What Do Groomers Use to Get a Dog's Hair Really White?

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    A little blue is often enough to restore the white to your pooch's coat.

    A little blue is often enough to restore the white to your pooch's coat.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    When it comes to your favorite West Highland white terrier or bichon frise, keeping her white at home may be a challenge. Yet after a trip to your favorite groomer, she comes home sparkling and looking whiter than fresh snow. The secret ingredient most groomers use to remove the yellowish tint your dog may display is actually blue.

    How Does Blue Make White?

    Bluing shampoos work by adding optical enhancers to the strands of hair. The human eye perceives these enhancers as white, making your dog look bright and brilliant. In addition, the blue hides yellowing of the hair caused by urine or licking.

    When Blue Is Bad

    While bluing shampoo helps to restore the bright white color to your dog’s coat, too much blue can turn your pooch into a Smurf. Shampooing too often or with too much bluing shampoo can tint your dog’s coat blue or purple. Bluing shampoo is not designed for sensitive skin, so dogs with skin sensitivities may not do well with regular bluing treatments. If you are just looking for a way to spruce up your dog’s coat for a special occasion, a little baking powder can go a long way. Sprinkle some onto your dog’s coat, work it into the coat and brush it out. This is often enough to return the fresh white look.

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    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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