How to Dye a Dog's Hair at Home Using Kool-Aid
Normally I let my groomer perform this delicate job in my clinic, but I have been asked several times over the years how it should be done.
You can buy a commercial product or use Kool-Aid that you buy in the store (the small packs without sugar). The dog wearing green and yellow (in the photo) is wearing Brazil´s colors, and I have seen Toy Poodles dyed pink or red and blue for the Fourth of July (to get the combo all the owner has to do is leave the white hair untouched). I used to dye my Maltese´s topknot to give him a distinctive air when he strutted around my clinic.
The dye lasts for several weeks, and if it is a decent color still looks good as it fades. If you go for the red you had better like pink.
Do It Yourself Kool-Aid Hair Dye For Dogs
1. Wash and dry your dog.
2. Mix up the Kool-Aid. You can use a dog conditioner to make a nice thick solution, or use a small amount of water instead so that the colors will be more vibrant and easier to apply.
Some of the colors are not going to work very well, but dark blue comes out well since even when it fades it is still blue. Purple fades okay but green not as well. Red, of course, will fade to pink.
3. Apply eye ointment if you are going to dye her eyebrows or topknot. (Do not worry about this if you are just dyeing the tail.) A sterile ophthalmic ointment is available from Amazon.com (see below).
4. Use an old toothbrush or a thick paint brush to apply the dye to the hair. This is much easier to do if the dye is thick.
5. Let the hair dry with the dye in it. The dye needs to stay on for at least five minutes.
6. When using Kool-Aid, you do not need to apply a fixative—the citric acid is enough. If using one of the products sold for dogs please follow the directions.
7. Rinse the dog´s hair again to remove any chemicals that might irritate his skin. (This might cause the colors to fade just a little but that is better than irritating his skin.)
This is the eye ointment I always use and you should not forget to apply if dyeing your dog´s face. Do not worry about using it if only dyeing the tail, but be sure to protect the eyes if dyeing the dog´s face.
This photo of Café (RIP) was in my wallet for several years before I scanned it so the quality is terrible.
That’s it! There are a lot of people out there who disagree with the ethics of using dye on a dog. I do not think there is anything wrong with it.
The product does not hurt her skin, the dog does not care, and who knows, she might even enjoy the extra attention.
I dyed my Maltese to attract extra attention, as a sort of walking advertisement for my clinic. Now that I am semi-retired, I still dye one of my dog´s heads because she is sand-colored and I am worried about her when she is running off-leash on the beach. A fire-engine-red head is pretty hard not to notice.
Talk to your dog about it.
Do dogs look stupid in shirts? Are Halloween costumes a form of animal cruelty? Should dogs be allowed to walk around with blue ears?
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Dr Mark