Weird Nature Why It's Horrible To Dye Your Dog's Fur  

Erin McCann
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Dogs are a man's best friend, if for nothing else than putting up pet owners dressing them up in silly outfits and dyeing them crazy colors. Dog hair dye is a growing trend that leaves our furry friends any color imaginable, sometimes several at once. Some pet owners get super creative with their ideas, dyeing and trimming their dog's hair to resemble another animal like a tiger or a character like Pikachu. While some people think that dyeing a dog's fur is harmless, more people agree that this is just a dog myth. Dyeing dogs is simply another one of those bad pet trends. 

Should you dye your dog's hair? There are many reasons why it's not a good idea and it's important for pet owners to educate themselves about the dangers of dog dye, including the physical and psychological effects on your canine companion. Also, remember your furry friend is a living creature and not a toy you can dress up or accessory piece you can change according to your wardrobe. But if you simply must dye your dog, there are "non-toxic" dyes you can purchase and it's very simple to make your own. Your furry friend will thank you. 

Hair Dyes Can Be Toxic To Your Canine Companion


Hair Dyes Can Be Toxic To Your... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Why It's Horrible To Dye Your Dog's Fur
Photo:  J Jongsma/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The dyes that many pet salons use were originally created for humans and contain substances like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. These are harsh chemicals which can cause burning, irritation, or other discomfort to a dog's skin. It's also important to keep in mind that humans only dye the hair on their head while a dog's hair covers its entire body, making any harmful ingredients easier to absorb. Dogs may lick or eat the dye off their fur as well, and end up ingesting these dangerous chemicals a lot faster.

Elisa Allen of the UK chapter of PETA states:

"Dogs aren't bonsai trees to be sculpted into shapes that please us. Many are nervous about being groomed, and dyeing them bright colors puts them at risk for allergic reactions and even toxic poisoning, which can have serious and even fatal consequences."

A Dog Gets No Amusement Out Of Being Purple Or Any Other Color


A Dog Gets No Amusement Out Of... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Why It's Horrible To Dye Your Dog's Fur
Photo:  Akuppa John Wigham/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Most dog owners will agree that their pooch has a unique personality. Dogs are sentient beings, not playthings, and don't seem to get any enjoyment out of suddenly becoming another color. When a pet owner dyes their dog, they are doing it for their own satisfaction, not their pet's. It's important to remember the difference and value the opinions of our canine companions, even if they can't voice them in words.

Paula Boyden of Dogs Trust adds:

"It's important that dog owners, and groomers, remember that dogs are not fashion accessories to have the latest trend tried out on them, grooming is for the dog's needs rather than for the owner's entertainment."

Your Dog Might Be Allergic To The Dye


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Photo:  Steve Baker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Some humans who dye their hair have allergic reactions to hair dye products, so it's not unreasonable to assume that dogs could be allergic to hair dye as well. Reactions may include itchy skin, which can be annoying and irritating for your furry friend. If they scratch themselves hard enough, dogs can also develop sores which can possibly become infected. Additionally, constant scratching of the ears or shaking of the head may cause the development of hematomas, or blisters filled with blood. If the discomfort a dog experiences is too extreme or lasts long enough, it can create behavioral changes as well.

A PETA spokesperson comments:

"They can get water in their ears (which isn't as simple as when it happens to a human; it can lead to all sorts of complications) or have an allergic reaction - even a fatal one. There is simply no way to know how your animal will react."

Dyeing Your Dog's Fur Stresses Them Out


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Photo:  Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center in Lenexa, KS/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

For many dogs, being groomed is not a calming experience. And since dogs cannot comprehend what's going on when they're being dyed, coloring a dog's fur can cause them more stress. They may even have trouble recognizing themselves afterwards. A stressed dog is not a happy dog and anxiety can cause loss of appetite, aggression, isolation, or stomach issues such as diarrhea or constipation. Dogs who are stressed out for too long can develop behavior problems and the physical and mental aggrivation caused by their anxiety can worsen over time if the cause is ignored.