As long as its used properly and responsibly, a bit of color can go a long way to accentuating your dogs style and personality.
Plus, most dog's seem to love the extra attention they get!
This article with aim to give you some advice if you're just getting started with dog hair dye along with further information on the best dyes to use.
Is pet dye safe for my dog?
As dog owners we have a duty to take care of our pets and always look out for their best interest.
There are mixed feelings on the actual level of safety that can be guaranteed when using any kind of hair dye, and while some products claim to have veterinary seals of approval you should still be very careful when choosing the right brand of hair dye.
When buying anything that will go near or touch your dog’s skin it’s important to always read the label. Only choose from the more established brands with a solid reputation that use ingredients that meet the minimum standards for safety.
A note on ingredients
If you're ever in doubt as to the levels of safety regarding a particular ingredient, you can check the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
Just copy and paste the ingredient into the search bar on there and you will find data-backed reports along with a hazard score.
One thing you should avoid at all costs is using human hair dye.
Because the pH of a dog's skin is very different to that of a human's, any hair dye products designed for human use are highly likely to have harmful side-effects if used on a dog.
There have been cases in which irresponsible dog owners have used human hair dyes on their pets, leaving dogs with serious burns and life-threatening conditions. Just don't do it!
Do a patch test first
Always test any kind of dye on a small section prior to carrying out a dye job on a larger scale. Apply the test and wait at least 24 hours periodically checking the skin carefully for any signs of irritation or inflammation.
Additionally, if you have never dyed your dog’s hair before it would be wise to use a semi permanent or temporary dye before moving onto a more permanent solution. That way you can wash out the dye relatively easy should any problems arise or if you're unhappy with the result.
Is it legal to dye my dog's hair?
Generally speaking, providing you use a pet-safe dye and that you ensure no harm or suffering to the dog is caused, it is not considered to be unlawful to dye your dog's fur.
That said, it is illegal in the following states:
- South Carolina
We suggest that anyone with concerns regarding the legality of dog hair dye do their own due diligence and check with their local state laws surrounding animal cruelty.
Points to remember
- Use only hair dye designed for dogs.
- Take into account your pet’s stress levels, especially if applying the dye takes a while.
- Do not use dyes on dog's under 6 months (even if the product guidelines state you can)
- Do a 24-48 hour patch test in advance to check for allergies and irritation.
- Avoid applying to particularly sensitive areas such as near the eyes, nose, mouth.
- Keep in mind that some dogs can be quite prone to licking, although dog hair dyes are generally safe and non-toxic, you should limit her ability to lick any dyed areas during application.
- Be sure that you are not breaking any state laws.
Best Dog Hair Dyes Brands – Overview
With the health and safety advice out of the way let's look at the best dog hair dyes currently on the market.
Warren London Critter Color
Warren London Critter Color
OPAWZ has been the market leader when it comes to pet hair dyes for quite a while with their dyes being used by groomers all over the world.
Results Using OPAWZ
Below are two fantastic creative grooms done by two professional dog groomers. The way the color has been used in a controlled manner to highlight the natural features, fur color and fur type of the dogs is amazing.
Dyeing a dog's tail with OPAWZ
A simple way to create an amazing Ombré effect using OPAWZ glorious yellow and adorable pink.
Let's take a closer look at OPAWZ range of pet hair dyes (yes, some people use these on more than just dogs).
OPAWZ Semi-Permanent Dye
OPAWZ semi permanent hair dye is a "non-toxic and gentle" formula that can, in theory, be applied in just "20 minutes". Unlike permanent dye, this washes off fairly easily with around 8 baths.
While not recommended for darker fur types, the color result from the semi-permanent is almost as good as the permanent dyes, especially on lighter fur.
In terms of color longevity, this lasts longer on fine and soft-haired coat types such as poodles than it does on breeds with more a wire-hair textured coat.
If you're looking to get your feet wet with color we'd definitely recommend choosing semi-permanent over permanent. It is by far the easiest of the two to apply and comes without a long-term commitment.
Aqua, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Citric Acid, Acid Red 52, Acid Orange 7, Acid Yellow 23, Acid Blue 9
OPAWZ Permanent Dye
OPAWZ permanent dye is definitely not one for beginners but seems to be the go-to choice for creative grooming professionals.
With the color holding for at least 20 washes, you'll have to be pretty sure of yourself before applying this.
Unlike the semi-permanent dye, this yields a bright and vibrant color result on most fur types, such as "white, grey, apricot, and brown coats". As for black fur, you should use a lightener before applying the dye.
If you're experienced with dog dyes, perhaps you have used semi-permanent in the past and want something much more longer lasting, OPAWZ permanent dye is a good way to go, otherwise stick with semi-permanent.
Aqua, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-10, CI 42090, CI 15985, CI 19140, CI 16035
In addition to their popular pawdicure polish pens, Warren London also have a temporary fur color product.
Critter Color Temporary Dye
Made in the USA, Critter Color by Warren London is by far the easiest dye to apply currently on the market, and is suitable for all skill levels. Simply apply the dye to a dry or damp coat and wait for it dry (or use a hair dryer).
Once it's dried the dye will not spread to other areas of the "fur or skin" and fades in about a week though it can be washed off in generally "2-3 washes".
The fact that it's temporary makes it a perfect option for holidays or festivals when you will generally want the color to fade after the special day.
In terms of color intensity, most people claim the dye works great on lighter types though it doesn't show at all on black fur.
If you just want to try a different color or two on your dog for a week and don't want all the hassle that comes with permanent or semi-permanent dye, Critter Color is the top recommendation.
H20, Carbopol, TEA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene, Polysobsorbate 20, FDC Approved Color
If you're a groomer and using dye for the first time, it may be best to stick with OPAWZ semi-permanent.
As an owner looking to do something special for Christmas (or any holiday), you will likely want something that fades quickly (after the special day), in which case, Critter Color by Warren London may be the best choice.