Best Whitening Shampoo for Dogs

Dog whitening is a very common request for professional groomers, and something I get asked about daily. Here's our big secret: we groomers simply use premium whitening shampoos to get your dog's coat looking pristine again. I know... not much of a secret.

BUT, we have tried all the popular brands of whitening products and found which ones work the best, and which ones work good enough for anyone on a budget.

Quick Glance: Best Whitening Shampoos

Full review of each whitening shampoo down below

Types of Stains

The most common stains we see are drool stains, pee stains (from unfortunate misfiring), and stained paws from licking or going on adventures. All of these can be cleaned up with a little special product.

But first you need to be aware that whitening shampoo will not remove tear stains, in fact you can cause serious irritation to the eyes, so you must avoid using any whitening product on or around your dog's face. It's a simple mistake that many owners make, and just needed to be clarified before we move on.

shampoo for white dogs

How Whitening Shampoo Works

There are several variations of whitening products, including:

  • Bleaching
  • Dyeing
  • Bluing
  • Optical Brightener
  • Enzymatic

Bleaching and Dyeing are self explanatory, however they can be permanently damaging and should be very carefully used. Typically this method is only used for professional show dogs, and by owners who have been specially trained in this procedure. We won't be covering bleaching in this article since there are too many risks.

Enzymatic is an enzyme used ​for breaking down proteins caught in your dog's coat that are causing discoloration, and is most commonly used for removing urine, blood, and drool stains.

Optical Brighteners enhance the visibility of whiteness, and reduces visibility of yellow stains or discoloration by making use of Fluorescence, which converts invisible UV light into visible blue light. These types of brighteners are also used in laundry detergents or plastics to make them appear whiter. Don't worry, brighteners pose no danger to your dog or skin, although some individuals may have an allergic reaction.

Bluing does not remove stains, but uses a vibrant purple or blue coloration to create optical enhancers and the illusion of brighter and a whiter coat. However, overuse of blueing can cause your dog's coat to be dyed a slight blue or purple color, so use sparingly.

removing stains from white dog fur

Which Type of Whitening Product Works Better?

The most effective (and safest) brightening shampoos will actually use various combinations of Enzymatic, Optical Brighteners, Bluing, and Cleaning agents. It's a team effort that cleans and whitens at the same time. Take a look at the following reviews to see which ones are the best whiteners on the market.

How to use Whiteners

This is important: every whitening product has different instruction - so Read The Label. Nearly all whitening shampoos need to be diluted to some level (some as many as 50 parts water to 1 part shampoo!).

If you don't dilute whitening shampoo your dog's coat will be dyed purple/blue, and you may cause skin irritation and dryness.

For most standard applications you simply dilute the shampoo as per instructions, get your dog's coat damp, and apply the shampoo for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

For really stubborn stains you can alter the dilution to make a slightly stronger solution and apply directly to the stained area, but do not try this until you've used your product at least once as per instruction to gauge it's strength. And be careful not to make it too strong, as you may cause dyeing and irritate their skin.

How Long Does Whitening Last?

Ideally, until your dog's fur becomes stained again from licking, adventuring, or other unfortunate means. Therefore, the best long term use of whitening is just preventing your dog from "re-staining" themselves (which is easier said than done!). Most often this involves some more tightly shaved grooms, or simply training to stop licking or rolling in grass so much.

Based on my experience with clients, whitening typically lasts 4 weeks until they begin to notice more stains coming in. But it varies based on your dogs habits.

The Best Whitening Shampoos

kong-rubber-flyer-review

Our Rating:

What is it?

Optical Enhancement

Blueing Agent

Cleaning Agent

If you were to visit my grooming shop you would notice one thing about how our shelves are stocked: we use a lot of Chris Christensen. And for good reason, they make very, very good products for a great value, and White on White in no exception.

White on White uses a combination of Optical Enhancers and Blueing to create a brilliant white shine, along with cleaning agents to neutralize unwanted stains. It's highly concentrated, but very gentle on coats, making it easy to work with. What makes it our top pick is the consistent results, it whitens every time.

