How to Dye a Dog's Hair at Home Using Kool-Aid

Updated on May 24, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

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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.

Dog ears look good in any color.
Dog ears look good in any color. | Source
Kool-aid has great colors you can use to dye your dog.
Kool-aid has great colors you can use to dye your dog. | Source

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. (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.)

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.)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
You can do just the eyebrows..just the ears...or the whole dog!
You can do just the eyebrows..
You can do just the eyebrows.. | Source
just the ears...
just the ears... | Source
or the whole dog!
or the whole dog! | Source
My dog Café Noir and his blue 'do.
My dog Café Noir and his blue 'do. | Source

This photo of Café (RIP) was in my wallet for several years before I scanned it so the quality is terrible.

Source

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

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      • DrMark1961 profile image
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        Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        When I lived in Chicago 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.

      • profile image

        zigs 3 years ago

        Why do you want to dye your dog's hair?

      • Peyton Parker profile image

        Peyton Parker 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

        The poodles are especially cute! So wonderful that this process is perfectly safe for the pet! And I agree, it is likely to get your dog even more attention - which is always a good thing!

      • profile image

        tina 3 years ago

        How much koolaid packets would I need to do a full size standard poodle

      • DrMark1961 profile image
        Author

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        I think those Chinese dogs (in the top picture) look great, but I do think it is professional. My groomer used to do Café for me but I could have done it myself since I only liked to dye his topknot--just too busy (or lazy).

        The only way I know to get this out, if you don't like it, is to wash the dog or give him a haircut. That is why I worry about some of the colors that fade ugly, like pink. Someone, somewhere must like it.

        Too bad about those chicks. I think a lot of places still sell easter bunnies like that, and as you point out, most of them die.

      • Bob Bamberg profile image

        Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

        When I saw the title I thought you were joking around again. What a great idea!

        The dogs in the pictures look good, but I'll bet they were done by someone with more skills than the ordinary pet owner would have. Where the color lasts for several weeks, some folks might regret trying it. Is there a way to undo the do if you screw it up?

        I understand the ethics question, but I don't think dying parts of the dog is demeaning. I'm sure it can be done in ways that may be beneath the dignity of dogs, but I have faith that owners wouldn't do that.

        When I was a kid, Woolworth's used to sell baby chicks that were dyed in pastel pink and blue. That's illegal now here in Massachusetts (has been for years), but I can understand the reason for the law.

        Clearly, chicks were dyed pastels to make them even more irresistible to impulse buyers who had neither the facilities, equipment, supplies or knowledge to properly raise the chicks. They'd die in just a couple of days.

        Making one's dog colorful may make some people roll their eyes...but it's eye candy to others.

      • WillStarr profile image

        WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

        Thank you!

      • DrMark1961 profile image
        Author

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        You can order it from Amazon if you want to buy it online (its only 3 bucks but I do not know what they charge for shipping) or I imagine there are plenty of feed stores around you that sell it. If you do not get the one from Amazon, be sure to tell the feed store that you want the regualar lube, not the triple antibiotic ointment usually sold for horses.

      • WillStarr profile image

        WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

        Where would I go to get that ointment?

      • DrMark1961 profile image
        Author

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Definitely. The groomer always put a dab of the eye ointment in just to keep the shampoo from getting into the dog´s eyes. There is no such thing as a "no tears" shampoo.

      • WillStarr profile image

        WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

        Would the eye ointment also work for baths?

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