I used to work as a dog groomer for many years. Dye is a much-requested part of this, so as part of my work I have dyed several dogs. The very short answer is yes, when done correctly it is perfectly safe to dye your dog. No, the dog does not care. No, it does not hurt the dog in any way.
That’s when it is done correctly. The correct way to dye your dog means using completely non-toxic, dog-safe dye. Many human hair dyes use hydrogen peroxide or bleach as part of the dyeing process, both of which can cause chemical burns on your dog.
If you’ve ever seen those “dyeing did this to my dog!” videos, chances are some Yahoo decided to slap whatever coloring they found at Walmart on their dog, to detrimental results. Remember, your dog is probably going to lick his fur eventually. It needs to be pet safe!
If you’re not sure, non-toxic washable paints are available. We tried one of those for the picture above and even though it was only on a few minutes it was hugely messy. This will probably be the last time we mess with paints at home.
As an additional very important note, many people are intentionally harming their dogs to get views on their videos. What you see is not necessarily the truth of it. If you’ve ever been shocked by a horrific ‘rescue’ video, or by the extent of burns on a dog, it very well could have been staged. We live in a time of extreme scamming. Be weary of everything.
When It’s Safe to Dye
There are also a few other things to consider when dyeing your dog. Although the process itself is harmless, it takes some time to apply the dye. If you’re planning to do a full body art sculpture, your dog needs to be young, strong and tolerate grooming well as that is a lot of standing.
If your dog is older, skip the dying process. Dye is supposed to be fun for everyone, including the dog.
The ideal candidate is a dog who loves attention and is always hoping to get more from strangers. They will likely be thrilled by the sudden influx of attention given to them with their newfound colors. If you’re dog is shy or hates grooming, they’re probably not a great candidate.
When It’s Illegal to Dye Your Dog
Some states actually ban the dyeing of animals altogether. This is mainly to protect baby chicks and rabbits being sold as novelties during Easter, but the law is broad enough to include dog’s as well. If you live in Colorado, South Carolina, Florida, and Maine. It’s legal everywhere else.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
You think bathing your dog with soap and water is messy? Try doing this at home and your whole house could be permanently rainbow in no time. Colors like green tend to fade to yellow later, and so a cute green tail for St. Patrick’s Day will just look like your dog pees itself by the end of the month.
There are some pretty strong feelings about dye on dogs in the animal community, so be prepared for negative as well as positive responses. There’s no escaping negativity and judgement in the dog world. Someone is there to judge you about your dog’s food, collar, leash, training methods, and even what sort of brush you use.
While we colored our dog with a temporary, washable non-toxic paint in the photo above, we’ll probably never do it again. Tank didn’t mind, but it was super messy and resulted in tons of paint on the rugs and floor. Yikes!
Know Your Dog
Some dogs love the extra attention dyeing provides. Some dogs act like you have stripped them of all their superpowers. If you and your dog enjoy color, and you are using a dye that will cause no harm to your pet, there’s no reason not to.
If your dog hates it, please don’t do it for your own pleasure. Dye is supposed to be fun and lighthearted, not a dreaded part of your dog’s month.
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