How to Safely Dye Your Dog’s Hair

One of the latest trends in dog fashion, as well as one of the most controversial, is coloring your dog’s hair. Many people are extremely offended by this practice because they think that it is harmful to dogs, but that is not true. Human hair dye is very harmful to dogs and should never be used, but there are many other options that are safe and harmless to dogs.

Safe options you can find in your kitchen are food coloring and Kool-Aid. You can mix these with water and either spray them on with a spray bottle, sponge on, or fill the bathtub or sink with the colored water and pour over your dog. These are not very long lasting and usually wash out after the first or second wash. This would be a good option for a one time event, such as Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day.

Vegetable based dyes made for humans like Manic Panic come in a variety of colors and are pet friendly. However, for best results, I would suggest using hair dye made specifically for dogs. They are completely non toxic and will not harm your dog in any way and most are CFTA certified.

Before you dye your dog’s hair, brush out the coat to remove any tangles or mats. Test the dye on a small patch before proceeding, to ensure that your dog will not have an allergic reaction. Shampoo your pet and then apply the dye to wet fur and leave on for 15 minutes. Do not get the dye in your dog’s eyes and avoid dying areas too close to eyes. If the color is not dark or bright enough, leave it on for more time to increase color intensity. Rinse thoroughly and dry your dog’s coat. You can use a hair dryer on a low setting to quickly dry the hair and set the color. If you are coloring limited areas such as just the ears or tail, you can apply the dye directly to dry fur. Make sure that you wear protective gloves to prevent staining of your skin. This dye should last between 4 to 6 washes, though results will vary with the type of coat and the breed.

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