Dog Hair Dye: Choose, What Ingredients are Safe? Different Types, Brands and How to Dye Your Dogs Hair?

Do you want to dye your dog’s hair for a special event? Do you want your white dog to have pink spots and purple lines? Do you want your black dog to have brown and white highlights?

There is a growing trend among pet owners to dye their dogs’ hair in different colors. But just like anything that affects your dog, you must make sure that what you do or give to her does not harm your pet. Here is a guide on what to use and how to dye the hair of your dog to help you make the right choice for your dog.

A word of warning

Before you start your new project, always remember this warning: do not use on your dog’s hair, any hair dye that is meant for humans.

Human hair coloring has damaging and very toxic chemicals that are harmful to your dog. The bleach in some human hair coloring may irritate the skin of your dog and may cause your dog to shed fur untimely.

The pH level of human hair coloring for human skin is developed for human skin. The skin of your dog has a very distinct level of pH. Because of this difference in pH levels, she may have an allergic reaction.

Even if you want to dye a tiny portion of your dog’s hair, do not use human hair dye.

Even if you apply the hair dye carefully, there will be a high likelihood that your dog will lick the hair dye and ingest harmful chemicals.

So it is better to look for hair dyes that are specially formulated for your dogs.

What dog hair dye should you choose?

Even if you’re looking for dog hair dye, you still need to be cautious. Some dog hair dyes may still contain harmful components or may contain a formulation that may not agree with the particular breed or coat of your dog. Generally speaking, here are some tips to assist:

  • Find a hair dye with ingredients safe for dogs.
  • Make sure that the ingredients do not contain ammonia or additional chemicals.
  • Look for the least synthetic hair dye with no or little chemicals in the formulation.
  • As far as the color is concerned, ask yourself what you want the outcome to be. Pick pinks or blues or other bright colors if you want festive colors for your white or light-colored dog. If you want a more natural color, select distinct shades of browns, for instance for your black dog.

What ingredients are safe for dogs?

On the labels of dog hair dyes, look for these ingredients:

  • food coloring – a source of non-toxic ingredients; technically, if it is safe to consume, it does not contain harmful chemicals so that it can be applied safely to dogs even if it is licked ; and/or,
  • vegetable-based coloring – these are dyes formulated from vegetables and fruits like beets or carrots or strawberries

Also, always look for the words “safe for pets” on the labels.

What are the different types of dyes for dogs?

  • Liquid – come in bottles; must be applied to wet hair either by pouring in and mixing with the bathing water of your dog or by using a brush or a spray bottle ; must be left on the hair for at least 15-20 minutes before rinsing ; most of these are semi-permanent and last even after several washes ;
  • Gel and cream – liquid dyes are similar in how they are applied and their semi-permanency, but they are less messy than liquid dyes and easier to apply to small or large areas; you can even create patterns with gels ;
  • Chalk – easier to use since you rub it directly on the area you want to dye; produces only temporary results though;
  • Liquid pens – pens that contain liquid dyes; easy to apply like chalks but lasts a bit longer;
  • Blow pens – liquid dye is positioned inside the pen, and you pass the dye through the pen to your dog’s hair; covers a large part of the fur with each blow; can be used together with the stencils for more creative outcomes ;
  • Sprays – come in spray cans; very easy to apply if you know how to handle the intensity of the spray.

What are some brands of hair dyes for dogs?

Top Performance has a choice of 12 vibrant colors. The hair dyes of its dog gel are non-toxic and based on vegetables. To get a more distinct design, you can combine the colors. If you want a multi-color design, first let one color dry before applying the next color. After about six washes, the colors are semi-permanent and will fade. Because the colors are lively, when applied to a dog with light-colored hair, the gels will show better.

OwPawz also sells gel-type hair dyes for dogs. These come in tubes that are easy to squeeze. Seven colors are available to choose from. The ingredients are non-toxic as well. After about 20 washes, the colors last a little longer and will fade. This brand is somewhat more expensive than other brands.

PetPeri sells dye pen kits for temporary use. There are six pens in bright or dark colors in each kit. It also has non-toxic and safe ingredients for dogs. Colors last only for two days. If you want the design to last longer, you’ll need to get in contact with extra pens applications. Some owners have complained that when they carry their pets, the dye comes off easily and can transfer to the clothes of the owners. The pens are also small so that it could take a lot of time for the application process.

