Why Is Your Bichon Frise Turning Brown or Pink?

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Why Is Your Bichon Frise Turning Brown or Pink?Aside from their playful nature, the bichon frise is well-known for their thick, beautiful double-coated fur. While bichons frise comes in cream or buff, white is the most common.

In any case, if you notice that their coat is turning pink and brown, it’s only natural to wonder what’s causing it.

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Is Your Bichon Frise’s Fur Turning Brown or Pink a Medical Issue?

While your bichon’s fur may turn brown due to normal bodily fluid excretion such as tears or saliva and food and dirt, there are times when their fur turns brown or pink due to a medical condition. For example, chronic eye infection or blocked tear ducts can produce heavy eye discharge, while dental issues prevalent in small breed dogs can cause excessive salivation. Both secretions contain porphyrins, which cause the fur to stain.

Your dog may also have yeast overgrowth, leading to skin and ear infections. Although some yeast dermatitis cases are mild, others are more severe, causing major discomfort and decreasing your pet’s quality of life.

In addition, some dogs have a deficiency in their immune system, making them unable to fight yeast infections and resulting in long-term issues. Conversely, immunosuppressive drugs, such as corticosteroids, may inhibit a dog’s ability to prevent yeast infections, resulting in a chronic yeast infection.

Why Is Your Bichon Frise’s Fur Turning Brown?

The fungus Malassezia pachydermatis causes yeast dermatitis or Malassezia dermatitis. It is a common cause of skin problems in bichons frises. Dermatitis, or skin inflammation, can result from an abnormal overgrowth of this yeast.

It is common for dogs with yeast dermatitis or allergies to lick their paws and legs, leaving a brown stain. After that, the yeast infection takes hold when the moist fur turns brown. The yeast thrives in areas where the fur is wet, such as the external ear canals, under the eyes, and in the areas around the lower jaws.

When it comes to white-haired breeds, brown staining is common, especially in bichons. Tear stains on their face could be a sign of an eye infection or a problem with their tear ducts, or they could simply be a sign of normal aging.

Ingestion of artificial colors from their food can stain their fur directly, but when they lick their lips, more can leak out and cause brown staining, which is more likely to occur. Daily walks in the fresh air are great for them, but their furs are dirt magnets.

How to Get Rid of Brown Spots on Your Bichon Frise’s Fur

Tear staining can be a cosmetic problem in some situations. However, they may be a sign of something more serious. Here are some ways you can get rid of brown spots on your bichon frise’s fur:

  • Use lukewarm water or a saline solution to help remove the stain
  • Maintain a clean and dry eye area to avoid eye infection by wiping any excess building regularly
  • A whitening paste can be made by combining a few drops of water with baking soda and thoroughly mixing them together
  • Apply the paste on the tear stain and let it for at least an hour.
  • Avoid getting the paste into your dog’s eyes. If the paste accidentally gets into your dog’s eyes, rinse them carefully with water.
  • If your dog’s body pH is too alkaline, add a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to its water every day; your dog’s body alkalinity will help prevent bacteria and yeast infections from reoccurring due to the treatment

In addition to the above, you might also read my detailed guide about how to deal with your bichon frise’s tear stains.

Why Is Your Bichon Frise’s Fur Turning Pink?

The staining, however, is not caused by yeast. Instead, your bichon frise will lick themselves to relieve the discomfort caused by the fungus, resulting in a pink or rusty stain from the porphyrin in their saliva. Porphyrins are excreted in tears, saliva, or urine as a byproduct of the body’s normal red blood cell breakdown.

Oxygen reacts with proteins in a dog’s coat to form reddish stains when licking parts of their body. These discolorations are natural and unavoidable to a certain extent.

How to Get Rid of Pink Spots on Your Bichon Frise’s Fur

If your dog’s fur has pink spots, there are many ways you can try to remove the discoloration or stains. The following are ways you can try to get rid of pink spots on your bichon frise’s fur:

  • Baking soda, a natural bleaching agent that will not harm a dog’s coat, can be used to remove particularly stubborn stains; brush the stain with a mixture of baking soda and water; clean with a damp cloth after it has dried
  • Repeat the process until the pink stain is gone; additionally, a paste can be made by combining equal parts hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia and applied to the stain; use a cone collar to keep your dog from licking the paste after applying
  • When you’re brushing your dog, sprinkle some corn starch on her as you go; corn starch is an oil absorber, a stain coverer, and an odor remover all in one; commercially available dog whitening shampoos are also available.
  • You can also use whitening shampoos to remove the pink stains; these products are now widely available, and you can even find products that are natural and free of potentially harmful ingredients for your dog; so if all else fails, they could be effective at removing pink stains

How to Prevent Your Bichon Frise’s Discoloration

You can prevent discoloration of your bichon frise’s hair by keeping their skin and coat as dry as possible. The skin and coats of your dog are ideal breeding grounds for fungi, especially if they are constantly wet.

Antifungal shampoos can also be used on a regular basis to help kill any fungus that may be growing. If you have any plastic dog bowls, you can switch to stainless steel ones and add a teaspoon of vinegar to your bichon frise’s drinking water. Following these simple steps to make the water more acidic and help get rid of yeast from your dog’s system

Finally, keeping the face free of porphyrin-containing tears is the most effective way to avoid most dog tear stains. That means trimming the facial hair and wiping the face with a slightly damp washcloth at least twice daily to dilute and wash away tears.


Discoloration in the hair of your bichon frise can be a source of frustration and worry. In addition, it will take a lot of time and effort to maintain their white coat. Aside from cosmetic reasons, however, caring for their coat can help them avoid medical diseases such as skin problems and yeast dermatitis – those will require you to visit a vet.

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