Your white dog is as bright as a pearl when they’re fresh from the bath, but it seems nearly impossible to keep them that way. Dogs with white coats commonly have stains around their eyes, mouth and paws. These stains can make your dog look perpetually dirty, and make them look older than they really are. Though some staining is normal and may be inevitable, there are some things you can do to help keep your white dog’s fur clean and bright.
How To Get Rid Of Tear Stains
Almost all white dogs will have tear stains at some point. Most will have at least some staining around their eyes, starting from puppyhood.
Your dog’s tears contain porphyrins, a chemical compound that gives red blood cells their colour. As your dog’s eyes create tears that keep their eye clean and moist, an excess overflow of tears will cause porphyrins to build up around their eyes, creating that reddish brown appearance.
You may want to ask your groomer to keep the fur around your dog’s eyes short to help make it easier for you to clean the stains.
Exposure to allergens or bacteria may cause your dog to produce excessive amounts of tears. Always use a metal or ceramic food bowl, never plastic, and sanitize between meals. If you suspect your dog has allergies, contact your veterinarian for testing and treatment.
Some owners say that giving their dog filtered water helps, though there’s no solid evidence of this, it’s worth a try.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Tear Stains
You will find that plain water does little to clear away tear stains. It is safe to use ordinary saline eye wash or contact lens solution, applied with a clean tissue, cotton ball or cotton bud. The boric acid in eye wash and contact solution neutralizes the iron that causes the red discolouration.
For your convenience, use Petkin Eye Wipes to safely and gently clean tear stains.
How To Get Rid Of Stains Around Your Dog’s Mouth And Paws
Porphyrins are also present in your dog’s saliva, and will cause similar reddish brown discolouration around your dog’s mouth. You can use the same eye contact solution or eye wash to neutralize the stains.
If your dog has a habit of licking their paws, their paws may also take on a reddish brown colour. You may also notice stains around their stomach, at the base of their tail, around their anus and genitals. This is a sign that your dog’s skin is irritated, and they are licking excessively to relieve the itch.
White dogs are prone to skin irritation, and it’s commonly caused by allergies. Your dog may be allergic to an ingredient in their food. Common dog allergies include chicken, beef, dairy, corn, wheat and soy. If you feel your dog might have a food intolerance, their symptoms may clear up in a few weeks with hypoallergenic white fish and rice dog food.
Your dog may be allergic to something in their environment. They can be allergic to mould, dust or pollen, or a plant in your yard. It can be helpful to clear away possible allergens and to bathe your dog frequently. If you can’t deduce what is causing your dog’s red, itchy skin, you can visit your veterinarian for an allergy test.
Other Stains On Your White Dog’s Coat
Your dog might pick up grass stains or otherwise look dingy after playing outside. A special whiteness enhancing shampoo like Medipet White Coat Shampoo can be used no more than every 2 weeks to avoid drying out your dog’s skin and coat. It’s best to wash your dog once per month to allow their natural oils to condition their coat. Between baths, you can remove dirt and odours with Petkin Pet Wipes.
Some variations in your dog’s coat may actually just be their natural colours. The West Highland White Terrier often has a light brown stripe down its spine, which would disqualify them from a conformation show, but is perfectly fine, and impossible to remove. The Westie breed was originally bred with similar terriers in the same region, like the wheaten coated Scotties, so they can be genetically predisposed to having a brownish coat.