How to Clean White Hair Around a Dog's Mouth

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Your pup looks beautiful after being groomed, but the white fur around her mouth can quickly become stained due to a variety of factors. Fortunately, with regular cleaning of the face, especially after meals and drinks, your pup's mouth will stay clean and fresh.

The white hair around a dog's mouth may get discolored.

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Stains around the eyes and mouth may affect dogs of all breeds. However, they are more noticeable in white-colored dogs, such as bichons, Malteses, white poodles, or Westies. To keep your dog looking her best, regular washing, wiping, and drying of the fur around the mouth will help keep stains at bay and prevent any clumps of food from building up and ruining your dog's appearance.

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Causes of dog brown saliva stains

Stains around the mouth are typically brown or red and are due to constant salivation and the oxidation of your dog's saliva. Artificial colorants in food and treats can also stain the area around your dog's mouth, as can some minerals in tap water. In addition, the stains can result from an accumulation of bacteria or yeast cells, which also contribute to the formation of tear stains in white dogs. That's because bacteria and yeast flourish in moist, warm areas, such as the fur around the mouth.

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Cleaning fur around the mouth

Stains around the mouth are typically brown or red and are due to constant salivation and the oxidation of your dog's saliva.
Image Credit: Carolyn Hebbard/Moment/GettyImages

To tackle stubborn stains on the white fur around your dog's mouth, start by bathing your dog with a whitening shampoo for dogs. These shampoos are specifically designed to remove stains from white fur and visibly brighten the fur too.

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During the bath, apply the whitening shampoo on the area around the mouth. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing the area well and drying it thoroughly. Between baths, use a pre-moistened pet wipe or baby wipe daily to maintain the cleanliness of the fur around the mouth.

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Homemade dog mouth stain remover

In addition to using a whitening shampoo regularly to wash the fur around the mouth, you can use items you probably already have in your home to clean the fur safely. One option is to dampen a paper towel with equal parts of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide and water. Use the dampened paper towel to clean the fur around the mouth. The peroxide is safe for use on your dog's fur and will help bleach away stains.

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You can also mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of boric acid and 1 cup of distilled water. Bring the solution to a boil and then cool to room temperature. Mix well and apply it to the area around the mouth. Allow the hair to dry and brush the fur thoroughly. Boric acid acts as an antiseptic and inhibits the growth of yeast cells and bacteria.

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Keep fur dry to stop stains

To prevent stains from forming in the first place, keep your dog's muzzle as dry as possible by wiping it with paper towels two to three times a day to prevent yeast and bacteria from flourishing and discoloring the fur.

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Using a dry dog shampoo not only keeps the fur around the mouth dry but can whiten the fur as well. Another option is to rub a sprinkling of cornstarch into the fur around the mouth. Then, thoroughly brush it out.

If keeping the area dry doesn't seem to help, check if your dog has a yeast or bacterial infection causing the stains. If the area around the mouth has a foul smell, the dog may have an infection that requires treatment. Take your dog to the vet for a suitable course of treatment.

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Prevention of stains around a dog's mouth

Bathe your dog with a whitening shampoo for dogs.
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Foods containing artificial colorants may contribute to the discoloration of the hair around your dog's mouth. While wiping your dog's mouth after each meal can help reduce these stains, switching to a food that has no artificial colors will stop the stains. You'll also want to filter your dog's water or give him only distilled water.

Invest in ceramic or stainless steel food and water bowls if you are currently using generic metal or plastic ones. Plastic can harbor bacteria, and certain metals other than stainless steel may get rusty over time, leading to mouth stains.

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