Dog Fur Dye - What You Must Know About It

Using dog fur dye has always been a fascination among some pet owners.

As the pet industry expanded, we've moved past clothing alone. Now that also includes hair curlers, temporary tattoos, bows and bandanas, and pet dye.

Dying the hair of dogs is not a new trend, but rather one that's coming back.

Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are many things you must consider, especially the safety of these chemicals and their effect on dogs' skin and coats.

In this article, we are going to discuss the safety, tips, and brands you can consider should you pursue giving your pooch a hair makeover!

A dog's before and after getting a hair dye job photo

Is Dog Hair Dye Safe?

Before we proceed any further, let us get this out of the way—veterinarians and dog experts generally do not recommend using dog hair dyes in any shape or form.

Some dyes can cause severe allergic reactions in dogs.

They may even sustain burns and/or be poisoned by toxins present in dyes.

Plus, the whole hair dye process can stress your pooch out!

However, these days, there are pet-safe dyes already available in the market that pet owners can choose from.

All dog owners must know which products or materials/ingredients are safe for pups to use.

Make sure that you are familiar with the specific ingredients in the product, the process to properly and safely dye your dog's hair, and keep your pooch and their skin and coat away from harm during the whole process.

If you are familiar with all the possibilities, you are more likely to be able to dye your dog's hair (or, better yet, decide not to do that) without harming your pup.

Why dye your dog's fur?

For most pet owners, dying their pet's fur is mostly for aesthetic purposes. It makes their pets look unique, cuter, and Instagram-worthy!

Just look at this dog made to look like a white tiger.

White dog dyed with black stripes to made it look like a white tiger

Some are to prepare their dogs for the occasion, like on Halloween, during the Pride parade, or for Valentine's—you name it.

If there's a dog costume contest, what white cloth with holes for eyes and nose would win over a dye job, right?

This is why temporary or semi-permanent dyes for dogs are more popular among pet owners to use than permanent ones.

Poodle dyed with rainbow colors for Pride parade

Dog-Safe Hair Dye for Your Pet

Not all dog hair dye is safe for use on pets, especially human hair dyes.

A human hair dye is filled with ingredients that may be toxic to dogs.

At best, it can permanently damage the dog's fur and skin. While at worst, it can potentially cause short-term and long-term health issues, including death if the dog licks the toxic product.

Top Performance pet fur dye

There are a few brands that are specifically meant for use in dogs (which we will cover later on,) and these are your best options.

Make sure to avoid dog hair dye with extremely harmful chemicals and check their ingredients before attempting to apply it to your pet.

Stay away from things like P-phenylenediamineResorcinolLead acetate, and Toluene.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to dog fur dye brands like Top Performance or Owpawz that meet the standards of the Personal Care Products Council or P.C.P.C, which sets the safety standards and recommends certain pet products based on their analysis of ingredients.

Your Dog's Safety Should Be Your Top Priority!

With the use of the proper products (with no dangerous chemicals) and following the exact instructions on the label, dying a dog's hair can be completely safe.

However, taking your dog to a professional groomer rather than trying to dye the dog's hair at home is preferable.

A groomer has to be trained to properly apply pet hair dye, preventing and dealing with any issues that may arise during the process.

When dying a dog's hair, there are always a few risks, such as the possibility of your dog having an allergic reaction to the dye.

Professional groomers can handle the situation and are more likely to have access to safe products rather than whatever seems to be safe at the store.

If attempting to dye your dog's fur at home, you run the risk of also dying your towels, walls, carpet, ceiling, and yourself.

Avoid using any products that contain bleach, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals that are not safe for pet consumption, whether it is advertised as safe or not.

Professional groomer does a dog hair dye job

Natural Pet Hair Dye

Before pet fur dying was mainstream, owners came up with natural ways to dye their pet's fur.

These natural methods are much safer and less damaging to the dog's skin, fur, and overall health.

Most were created from materials found around the home and products found within the kitchen.

Drink mixes like Koolaid have been used, but are only safe for use if they do not contain sugar which can irritate a dog's skin and encourage them to lick and pose a poisoning threat.

It is also challenging to achieve the desired color and is very temporary.

