Dog Friendly Hair Dye: Best Practices to Safely Dye Your Dogs Fur

Last Updated: April 21, 2020

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Looking to give your pooch some extra spunk and pizzaz? Dog-friendly hair dyes are a great way to do just that! Dying a dog's hair is not a new concept. People have been doing this for decades to prepare pups for big events and have a little fun.

You can give your dog a splash of color for their birthday or add a bit of festive fun to the holidays. Many groomers even offer some temporary color after a wash.

Of course, it's always important to exercise caution when you're performing any cosmetic changes to your dog.

Canines are more sensitive to dyes and synthetic ingredients than humans are.

Brown orange dog fur which can be dyed

To avoid any issues, here's some important information about dog-friendly hair dye that you need to know.

Can You Dye a Dog's Hair Safely?

We're happy to announce that it's perfectly safe to dye your dog's hair. That is, as long as you have the right product!

The key is to choose a dye that's purposely made for dogs. There's no shortage of great products out there. These dyes work with your dog's fur. More importantly, they complement the pH balance of your pup's skin.

Typically, dying issues don't have anything to do with the fur at all. Fur is easily removable, so you can take care of bad dye jobs relatively easily. The main issue has to do with skin reactions.

A dog's skin is very sensitive to chemicals and synthetic ingredients. They could experience contact dermatitis. Not only that, but the ingredients in a cheap hair dye can dry out the skin, cause rashes, and more.

That's why it's so important to stick with dog-approved products. They're formulated with your dog's delicate skin in mind. Thus, you don't have to worry about bad reactions or a slew of unwanted side effects.

Do Dyes Work for All Dogs?

dog with colored fur

Not every product on the shelf is going to provide you with the results you're after. Make sure that you read the ingredient's list and avoid anything that sounds suspicious.

Also, pay close attention to the instructions to ensure that you're applying the product safely and efficiently.

Even still, some dog hair may not absorb dye the way that you hope.

Dog hair dye on black fur is notorious for not showing up. These products are made for light-colored fur. You can still provide your pup with a pop of color using other methods, though. We'll get into that a bit later.

But first, here's a collection of some of the best dog-friendly hair dye products on the market.

4 Best Pet-Friendly Hair Dyes

Opawz Non-Toxic Pet Hair Dye Gel (Semi-Permanent and Permanent)

Opawz Dog Pet Hair Dye Gel Bright, Fun Shade, Semi Permanent and Permanent Dye, Completely Non Toxic Safe for Dogs, Multiple Colors

This hair dye from OwPawz is completely safe for dogs. It's made out of non-toxic ingredients and comes in permanent and semi-permanent formulas. The former option can last several weeks before it starts fading.

The dye is available in a spectrum of colors to match your pup's personality. It comes is a squeeze tube and takes on a gel-like consistency. All you have to do is apply some of the gel onto your dog's fur, wait 20 minutes for the color to penetrate, and rinse it off.

Warren London Critter Color Temporary Pet Fur Coloring

Warren London Critter Color Temporary Pet Fur Coloring

Available in four fun shades, this Warren London product will have your pup looking colorful in no time. It's a temporary formula that washes out in a few washes. So, there's no long-term commitment.

The color is a breeze to apply. Best of all, it's buildable. You can apply multiple layers to make the color as intense or subdued as you want. After you have applied it to the fur, just let it dry and brush it out. It's completely non-toxic and safe to use.



The Crazy Liberty dog hair dye isn't just capable of changing the color of your pup's fur. It can also improve the quality of the skin and hair. The formula uses fruit and vegetable components to provide color. Thus, it's non-toxic.

There are also some beneficial ingredients thrown into the mix. This includes lily extract for nourishment. Healthy oils can also protect the hair from UV damage. When it comes to color, you have plenty of options to choose from. In addition to vibrant hues, there are muted tones to transform your dog's look.

Top Performance Dog Hair Dye Gel

Top Performance Dog Hair Dye Gel

This semi-permanent product can give your dog some fun color that lasts for up to 6 washes. Available in a small collection of colors, you can combine shades to create a distinct look. For peace of mind, this dye is completely safe and non-toxic. 

It contains approved dyes and pigments as well as natural thickeners to make the dye more manageable. The formula is very thick. As a result, you can apply it to areas where you want to color while keeping it out of areas where you don't.

Important Safety Precautions

Even if you choose a dog-safe hair dye, you still need to exercise caution. No amount of fun colors is worth sacrificing your dog's health. Here are some important safety precautions to follow.

