By Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4 No tags Permalink

Recently I learned the discoloration in certain areas on Harley are actually saliva stains on my dog. I first saw small traces about two months or so ago. It became more prevalent a few weeks ago, so I discussed this with their Doodle Doc…

Harley’s always been white! I’m talking typewriter paper white! Now he’s got these rust colored spots around his eyes and mouth…

Their vet said this is called “saliva staining.”

Saliva staining can happen to any part of your dog’s body that he likes to lick or chew, such as the fur on your dog’s feet or the fur around the eyes. While it’s harmless for the most part, there are some medical conditions that could cause excessive staining in your dog’s fur.  

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD (PetSafe)


Salvia (and tears) contain a substance called “porphyrins” which can stain white/light fur (hair) pink, red, or brown.

Porphyrin – 

is a naturally occurring substance in the tears and saliva and tends to show up as a pink/brown color where your pet has licked, dribbled or produced lots of tears. The discoloration from the Porphyrin is most obvious on light colored fur.


There are certain locations prone to stain due to porphyrins – 

  • beard
  • eyes (due to the secretion of tears)
  • feet
  • knees
  • body parts that cause your dog to lick constantly

Harley’s not a dribbler, but he does lick and during allergy season his eyes will even water.


There are many causes – 

  • dental disease
  • blocked tear ducts
  • inability to close ones mouth properly
  • too frequent grooming 

Yet none of these hold true for Harley.

Here’s your chuckle for the day; When I first noticed the discoloration around his mouth and then under his tail, I started thinking about his paternal (Cooper Red Poodle) genes. Could his lightish apricot coloring he had as a puppy be coming back now in his senior years? #truestories #pleasedontjudgeme

While this thought honestly crossed my mind for several days… 

…that was not the reason. #obviously


Seasonal allergies (the gift that keeps on giving) are the root of Harley’s porphyrin staining. When he experiences allergy flare-ups, he notoriously licks and gnaws on his rear-end, and now it looks like this…

When the environmental allergens are at an all time high, eye inflammation occurs which leads to excessive tear production as well. 

While I (like all of you) “do my part” sheltering in place these days, I’m determined to search for a more natural – holistic approach. My goal is to return his rear-end white again if possible, but I would prefer not to use medication. There is a possibility once this allergy season is over, and he’s gotten his summer cut, it may not be as prevalent. #believingindoodledreams

In the meantime, I would love to know if you’re either –

  • battling the same allergy issues
  • know of any suggestions that may help 

As we look for a remedy, his groomer does a Doodle*tastic job using whitening shampoo and conditioner…

But at the end of the day – if he remains “speckled” and healthy, we will keep on – keeping on!

From all of us here in Doodleville – please remain safe, healthy and wash those hands AND paws regularly!

  • Thomas Mason
    March 24, 2020

    What is a safer way to control my doodles bad breath???

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 24, 2020

      Believe it or not Thomas, I read (and tried it) that celery – yes celery – was a great way to freshen a dogs breath. It works well on Jaxson, Harley doesn’t like it – so he won’t eat it. If you think your Dood would chew it – and your vet is okay with it – give it a try. Here’s the link from the akc:
      Thanks for reading, come back soon.

  • Bill
    April 19, 2020

    I’ve read a lot about this in the past. From what I’ve read sweet potatoes in your dogs food causes the stain. Not saying that is the only source, but it has been fairly documented. So check your food out to see if its high in sweet potatoes.

  • NormanWilkes
    May 31, 2020

    What a lovely dog!

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