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
Dog Whitening Shampoo
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.
How Whitening Shampoo Works
There are several variations of whitening products, including:
- Optical Brightener
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 some 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. This process has been used in other human-used products such a teeth whiteners.
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.
Which Type of Whitening Products Work 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
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.