Whether you have a cute little Maltese or a fluffy American Eskimo, you know that nothing is more stunning than when your dog’s coat is bright and white. You also know that dogs don’t particularly care that much about aesthetics and are unlikely to be swayed from rolling in dirt on the grounds that it will make their fur dirty.
White dogs require a slightly different kind of upkeep than their brown, black, and multicoloured counterparts because dirt shows up more easily on their coats, and their fur can become dingy and discolored. There are a few ways to tackle the issue.
Pick up some specialty shampoo for your white pooch
In the same way blonde humans use purple shampoo to combat brassiness and ice out their tone in the shower between colour appointments, you can use specialty shampoo to keep your white dog looking nice and bright. The Hydra Whitening Shampoo is a favourite among white pup owners. It contains an optical brightener to take on yellowness in your dog’s fur, but no bleaching agents.
Quadruped Pet Care produces the Whitener Brightener Colour Enhancing Concentrated Shampoo, which works on all fur colours, but will make white ones extra bright. The company says it eliminates oxidation caused by air-borne pollutants, sun, and other outside factors, and the scent even reactivates when your dog gets wet.
No matter what you use, be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. Let shampoos with optical brighteners sit on the fur for five or so minutes after lathering your dog up, and consider following up with a brightening conditioner after you rinse.
Try DIY remedies for stained, dull coats
According to the experts over at Four Paws, you can also head to your own pantry in search of something that will brighten your dog’s fur. Baking soda is a natural bleaching agent that won’t damage the coat, for instance. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, then brush it onto any stains. When it dries, wipe it off with a damp cloth. You can repeat the process if the results aren’t perfect the first time, and follow up with shampoo.
Daily Puppy has another recipe you can try. Mix equal parts of medicinal 1% peroxide and milk of magnesia, then add cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until you have a paste. Put the mixture on any stains, let it sit for a few hours, and gently comb it out after it’s dry — but consider using a conditioner to soften it up first.
Try some preventative measures to protect the whiteness of the coat
You can get your dog some of those adorable little raincoats or ban them from going outside without a leash if you fear they’ll get muddy or otherwise gross, but that’s not super fair to the pooch, who probably loves (and deserves) a good roll on the filthy ground.
Still, there are ways to prevent major staining and discoloration. Any urine stain should be dealt with immediately, for instance, as they can set in and become harder to remove with time. A damp cloth should do the trick if you catch the urine early, but you’ll need to shampoo the spot — and let the shampoo sit for about five minutes — if you don’t.
Do some daily maintenance, too. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts water and dog shampoo, then spritz it on a warm, damp cloth and wipe down your pup. Do that every day to keep them clean between washes.
Treat tear stains with care
White dogs are also notorious for getting ooey, gooey tear stains around their eyes. These reddish-brown discolorations are kind of gross, and can build up in a way that’s uncomfortable for your dog. Per Kohepets, discolorations could be the result of a pH imbalance, food allergies, or minerals in the puppy’s drinking water. Try swapping out your dog’s food and observing any changes, then move to purified water.
Check with a vet, too, to make sure all is well for your dog, especially if tear stains pop up out of nowhere. If the dog is healthy, do some face grooming, which isn’t the same as what you do on the body with the special shampoo. Use doggie eye-wash and an eye wash wipe to tackle stains daily, so the gunk doesn’t build up.
Finally, keep hair around the eyes trimmed so it doesn’t irritate the eye and cause more tearing. Only do this part if you’re absolutely confident in your abilities with a scissor and your dog’s patience for staying still. If you are even slightly concerned one or both of you can’t handle this task, get to a groomer, who will know how to trim fur in the orbital area safely.