This Is Why You Shouldn't Ever Dye Your Pets With Human Hair Dye


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor


Facebook/Pinellas County Animal Services

It’s 2018, and we really shouldn’t have to say this but apparently we need to: please, please don’t dye your dog with human hair dye.

First of all, why are you dying your dog? And secondly, human hair dye has chemicals, including bleach, that should be nowhere near your pet’s fur or skin.


This has been highlighted dramatically by the plight of Violet, a Maltese mix found in Florida, who was dyed purple with human hair dye, resulting in life-threatening injuries, including chemical burns.

Staff from Pinellas County Animal Services (PCAS) in Largo, Florida, found the pup and recounted her story in a post on their Facebook page. Warning: the photos are grim. No, seriously.

When Violet was found she was described as “limp and listless”, her eyes swollen shut, and with obvious burns to her skin. The staff gave her pain medication and fluids and washed off as much of the purple dye as they could before gently bandaging her up in a rather snazzy leopard print bandage and waited to see if she would survive the night.

When she did they took the next step, shaving her fur to see the real damage. To their horror, her skin started sloughing off. The burns to her body from the toxic chemicals were so much worse than they expected.

Facebook/Pinellas County Animal Services


Regular human hair dye often contains ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and bleach to strip the hair of its natural color. Animals, of course, are well known for washing themselves by licking their fur and skin, so they can inadvertently ingest these as well as spread them over their bodies.

After three months of more pain medication, antibiotics, IV fluids, being anesthetized, skin treatments, scab removal, multiple bandage changes, and worry that she may be permanently blinded or her hair may never grow back, the final bandages came off and Violet was revealed to be well on the path to recovery.  

In fact, she’s been adopted by a family that specializes in “beautifying” pets – using products specifically designed for pets, of course.


Pinellas County Animal Services summed it up pretty perfectly in their post.

“Pet makeovers are wonderful – they come out smiling after a new haircut, nail trim, maybe a little bow or bandana. They smell so good, they feel so soft, and they prance around showing off. Great stuff, right?” they wrote. 

“[B]ut please do not use hair dye intended for humans to express your pet’s style. Let’s all say that together – Do NOT, under any circumstances, use hair color intended for humans on your pets. Chemicals in hair dye are TOXIC causing a wide array of external injury to your pet – possible burns, blindness and because an animal’s first instinct is to lick, it can cause poisoning or internal burns. Just don’t.”


  • tag
  • animal cruelty,

  • don't dye your pets,

  • people are idiots