Keeping a white dog white can be quite the challenge. A single trip outdoors can result in all kinds of stains: dirt, debris, urine, saliva, and tears can all cause stains. If you're not careful about keeping your dog's fur clean it can soon end up yellowed like an old photograph—and that's not to mention the number of yeast and bacterial infections they can get without proper grooming.
Dealing with dirt and debris
There are many kinds of dirt and debris that can end up in your dog's coat, especially if you spend a lot of time in heavily wooded parks. You can deal with these stains with a simple combing and bathing process. If your dog's fur is particularly dull or stained yellow you should use a bluing shampoo(you should be able to find several types of bluing shampoo at your local pet store) to brighten their coat.
You can also buy bleaching shampoos at some pet stores but you need to be extremely careful with these as some have harsh chemicals. Read the ingredients thoroughly and double check with your vet if you aren't 100% sure a certain type of shampoo is safe for your dog.
Removing urine stains
Urine stains are another common problem for white dogs. You can deal with these by using an enzymatic or clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are quite harsh and should not be used frequently; when you do use these shampoos you absolutely must follow up with a high quality puppy safe conditioner.
You can also prevent urine stains by wiping the areas where these stains usually appear with a baby wipe immediately after coming inside.
Dealing with tear and saliva stains
These stains are most common in long haired white dogs and they often have a reddish-brown color which come from porphyrins, a type of pigment which can be found in dog saliva, tears and urine. Some dogs, especially smaller dogs, are prone to excessive tears because many generations of breeding for cuteness have led to these dogs having unusually narrow tear ducts. Their tear ducts are also often crooked, making the tears even worse.
If your dog's eyes are constantly weeping, itchy, or red, you need to take them to the vet. Yeast and bacterial infections can also cause staining in dogs(this staining is usually more brown than red) and these issues can only be treated with antibiotics.
If the only real issue is stains you can remove them with a product like our Natural Tear Stain Remover.
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Simply apply some of the stain remover to a cotton pad and wipe the stained areas carefully, always wiping away from the eye to avoid transferring bacteria. Wipe a second time to remove any crusty tears or anything that seems particularly stuck to your dog's fur. If your dog is especially prone to tear stains you want to do this about once a week.
Preventing tear and saliva stains
Removing stains from your dog's white fur is one thing, but it's better for everyone if you develop a grooming routine that prevents them. Keep excess fur around the face and mouth trimmed consistently and wipe both areas every single day with a wet cloth. You may also want to wipe their paws and stomach every day as they tend to groom these areas most, causing stains.
Your dog's diet may also be causing the poryphrins in their saliva and tears to increase. This happens when there is red dye in their food or an abnormally high concentration of iron in their water and it transfers to their saliva. Read the ingredients list on your dog's normal food thoroughly and if it includes red dye, switch to something else. Get a water filter for your tap. These should at least reduce the seriousness of stains when they happen.
Keeping your white dog's fur white means committing to a regular grooming routine, but it doesn't have to be an expensive one. And remember, if you notice any symptoms other than staining it's time to call the vet.