear production and the inability to drain tears properly. Moisture from the tear buildup can lead to yeast infections on the skin beneath the eyes, which causes discoloration on your pet’s face.

Here are a number of other common causes:

  • Glaucoma. Built-up fluid in the eye.
  • Eye infections. These can result from viruses, bacteria, or even irritants.
  • Conjunctivitis. The lining of the eye becomes inflamed, leading to discharge.
  • Ingrown eyelashes. Certain breeds are more prone to this as it can be genetic.
  • Allergies. Typically, environmental, or related to food.
  • Shallow eye sockets. A trait seen in brachycephalic dogs, bulging eyes can prevent eyelids from closing properly.

👉 If excess tears are persistent or causing apparent discomfort in your dog, please seek the advice of a veterinarian.

These dog breeds are more prone to tear stains

White and light-colored dogs may show tear stains on your pet’s face more visibly, but all dogs can get them. That said, certain breeds are more prone to this condition:

  • Shih-Tzu
  • Pekingese
  • Maltese
  • Pugs, bulldogs, and other brachycephalic dogs
  • Poodle
  • Cocker spaniels are prone to both ear infections and imperforate puncta, a condition in which proper tear drainage does not develop

Washing your pet’s face with a blueberry facial for dogs is very similar to cleaning your own face as you would with a face wash or facial scrub — no need to be a pro groomer. Employ a rotating technique, using circular movements, to essentially “scrub” your pet’s face with the dog shampoo. The goal here is to focus on the fur itself, not on the skin, so it doesn’t need to be worked in too deeply. Available products and DIY options are created with sensitive eyes in mind, but still, be extra careful to avoid getting any of the blueberry facial material in the eyes.

🐶 While the ingredients are lick-safe, it is not advised to allow your pet to consume the facial.

Blueberry facial instructions — it’s really easy!

  • It’s best to head to the bath for a blueberry facial to avoid excess mess.
  • Wet their face (and any other part of the body you’d like to brighten and wash, like areas with irritated skin or dead skin cells).
  • Gently apply the blueberry facial to your dog’s face, carefully avoiding the eyes and mouth.
  • Massage your dog’s face in a relaxing manner, exactly as you would want it done to you.
  • Carefully rinse the material from your dog’s face and use a towel to dry them off.

Note that if your dog appears distressed at any point during their spa treatment, it’s better to cut the experience short to avoid panicking on their part. It is meant to be relaxing, after all.

Popular products for blueberry facials

Blueberry facial products are readily available on the marketplace, serving as dog shampoos, conditioners, and general dog washes. All of them should include ingredients coconut oil and blueberries (or blueberry extract), while some have added components like jojoba, aloe vera, and avocado. Just always remember to double-check the ingredients of whatever products you’re buying, making sure they’re safe for your dog’s face and skin.

Here are some of our favorite products:

One affordable option is the Lillian Ruff Berry Blue Brightening Face and Body Wash for Dogs and Cats, available on Amazon. It even comes in a gallon option if you have several dogs or anticipate giving them frequent spa days.

TropiClean offers a product specifically geared towards removing tear stains, as well as a coconut-based facial cleanser.

How to make your own DIY blueberry facial

If you want to try developing your own recipe at home to pamper your pup, this is a simple and fun alternative to buying pre-existing products.

  • At a minimum, you will need ¼ cup of blueberries (or blueberry extract) and ⅛ cup of coconut oil.
  • Add in jojoba, aloe vera, and avocado if desired.
  • Mash the ingredients together until they form a paste that you would feel comfortable using as a face mask or body shampoo on yourself.
  • This should take only a few minutes at most.

👉 Remember to exercise extreme caution around your pet’s eyes to avoid abrasions.