Sometimes dogs and cats cry. It’s not that they’re sad about the cancellation of their favorite Joss Whedon show or that they are thinking about the squirrel that got away, just that their tear ducts are producing too many tears. What happens next is a sight familiar to many dog owners: tear stains under the eyes. According to veterinarian John Angus, the moisture on the skin allows for the growth of benign bacteria and yeast, which in turn causes the fur to stain reddish-brown. It’s mostly aesthetics. Says Angus, “For most pets, this (the tear staining) is solely a cosmetic issue for owners.” And with so many pet owners concerned about their pets’ tears, a large market has emerged for products that promise to remove the tear stains. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cracked down on the people who manufacture these products because the products contain antibiotics and have not been properly tested. Here’s the explanation from the FDA: “These products, including Angels' Eyes, Angels' Glow, Pets' Spark, and exported products Glow Groom and Health Glow, have not been reviewed by FDA for safety and effectiveness. These tear stain removers also contain the medically important antibiotic tylosin tartrate, which is not approved for use in dogs or cats, nor for the treatment of conditions associated with tear stains. (The) FDA has serious concerns about unapproved animal drugs. Unapproved animal drugs are not reviewed by FDA and may not meet FDA's strict standards for safety and effectiveness.” Angus echoed the FDA’s thought process, explaining, “The FDA and my colleagues have no question these products (that remove tear stains) do what they advertise, otherwise people wouldn't be continuing to buy them. However, there's a general concern for pets, as there is with people, about over-usage of antibiotics.” He was careful to note that he didn’t think there would be a problem, but understood why the FDA made the decision it made. For pet owners with crying dogs, traditional solutions are still among the best options. Soap and water is somewhat effective and pro-biotics have seen promising results. Additionally, vets have special veterinary products such as Douxo pads that can be very effective for removing stains. It’s best to talk to your vet about the right way to deal with your pet’s tear stains.