Buddy & Belle has a great line of pet-safe chalk colors. The chalk’s color is only temporary. This is best if you want your dog to sport a different color for only a day or two. If you wash your dog with her shampoo and warm water, it can be easily removed. If your dog loves to roll around on them, the chalk could also transfer to your carpet, furniture, and clothes.

You can make your own home-made dye from vegetables and fruits if you don’t want a store-bought dye. Puree the ingredients and strain the liquid. Make sure the resulting dye isn’t too sticky. Otherwise, the fur of your dog may be forming clumps or matting.

If you’re confused or undecided, consult your groomer or vet for the perfect dye for your dog and your goal.

How to dye your dogs hair?

Read the instructions on the box of hair dye. Follow all of them to the letter. If you need to mix the dye, do it according to the instructions. Otherwise, you might get a different color or consistency.

Select a space that will be used for dyeing. Cover it with old towels or newspapers. Dyeing can turn into a messy activity, particularly if your dog is frisky during bath time.  So make sure you’re not going to worry about getting the area selected dirty. Also, make sure you wear clothes that especially if you’re using a liquid dye type, you won’t mind getting dirty.

Make sure that you prepare everything you need and that the dye is ready before you take your dog to the dyeing area. Prepare treats to help calm your dog and motivate her to keep still during the whole process.

Check the body of your dog for skin irritations, sores, or injuries that are healing. If you find something on the skin of your dog, do not apply any dye, as it may further irritate the skin. It would be better to postpone the dyeing until the skin of your dog is safe again.

If you are sure that her skin has no irritation, then you can proceed with the next step.

Wash her fur. Make sure that it is clean and free from dust or dirt.

While the fur is still wet, comb it. Make sure that there are no matted furs.

Monitor your dog’s response to the dyeing process. Make sure the smell of the dye or the application method does not stress her. If she begins to lick her lips, put her ears back, or flick her tongue out more frequently than usual, then stop the process. With treats, you can reassure her. If she settles down, you can try to dye again. If she still looks stressed, stop the process completely.

Before you apply the dye all over your dog’s body, do a test first. Apply a small amount of dye in a small area. Wait for a few minutes to make sure that your dog will not have an allergic reaction to the dye.

If your dog has no adverse responses to the dye, apply it according to your desired design or pattern. Damp fur holds more dye than dry hair. Try to apply the color as evenly as you can. Put gloves on if you don’t want your hands to be colored by the dye.

You will need to let the hair dye steep into your dog’s hair before you rinse it off with your dog’s shampoo.

Do not apply dye on sensitive areas like your dog’s eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. If you still want to apply it in these areas, then make sure that you protect these areas.

For example, first apply some eye ointment if you need to put dye near your eyes. If dye accidentally enters the eyes, this may be a shield against irritation. It will reduce irritation and infection. You could also put cotton wads in your dog’s ears before you bathe her.

Also, try to avoid putting dyes where your dog loves to lick, especially when the dye is still wet and drying. You might need to place an Elizabethan collar or cone around your dog’s head until the dye dries.

If some flecks or drops of dye come into contact with your dog’s sensitive areas, flush it with cleaning solutions specially formulated for dogs.

While monitoring the stress level of your dog, also check if it begins itching. If that happens, stop the dyeing process immediately. Bring your dog to the vet to investigate the irritation. If your vet determines your dog’s skin is very sensitive, then in the future don’t try to dye your dog hair.

What is the issue about dyeing dogs’ hair?

PETA issued a statement that dyeing a pet’s hair is a cruel process for animals because it can cause stress, skin complications, allergic reactions, or even toxicity.

Last year, Good Housekeeping magazine published a story about a Maltese mix from Pinellas County Animal Services in Florida that almost died after her hair was dyed purple using dye meant for humans. The dog was burned, wounded, and skin peeling.


You probably want to dye your dog’s hair because you want people to appreciate her beauty. But to make the experience fun for your pet as well, then always remember the following:

  • never use hair dyes formulated for humans;
  • opt for hair dyes meant for dogs;
  • always inspect the labels and make sure that the ingredients are non-toxic and safe for your dog;
  • stop the dyeing process if your dog is stressed or shows an allergic reaction to the dye;
  • consult your vet.

If you follow these tips, then you’ll soon have a colorful pooch in your arms.

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