How to Dye Your Dog's Hair

Change your light-toned dog's hair color for a different look.
White Dog image by Stana from

The great thing about having a dog with white or light colored hair is versatility. A white dog is beautiful, but to change things up a little if you get bored with the coat, the light tone of her hair allows for easy coloring. For best results and to assure that the color medium you use is entirely safe, it’s best to entrust your dog’s dye job to a groomer. You can do the job yourself at home, though. Be sure to have plenty of rags on hand and wear clothing that you can discard if the dye stains it.

Spot-Test Before Dyeing

Step 1

Apply a bit of hair dye to a small patch of your dog’s skin, preferably on the neck or somewhere she can’t reach to lick or rub it off. Allow it to work for the amount of time recommended on the dye package — usually around 30 minutes.

Step 2

Rinse the dye off thoroughly.

Step 3

Observe the test-patch over the next 24 to 48 hours to determine whether or not your dog will have an allergic reaction to the dye.

The Dye Job

Step 1

Wash your dog with her regular shampoo, making sure to thoroughly rinse all the shampoo out.

Step 2

Towel your dog’s hair to remove excess water; her hair will still be damp.

Step 3

Put the latex gloves on to protect your hands from the dye.

Step 4

Pour approximately half of the container of dye into the bowl.

Step 5

Apply the dye to your dog’s hair with the tint brush, starting on the crown of her head, working down under her neck and continuing down the body to her tail.

Step 6

Comb the color through your dog’s hair to assure even coverage.

Step 7

Allow the color to process for the recommended amount of time — usually 30 minutes.

Rinse the dye out of your dog’s hair with cool water. Rinse thoroughly, making sure the water runs clear before you’re done.

Step 8

Towel-dry your dog and either let her finish air-drying naturally or use a hair dryer to blow her dry.


  • Use old towels so it doesn’t matter if they get permanently stained.

  • If your dog has a reaction to vegetable-based dye, you can color her hair using unsweetened Kool-Aid. Combine one small envelope of the drink mix with approximately 8 cups of water and either mist the solution onto your dog with a spray bottle or simply pour it over her while she is standing in the sink or bathtub, and work the liquid through her hair. Wearing latex gloves during this process is recommended to protect your hands from becoming stained.

  • Take care when working with the dye around your dog’s face, specifically her eyes and nose. Avoid getting the dye in her ears, as well.

  • Keep your dog in the bathtub or at least restricted to some towels on the floor while the dye is working. Also, keep the dog occupied during this time. She might be tempted to lick at the dye. Even if it is vegetable-based, ingestion should be avoided.

Items You Will Need

  • Vegetable-based hair dye
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dog shampoo
  • Several towels
  • Latex gloves
  • Bowl
  • Tint brush
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Timer



  • A Creative Collection: Unique Dog Grooming; Angela Kumpe

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

Photo Credits