How to Make a White Dog White Again

By Catherine Holden Robinson

White dog owners understand that a white dog often doesn't stay that way for long. Your snow white princess might be fresh from the groomer, but an innocent trip outdoors can leave your dog looking immediately soiled. Tear stains and urine stains can leave your pristine pooch looking soiled and grimy, and without proper care, your dog's white coat, over time, can take on the appearance of an old, yellowed photograph.

Into the Tub

Kelly Lawrence/Demand Media

Dirt and debris are two of the leading culprits that can cause any dog to lose her show-ready appearance. Regular bathing can remove dirt and debris that may leave your dog's coat looking dull and dingy. If your dog's coat is particularly dull in color, or has yellowed, consider using a bluing shampoo. Bluing agents are added to commercially produced dog whitening shampoos to enhance the appearance of a white coat. The bluing doesn't actually whiten your dog's fur, but rather the blue hue is perceived by the human eye as white. Clarifying and bleaching shampoos are also available at pet product retailers, but read the ingredients. Some products contain harsh chemicals, that may improve the appearance of your dog's coat, but may dry or damage her tender skin. You also should be cautious about combining products. Using a bluing shampoo after a bleaching shampoo can leave your dog's coat blue instead of white.

From the Medicine Cabinet

Kelly Lawrence/Demand Media

Certain home remedies can help keep your dog's coat a pearly white in between bathing and grooming. If a trip to the tub isn't in order, consider using cornstarch to whiten your dog's dingy coat. Take your dog outside, or lay newspapers down on the floor to keep the mess to a minimum. Sprinkle your dog's coat liberally with cornstarch and massage it into your dog's fur. Brush your dog's thoroughly until no cornstarch sprinkles onto the paper. Add a bit of baby powder to keep your dog smelling as good as she looks.

Homemade Whiteness

Kelly Lawrence/Demand Media

A homemade concoction can help you keep your pure white pooch looking her best. Hydrogen peroxide can keep your dog's coat from taking on a sepia tone. Pour a small amount of peroxide on a clean rag, and gently stroke your dog as if you were petting her. Do not use peroxide near your dog's eyes. You can make your own shampoo to help whiten your dog's coat. In a gallon container, combine 22 ounces of Ivory dish detergent with 2 ounces of glycerin and 2 cups of white vinegar. Mix well and fill the remainder of the container with warm water. The advantage of using a homemade shampoo is knowing exactly what ingredients you're using on your best friend.

Tear Stains

Kelly Lawrence/Demand Media

Tear and urine stains can make your dog's face and bottom look grimy and give your dog an unkempt appearance. These stains may seem to appear almost immediately after bathing or grooming. Unless you want your white dog to spend her life in the tub or at the groomer, it's necessary to conquer these stains without bathing. Tear stains can be caused by genetics, excess tears or blocked tear ducts. You should visit with your veterinarian to rule out anything that needs medical intervention prior to tackling tear stains. Tear stain removal products are available at pet retailers. Never use anything around your dog's eyes that isn't formulated for that type of use.