How to Dye a Dog With Food Coloring

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Things You'll Need

  • Food coloring

  • Brush

  • Latex gloves

  • Vinegar

  • Old wooden spoon

  • Sponge

  • Q-tips

  • Small toothbrush

  • Old towels

  • Large bowl

  • Hair dryer


Never choose a toxic dye for use on your dog.

If your dog has food sensitivities or allergies, check with your veterinarian before using food coloring on your dog.


Test your hair dye on a small bit of your dog's fur. Food coloring dye can last for two months or more. Bathing your dog with a mixture of dish detergent and white vinegar may diminish or remove the dye color.

Common food coloring is a great nontoxic option for doggy hair dye.
Image Credit: wzfs1s/iStock/Getty Images

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 Halloween, or your little diva into a pink princess, food coloring can do the trick.

Step 1

Choose your color. Never use hair dye or any other toxic chemicals to dye your pet. 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.

Step 2

*Pour 1 gallon of lukewarm water into a large bowl.


*Add 1/3 cup vinegar.

*Add three drops of your chosen color into the bowl.

*Stir with the 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 3

Brush your dog well to remove any debris and loose fur from his coat.


Step 4

Place your dog in the tub, or if weather permits, consider taking him outside to reduce the mess.

Step 5

Cover your hands with the latex gloves.

Step 6

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


Step 7

Allow the color to set for 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 8

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.