One of the biggest challenges in canine coat care is keeping white hair looking its best. White hair lacks any pigment in its makeup and is translucent. Our eyes perceive the “color” white because of the way light refracts off the hair shafts.
White hair by its very nature is often more porous than hair that contains pigment, and this causes it to absorb stains from the surrounding environment and begin to look dingy, gray, or most often, yellow. Thankfully, there are products to the rescue. Quality whitening shampoos work their magic in one of the following ways:
1. Removing stains from the coat- Some whitening shampoos contain special enzymes that work to remove stains caused by dirt and debris from the hair shaft. These enzymes actually digest protein deposits from the animal’s coat. When the stain is removed, the natural beauty of the white coat shines through.
2. Optical enhancers- The blue color found in almost all whitening shampoos is not there by accident. Most whitening shampoo formulas rely on some form of blue pigment in the product to help cover up any yellowing in the hair shaft and convert it to the blue spectrum of colors. By adding a hint of blue, the light reflected is perceived by human eyes as being white.
3. Shine enhancers-The perception of white is all about light. Adding products that produce shine to a shampoo that reduces stains and enhances white is like putting frosting on the cake!
Shampoos designed to whiten a dog’s coat can be irritating to eyes. Use extra caution when using a whitening product around the facial area. Should shampoo enter the eye, flush the eye with a gentle stream of cool water for several minutes. If the eye becomes irritated even after rinsing, seeking Veterinary attention is recommended. Whitening shampoos can also be drying to the coat and are not recommended for very frequent use. Overuse of shampoo’s heavy in blue pigment can, over time, cause a white coat to look dingy. For best results, keep a white coat clean with a basic, mild shampoo, and use a whitening shampoo when needed.