White on White is what I would always recommend groomers and pet owners try first, as it's easy to use and very forgiving with mistakes.

Pros:

  • Very effective at whitening without harmful bleach or peroxide.
  • Very gentle on coats, making it easy to work with.
  • Covers urine and drool stains better than other products.
  • Cleans and whitens at the same time.
  • Smells nice, but not overpowering.

Cons:

  • More expensive than other whitening products.
groomers-edge-alpha-white

Our Rating:

What is it?

Optical Enhancer

Blueing

Deodorizer

White Magic comes in a close second, and some argue that it even whitens slightly better than Chris Christensen's White on White. So why is this in second place? It's very expensive in comparison, for just slightly better results.

The high level of concentrated blueing create a brilliant snow white shine. It absolutely works with consistent results, and is very gentle on coats. At this time White Magic is still a fairly niche product to most consumers, but very commonly used with show dogs and is considered one of the best whiteners on the market. 

Furthermore, it's gentle on their coat, and replenishes essential oils as it cleans and whitens. White Magic is a very high end product that many show dog owners swear by, and would argue the extra cost is worth it.

Pros:

  • Very effective at whitening.
  • Covers urine and drool stains.
  • Cleans and whitens at the same time.
  • Very concentrated (32:1), so you get a lot out of a single bottle.
  • Smells nice but not overpowering.

Cons:

  • Expensive, high-end whitener.
groomers-edge-alpha-white

Our Rating:

What is it?

Optical Enhancer

Blueing

Deodorizer

Groomers Edge AlphaWhite is another fantastic whitener, and is a very good value. However, we found this whitener is definitely more harsh with depleting the natural oils in your dog's coat (causing a dry coat), therefore you'll need a good moisturizing conditioner to use afterwards.

Although a single bottle is expensive, the very high concentration means a bottle will last for a long time, making this a good value compared to other brands.

Being that this shampoo can be harsh on your dog's coat, I recommend diluting this even more than the suggested amount of 32 to 1 for your first use. After knowing how your dog's coat reacts to the product, slightly adjust the dilution amount to reach the level of white you desire.

This is a balancing act - trying to find the perfect dilution to avoid a dry coat vs. getting the whitening you desire.

I also recommend a strand test: where you pick a small spot on your dog's coat to test the effects of the shampoo, and ensure there is no adverse reaction (before applying it to the entire coat).

Pros:

  • Very effective at whitening
  • Covers urine and drool stains.
  • Cleans and whitens at the same time
  • Very concentrated (32:1), so you get a lot out of a single bottle.
  • Smells nice, but not overpowering.

Cons:

  • May several applications to get desired "whiteness".
  • Causes dry coat - must use with a moisturizing conditioner.
groomers-edge-alpha-white

Our Rating:

What is it?

Blueing / Purpling

Cleans as it Whitens

Super White is good - but not great. It certainly does whiten decently enough (although not as good as the ones listed above), and comes in at a similar price to it's competitors.

Bio-groom simply has a low concentration (4:1) of blueing/purpling agents, and therefore isn't quite as effective. For dogs that have light stains this can certainly get the job done, but if you're looking for the best shampoo on the market, you may want to consider one of the ones listed above.

That being said, this shampoo does have a whitening effect, smells nice, and is very gentle on coats, leaving coats feeling moisturized and "fluffy". For many owners this can work quite well, but for those working in grooming shops or dealing with very tough stains - you'll need something a little stronger.

Pros:

  • Decent whitening.
  • Cleans and whitens at the same time.
  • Smells great.

Cons:

  • Low concentration means it may not whiten as well as other products.
  • May take several applications to get desired whiteness.

Want Me To Try Out Other Whiteners?

Did I miss a whitening product that you want my opinion on? Let me know in the comments below, or just ask me all your burning questions about whiteners and I'll answer them the best I can. Whiteners is a hotly debated topic with dog groomers, and something we talk about often - this selection is based on my own personal experience, but I would love to know what yours has been.

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