How to Dye a Dog With Food Coloring

Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Your dog isn't likely to crave the newest trend in hair color in a fashion magazine, or sneak out to get a rainbow mohawk, but it might be fun to give your dog a custom color. Use caution and make sure your products are nontoxic, but if you want to turn your pooch into a Smurf for a Halloween costume, or your little diva into a pink princess, food coloring can do the trick.


Test your hair dye on a small bit of your dog's fur.
Image Credit: Kinga Krzeminska/Moment/GettyImages

Video of the Day

Step 1: Check your dog's body

Prior to giving your dog a new hairdo, you need to check their entire body for any open wounds like sores, scratches, and flea bites. Any dye that you put on your dog's body could irritate open wounds on their skin, so avoid dyeing them if you see anything wrong and contact a veterinarian instead.


Video of the Day

If your puppy already has a diagnosed skin condition, allergies, or is showing signs of itchiness, talk to your veterinarian before dying your dog.

Step 2: Decide on dog food color

Choose your color. Never use hair dye or any other toxic chemicals to dye your pet. Never use human hair dye or a toxic dye for use on your dog, as human dyes include harsh chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide that can harm your dog. Your pup will likely lick themselves after the dying process, and you don't want them to ingest anything harmful.


Instead, choose nontoxic food coloring to safely dye your dog's fur. Make sure you choose a food coloring that is deemed safe for human consumption. If your dog has food sensitivities or allergies, check with your veterinarian before using food coloring on your dog. also, test the color on a small spot on your dog's fur first. Food coloring dye can last for two months or more.


Step 3: Combine food coloring with water

Choose nontoxic food coloring to safely dye your dog's fur.
Image Credit: smrm1977/iStock/GettyImages

Pour one gallon of lukewarm water into a large bowl. Add three drops of your chosen color into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Choose a spoon you don't plan to use for food preparation at a later date. Your spoon is likely to be permanently colored.


Step 4: Brush their coat

Brush your dog well to remove any debris and loose fur from their coat. If they are especially dirty, give them a bath and dry them before dyeing them.

Step 5: Secure dog in bathtub or backyard

Place your dog in the tub, or if weather permits, consider taking your four-legged friend outside to reduce the mess.


Step 6: Wear latex gloves

Cover your hands with latex gloves to prevent dyeing your hands temporarily.


Step 7: Squeeze sponge onto dog fur

Immerse the sponge into the bowl until it is submerged into the color. Squeeze the sponge so your color doesn't drip or run, and then dab it onto your dog's coat. Repeat this until you've dabbed the color onto all areas you wish to dye. You can also dye a test area to ensure that the dog food color will appear the way you want it to.


Step 8: Be careful around sensitive areas

Avoid getting any dye into your dog's eyes, mouth, or ears. If you're working around these areas, use a Q-tip or a toothbrush to apply gently dye to these areas.

Step 9: Allow color to set

Allow the color to set for 30 to 45 minutes.Bathing your dog with a mixture of dish detergent and white vinegar may diminish or remove the dye color.


Step 10: Pat dog dry

Pat your dog dry with the towel, taking care not to smear any of the color.
Image Credit: Wavetop/iStock/GettyImages

Pat your dog dry with the towel, taking care not to smear any of the color. If your dog will tolerate a hair dryer, use it to dry your dog and to set the color. This will keep the dye from transferring to any surfaces or household items once your dog leaves the bathroom.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...