Safety with Dog Hair Dye

Dyeing your dog’s hair is increasing in popularity, but it’s critical to choose a dog-safe hair dye.


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Whether you aspire to enter grooming competitions or just want to temporarily deck your dog out in your favorite sports team’s colors, be sure to choose products intended for use on dogs. Human hair and skin are different from dog hair and skin, and using human products on your pup could result in skin irritation, coat damage, or death. Choose a product that is formulated specifically for dogs.

Critter Color and OPAWZ are popular dog hair dye products. OPAWZ has a ton of options ranging from temporary to permanent dyes and even air brush and chalk options.

Always read the instructions for any product before using it. Following the instructions exactly as stated will help to protect your dog from any possible harm and limit mess.

Special Considerations

  • Some states do have laws about dyeing your dog. These include Colorado, Maine, Florida, and South Carolina.
  • Many people have strong opinions about dyeing your dog’s hair and may strongly disapprove. Just be forewarned.
  • Dog sports organizations may also have rules about dyeing your dog. If you compete in dog shows with your dog, check the rules to see what is allowed before getting too crazy.
  • Remember that bleach, lightening products, and hair dyes formulated for humans can all damage your dog’s fur and skin and are toxic if licked. Skip these and choose a trusted product formulated for use on dogs.

Dog Hair Dye Ideas

There are endless ways that you can get creative with your dog, including:

  • Dye just the paws or tail tip for a splash of color
  • Go green for St. Patrick’s Day or orange for Halloween
  • Match your dog to a favorite sports team or university colors
  • Turn a white ruff into a rainbow
  • Use different shades of blue dog hair dye to create a gradient or blue sky with clouds

If you are a novice at this, start with a temporary dye so that you can easily wash it out if it doesn’t turn out well.

Black Dog Hair Dye

Light-colored dogs are the easiest to dye because the colored pigments will show up on their coat. For black dogs, you will need to limit yourself to any small white markings they might have.

Human bleach products should never be used on a dog. OPAWZ does have a lightening product for dogs, but even the OPAWZ company strongly cautions it should only be used by professional groomers. This is because anything that bleaches hair can also potentially irritate or burn the skin, and your dog can’t tell you if he’s starting to feel a weird tingling.

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.