Food dye has also been used when it is diluted and applied with a spray bottle.

Food coloring are also used to dye hair naturally—either for pets or humans

Is Manic Panic Safe for Dogs?

A choice that is not found casually around the home but is an all-natural dog fur dye solution is the brand Manic Panic.

Although the brand is originally intended for use on people, Manc Panic is a vegetable-based hair dye that is completely non-toxic, safe, and suitable for pets because of its chemical-free composition.

The Manic Panic brand works better on certain canine coat types than others, and the length of time it remains varies by individual use.

Best Dog Hair Dyes Brands

A few other dog-safe hair dye brands that are generally used by professional groomers are:

Dog hair dye process might stress a dog out

Tips for Dying Dog's Hair

Keeping your dog safe and trying to dye its fur at the same time can be difficult, especially when you're not sure what is dangerous and what is not or how to properly apply the dye.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you throughout the process:

Labels

Always read the dog fur dye product's label before attempting to use it.

You will get better results and be more familiar with any safety concerns surrounding it.

Take warning labels seriously, as there is a reason that they are added to the bottle.

Skin Condition

If your dog is predisposed to sensitive skin or tends to suffer from skin allergies, then they should not be dyed; neither should dogs with damaged skin or any type of skin irritation or condition.

If allergies are the only concern, you can try an allergy test on a small portion of the skin, but consult with a groomer first.

Test it First

Even if the dog is not predisposed to skin allergies, always make sure to test a small portion of dug hair dye beforehand.

Although your dog may not be sensitive, there are chemicals included that pets are not commonly exposed to and may have an adverse reaction.

Protect The Face

Never allow the product to come into contact with your dog's eyes.

Avoid dying your pet's face altogether.

If you are going to dye their faces, use a cotton ball to prevent any mistakes or mishandling that could lead to dye entering their eyes, but it's generally not recommended; at least allow a groomer to do it.

Time

Some products are required to be left on for fifteen minutes or longer.

Make sure you are prepared to spend that time with the dog to prevent them from messing with the dye or shaking the dye off.

Toxic Chemicals

Never use products with chemicals that are intended for use on humans.

Most ingredients included in human hair dye are too strong and can be damaging to dogs' skin and fur, and potentially lethal even without having to be ingested.

If a product is advertised as non-toxic, still be cautious because if it is non-toxic to humans, it's not necessarily non-toxic to dogs.

Dying your dog's fur should not be a decision that you make lightly, especially when there are chemicals involved that can potentially damage a pet's skin and coat, cause allergies, and other issues.

If possible, consult with a veterinarian and groomer before you attempt this.

Use only dog-specific hair dyes with non-toxic ingredients from trusted brands, and take proper steps and follow guidelines to guarantee your dog's health and safety.

Poodle with Pink dye

FAQs on Dog Fur Dyes

What can I use to color my dog's fur?

We have covered a couple of pet-safe dyes you can use for your dog.

But if you're looking for the safest and most expert-recommended, that would be food coloring.

Food dyes are generally completely non-toxic, safe, and usually sourced from flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

How much does it cost to dye your dog's hair?

Having your dog's fur dyed by a professional groomer can set you back from $5 to $15 (for a temporary dye in ears and/or tails) to $40 to $60, depending on your dog's body size.

Is dying dogs' hair animal cruelty?

Dying a dog's hair generally doesn't go against any laws pertaining to animal cruelty, except if you're living in Colorado, Florida, Maine, and South Carolina.

However, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), any beauty procedures for animals that will not benefit their health or well-being should never be performed because the risks are simply not worth the outcome.

Dog Fur Dye: Final Thoughts

Experts don't generally advise dying a dog's fur, and maybe that's for a good reason.

However, should you want to feel the joy of seeing your newly-groomed and colored pooch (hopefully, temporarily!), it's best to know how to do it and what to use to do it safely and risk-free.

READ NEXT: 9 Ways to Improve Your Dog's Skin and Coat Health


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Rachael is a writer living in Los Angeles and an alum of UNC Chapel Hill. She has been a pet owner since the age of three and began dog-walking in 2015. Her nine-year-old Pug and best pal, Ellie, is the queen of sassy faces, marathon naps, and begging.