Steer Clear of Human Dyes

First things first, you should never use a product that's made for human use. As we mentioned earlier, dogs are sensitive to chemicals that don't affect us.

Human-grade dyes are simply not formulated to meet the unique needs of your dog's skin and fur. If you use human dye, your dog may experience an allergic reaction. The product may even burn their skin. Plus, there's the risk of poisoning if your dog licks the product.

It's best to avoid those risks altogether and just stick to a dog hair dye.

Avoid Dyes If Your Dog Has Allergies

If your pup is already prone to allergies, you might want to avoid using hair dyes. Even dog-approved products have ingredients that sensitive dogs could react to

Perform a Patch Test

Before you dive right in and start covering your pup, perform a small patch test. A patch test will help you make sure that your dog doesn't have any negative reaction to the product. Not only that, but you can gauge the color and determine if you want to proceed with the dye job or not.

To perform a patch test, apply a small amount of dye to some fur. Keep the area very small and minimize the spread. Follow the instructions provided with the dye like you normally would.

We recommend waiting a couple of days to ensure that there are no delayed reactions. If everything is good, you can proceed to dye your dog's hair.

Avoid Sensitive Areas

This should go without saying, but never apply dye to sensitive areas on your dog's body. Avoid putting products around the eyes, ears, and mouth.

Before you dye your dog, it's a good idea to examine their body as well. You'll need to avoid any cuts or open sores.

Wait Until Your Dog Is Older

If you have a rambunctious little puppy, wait until they are a bit older to use dye. Puppies are even more sensitive to dyes and chemicals than older dogs. Furthermore, their fur tends to be on the thinner side. This could make unsavory reactions even worse.

 It's recommended that you wait until your dog is at least 6 months old.

Provide Adequate Protection Until the Dye is Dry

After you've applied the dye, put a cone around your dog's head. You don't want your precious pooch to ingest the dye on accident. The cone will act as an effective barrier to keep them protected as you wait for the dye to penetrate the fur.

Keep It Fun!

Finally, keep the process as fun as possible! Many dogs aren't fans of the grooming process. Dying their fur is going to be a lot like bathing them. Keep things light and fun.

dog with dyed spots

Always keep an eye on your dog's demeanor. If they start getting stressed or anxious, stop the process and give your dog some time to chill.

Provide plenty of positive reinforcement and treats. Take this opportunity to bond and have a good time.

Popular Alternatives to Dye

Looking for an alternative to commercially available hair dyes? There are a couple of suitable options that you can try out. With both of the following techniques, make sure that you follow all of the same safety precautions to keep your pup happy.


Yes, you read that right. You can use Kool-Aid to dye your dog's hair. This is an age-old technique that kids have used for decades to add some color to their flocks. Because Kool-Aid is consumable, it's pretty safe to use.

Just mix some of the powder with water and apply it to your dog's fur. Let the mixture soak a bit before combing it through and drying it off.

It's important to do a patch test with Kool-Aid beforehand. Sometimes, the mixture can cause a sticky mess. So, do some tests to make sure it's right for your pup.

Food Coloring

Can you dye a dog's hair with food dye? Absolutely!

Like Kool-Aid, food dye is safe to consume. Thus, it's not toxic to your dog. You can use the same application techniques with food dye as you would with Kool-Aid. Alternatively, you can add some vinegar for a more color payoff.

Be careful with this technique! It can be pretty messy if you're not careful. Not only that, but food dye is notoriously difficult to wash out. So, you might have to deal with the colors for several weeks before your dog's hair goes back to normal.

Temporary Products

You don't have to commit to a long-term change to give your dog some fun color. Temporary products wash out after only a couple of rinses.

Dog-friendly hair chalks and sprays are available. Just apply the product to the fur, brush it out, and you're good to go. The cool thing about temporary hair color is that it can show up on any fur color.

While dog hair dye on black fur will not result in any noticeable change, that's not the case with temporary color. It sits on top of the fur, making it appear more vibrant.

The only caveat is that temporary hair color can make a mess pretty quickly. All it takes is one good shake or roll on the carpet to leave behind a colorful mess.

Wrap Up

Dying your dog's hair is a fun process that will only attract more attention wherever you go. It's a great way to put your pup's personality on full blast while celebrating a fun occasion.

As long as you use a dog-friendly product and follow our safety tips, you should have no problem adding some color to your dog's life!


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About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.