Flickr User Katie@!
Arguments about whether it is right or wrong to use pet dye abound, but the real issue is your pet's wellbeing. Colorful pets are now front page news around the world: An escaped pink house cat is found wandering through a neighborhood in England; Pets in China are sporting exotic panda or tiger pelts; colorful poodles are parading up and down Hollywood Boulevard.
Without a doubt, the pet dye fad is flourishing - but is it really okay to dye your pet?
Arguments about whether it is morally right or wrong to dye a pet abound. Some pet owners feel that animals should be appreciated for their natural beauty or that people do not have the right to change a pet's appearance. Others see nothing wrong with changing the color of a pet's coat.
Using Pet Dye: Safety First
Putting these arguments aside, the real issue of whether it is okay to dye your pet boils down to this: Will your pet be harmed if you color her coat?
The answer is... possibly. It is possible for your pet to be physically harmed from exposure to pet dyes, and the dyeing process can be stressful for your pet.
Pet owners who wish to dye their pets need to consider that a pet's coat covers the entire body - it isn't the same as dyeing just the hair on your own head.
Any ingredients in the pet dye will be absorbed by the skin, and two major issues are associated with the use of pet dye.
Using Pet Dye: The Lowdown on Dyeing
The first issue is that pet dyes are relatively new.
No long-term studies have been performed to determine if pet dyes are really safe for pets - especially if the animal is repeatedly exposed.
Secondly, pets can develop an allergic reaction to dyes. Even mild food-coloring-based dyes can cause an allergic reaction, particularly in cats that will lick and ingest the dye while they groom.
Some pets should never be dyed.
Exotic pets including gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and chinchillas can develop serious health issues, ranging from respiratory infections to pneumonia, if they are dyed. Pets that are difficult to bathe or who have any existing health problems should never be dyed either.
Using Pet Dye: Go with a Groomer
With these considerations in mind, if you still want to dye your dog or cat's coat, it is best to use the services of a pet groomer who has experience using non-toxic pet dyes. Always start out small; never dye your pet's entire coat on the first try, until you know how your pet's skin will react.
If you choose to dye your pet at home, always purchase the dye from a groomer who offers dye services for pets.
Never use human hair colorants on pets. The chemicals in these products are extremely hazardous and may even be lethal. Avoid using homemade dye recipes you may find on the Internet as well; They may contain ingredients that are harmful to your pet.
Whether you choose to dye your pet at home or at the groomer's, take note of your pet's response to the process. Never attempt to dye your pet's coat again if your pet becomes stressed from an application or if your pet experiences an allergic reaction such as itchy or irritated skin.
If your pet develops any serious reactions to dye such as nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea - see a veterinarian immediately.
Last but not least, until more research has been performed on the long term effects of dyes on pets, keep the applications to a minimum.
Using pet dye might be a fad, but some people seem very serious about it. Check out these photos of dyed pets!