White Whites!!!

All, another response based on my going through "stale" threads. hope this helps some of you.

Keeping these guys' whites white can be quite a challenge 8O . Whitening is an ongoing grooming activity and needs to be addressed during both routine grooming/cleaning and periodic bathing.

Periodic bathing is the easiest to review so it is first. I have found that a two step approach is the most effective :D . Bath your dog as you normally do using your shampoo of choice. If the whites are especially dirty for some reason (spring rains and mud, summer grass stains, fall rains and leaves, grit and salt from winter roads, etc, etc., etc., :roll: ) make sure to use extra shampoo and work it in really really well. (Always work the shampoo in the direction of coat growth only. Going "against the grain" will result in a huge matted mess. :cry: ) A fine "jet" stream from the spray bottle will help get the shampoo deep into the coat before you begin working it into a good lather. This extra heavy shampooing should remove all the dirt and may well remove some of the staining on the whites. Now rince your dog really well to ensure that all the shampoo is out and the coat is again thoroughly wet down to the skin. These guys are really water resistant and will actually repell the water while the are being bathed
Now comes the second step. Using a dedicated whitening shampoo rewash the white areas. There are a huge variety of whitening shampoos from which to choose. If you are using a dog shampoo for the regular cleaning, chances are that the same company makes a whitening shampoo and that should be your first try. Whitening shampoo from the same brand name as the general cleaning shampoo should ensure compatability and prevent any irritating or allergy triggering reactions.
If, like me, you use a good quality human shampoo for regular bathing you are free to try any whitening shampoo as your first choice. I have had particular success with Cardinal Gold Medal Blue Diamond Shampoo. (It never ceases to amaze me that a blue concoction can make things brilliantly white.) Apply the shampoo and work it in thoroughly and in accordance with directions let it sit for a time. Cardinal recommends 5-10 minutes so I give it at solid 10 minutes and often 12-14 for good measure. Once it has "worked" for the recommended time rinse the coat clear of shampoo and complete the bathing with a light conditioning treatment. Virgil's white coveralls absolutely gleam in the ring when he has been bathed this way. (The whites can be conditioned as they are naturally a softer coat texture than the grizzle but be cautious not to soften the grizzle coat if you are showing. If you don't show your dog and you like a softer coat you can condition the grizzle just like the white.)
Make sure the coat is thoroughly dried before letting your now clean Bobtail loose. Wet coats stain incredibly quickly and those stains seems to set in more persistantly if the coat is wet when stained. (Small brag here: While waiting to be judged in group competition earlier this year the handler of a Sheltie which had a particularly white "bib" asked me how I got Virgil's whites so bright!! 8) It is great to get acknowledgement from peers even though the judge passed on us!)

Daily whitening can be accompished in a number of ways. Around the beard area which typically gets very wet while drinking and stays at least damp the white beard can stain from pink to a dark brown depending on how "wet mouthed" the dog is, how much water he/she gets and how sloppy an eater he/she is. After brushing out the beard and affected upper chest area the coat can be sprayed with a hydrogen peroxide or lemon water solution. I like the peroxide for speed and "intesity" of results. Be cautious though not to wet the coat down to the skin as peroxide will dry the skin and may even cause burning if enough gets on the skin directly, especially if there is food debris or dirt on the skin with which it will react. Once the peroxide has finished reacting with the dirt (foaming and heating stops) rince the area with a damp face cloth and dry thoroughly. The beard will now be free of food debris and much whiter than when you started. If the coat is not quite dry enough corn starch is a good addative. It both dries any remaining moisture and whitens the hair.
Less drastically baking soda mixed with a bit of water to form a paste and then rubbed into the stained white areas will help remove stains. This will not be as aggressive or ultimately effective in removing large or dark stains as the proxide but it is gentler and less damaging to the skin. And it doesn't heat up like peroxide which can be distracting to the dog.
Alternatively if the coat is essentially clean a variety of chalks are available where you purchase show supplies. These are proprietary blends of chalks ground to very specific size distributions for use in the ring. They do NOT clean to any significant degree but rather mask stains.

Of course prevention is far better than cure so limiting your dog's access to mud, cow patties etc will substantially help in keeping him/her crisp and clean. Although by the perverse laws of nature they are only interested in these things when clean :roll: !! Once dirty these items are of absolutely no interest whatsoever. Of course anything more than a few days following a bath will result in beard staining from food and water but this is again part of life with these boisterous clowns and fawning over them just keeps us in our place. :lol:

Hope this helps a bit. Feel free to ping more questions if you need more detail or explanations.

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I use human shampoos too, however, last time I used Dove, which I love for myself, and thought it would be good for the dogs, left Dancer a matted mess! (I combed her out before her bath and she was completely mat free) I was so frustrated! Then I went out and bought Loreal Kids Detangler, and am in love with the stuff, it is a leave in spray, but it is light and doesn't weigh down the coat. I used it for this emergency situation, however won't be using it on a regular basis because no doubt it would eventually leave a residue.
Tonight I need to bath Sky, but she is still in puppy coat, so it is a stress free grooming session. LOL
I use whitening shampoo on my "Maltese" and when I haven't used it in awhile ...I can totally tell the difference. I was told by show breeders that it is harsh on their coat, so it should be used every other bath.

Then I use expensive salon conditioner (deep conditioner - Redken) every other bath. Herbel Essence conditioner the times in between.

I saturate her in mink oil spray afterwards, which is said to give the show quality silky coat (for my dog). Use a kid's detangler during the week during daily brushing. :)
I use a regular shampoo for long haired breeds, it does a great job for me. Once I tried human shampoo, Herbal Essence, because I thought it might make her hair soft and flowing :lol: . Turns out she was greasy and just yucky a few days later.
Another time while she was a little mated I tried Human conditioner and oh my, she had never looked worse.
Now i stuck to regular old doggy shampoo.
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