How Do I Get Red Iron Stains Out of My Dog's Fur?

Iron stains are especially noticeable on dogs with white fur.
Iron stains are especially noticeable on dogs with white fur. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Iron stains are among the most difficult to remove, particularly when iron is in the fur of an uncooperative dog. The most common cause of red iron stains is a fungal growth in the dog's tear ducts. This results in the black or red tear stains that are particularly noticeable on white dogs.Consult with your vet before you attempt to remove them, because the vet may want to prescribe a medication. Dogs' fur may also be stained when they come into contact with rusty metals. Typically, these stains can be quickly removed with baby oil and a clarifying shampoo.

Things You'll Need

  • Tear wipes
  • Baby oil
  • Clarifying shampoo

Take your dog to the vet, if the iron stains are caused by tears from your dog's eyes. The stains are likely caused by a fungal infection that must be treated with a prescribed medicine. Follow your vet's directions, which may require that you wash the dog with an antifungal shampoo. Don't try to remove the stains on your dog's face until you've finished the treatment recommended by your vet. You may inadvertently exacerbate or spread the infection if you rub your dog's eyes before completing the treatment.

Wipe your dog's eyes with tear wipes. These remove iron stains without irritating the tender skin around your dog's eyes. You can purchase these at most pet supply stores.

Apply baby oil to iron stains that have been caused by contact with rust. Pour baby oil onto your dog's fur and wipe with a dry cloth. Repeat the process again, this time wiping the stain with a wet cloth.

Use a clarifying shampoo on particularly stubborn iron stains. This shampoo should never be used on the eyes or near the face and will only work well with stains that have not been caused by a fungal infection. Clarifying shampoos designed for humans are perfectly acceptable, though many pet stores also sell stain-removing, clarifying shampoos for dogs.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your dog gets frequent fungal infections in its eyes, ask your vet to drain your dog's tear ducts.

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  • "Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats"; Richard Pitcairn, et. al; 2005
  • "What's Wrong with My Dog?"; Jake Tedaldi; 2007
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