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Albuquerque VetCo

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Don’t Dye Your Dogs Do!

dyed-dogA purple dog is not only a bad fashion statement but a bad idea too!

Hair dye and pets do not mix! Yes some find it cute and will even compare their pup to a ball of cotton candy but that does not mean it is healthy. Hair dyes are designed for people not pets.

Also there are no hair dyes specifically made for dogs.

Officially there is no real safe way to dye your pet as as there have been no studies to show if there are any long terms effects. Due to the toxic chemicals (ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) in the dye it can hurt your pet’s skin or even undermine their health (if they lick their coat during or after, thus ingesting the toxins- leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or worse).

Think a little about it… when a person dyes their hair it is only a portion of their bodies that get exposed to the chemicals. But when it is a dog, it must have its entire body covered in hair dye. That means the dye can get into the dog’s mouth, eyes, and ears! Also consider the fact that the dog did not ask for it, does not understand why it can burn or irritate the skin nor will it likely see the results as they are “color blind”. Normally they do not like it because it is unnatural for them. The dog has no control over how it looks and it cannot do anything about it. To be honest not many people like to see dogs covered in hair dye either – so the popular excuse is out. So why not enjoy their natural beauty?

If you really would like for your dog to be pink anyway then avoid hair dye marketed for humans to dye your dog’s fur.  So follow these steps to dye your dog in a way some consider OK.

  1. Food coloring (needs to be something that is safe for the dog to lick and ingest) is the best choice. However unsweetened Kool-Aid is also a possibility- but may cause your dog’s fur to become sticky and uncomfortable. And above all NEVER use bleach or box dyes!
  2. Mix the food coloring or the Kool-Aid with fresh water at room temperature. For a small dog you can fill a bath with the colored water, but for a larger dog better put the colored water into a squirt bottle.
  3. Saturate the dog’ fur with the colored water -be sure to get all surfaces fully wet. Use a dog comb or brush to work the colored water through the fur and above all be careful not to get the food coloring in his eyes!
  4. Put the dog on some old towels or newspapers while you wait for her to dry since the colored water drips off the fur while drying.


Please remember though humans can make the decision to dye their hair – dogs cannot. Consider your dog and avoid dying their fur.

If you have dyed your dogs hair and notice lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or any behavior that deviates from their normal, please contact your vet immediately.