Dyeing your dog is a dud idea: Experts disapprove of hazardous trend

  • Snigdha Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 12, 2016 15:59 IST
A dog accompanies models who present creations by designer Manish Arora as part of his Fall/Winter collection. (REUTERS)

The internet throws up a lot of strange things. Among all the oddities, a purple dog may not immediately strike you as out of place. But, if you look up close and realise that the colour is not a result of photoshop, it’ll force you to question if it is safe.

Take for example, Fluffy The Doggie, an Instagram star with almost a thousand followers, who recently made his ramp debut in Paris for designer Manish Arora. Another internet sensation is a dog trio in Singapore that go by the name of Potato, Bean and Sweetcorn. The owner, Meng Jiang, has dyed the Chinese breed, Chow Chow in a way that they resemble pandas, and an Instagram page dedicated to them have more than 2000 followers. Jaing has publicly claimed that she has used ‘100% organic dyes’ to make her brood look like pandas. Similarly, when Fluffy’s owner, French model Lia Catreux dyed her Pomeranian last year, she posted a picture of the dog from his ‘personal’ account and wrote: “And the day I became pink happened. If you think i can die because of it, change your mind bcause the coloring is specially made for dogs and i feel more alive than you. I really really don’t give a f** to be white, pink, yellow or green or as a rainbow, and you know that getting color doesn’t hurt (sic).”

Chow Chow pandas have become internet sensations (instagram/pandachowchows)

Animal activists and veterinarians in the city say that inspired by social media, many dog owners in the city are colouring their dogs. “People blindly copy what they see on the internet. I see coloured dogs these days at pet shows. It is absolutely silly to interfere with nature. In such cases, dogs are used as show-pieces, not kept as family members. It’s more about drawing attention to yourself than to the dog. It can lead to health hazards and can also be very stressful for the pet,” says animal activist Amritika Phool Gujral.

City based vet Dr Vijay Kumar says that he recently got a few queries from pet owners who wanted to colour their pet and needed some guidance. “I explained them that it can be very dangerous for the pet. You cannot say if the colour is safe or not with utmost surety. I disapprove of the trend.”

While some owners want to use ‘dog friendly dyes promoted by spas, veterinarians say it is a misleading term. Many city-based dog grooming parlours offer ‘hair colour and streaking’ for dogs too, while others don’t recommend it. “We do get enquiries about it but we tell our clients to stay away from colour because it can put the dog through a lot of stress. We do not recommend it,” says Sadhwi Sondhi, founder, Red Paws Pet Spa.

Read: This dog has an expression for (literally) everything

Medically, there’s a similar opinion. “Some want to colour their dogs with food grade or herbal colours. I tell them that these colours can’t be 100 % safe. They may not be harmful for humans but they have not been checked on animals and can lead to allergic reactions. Over the years, they can damage the fur and skin of the pet, and cause serious diseases,” says veterinarian Dr Rita Goyle.

Read: Sterilisation, vaccination of stray dogs can’t be impeded: SC

Another veterinary doctor, Dr. SK Choudhary, agrees. “The problem goes beyond battling the harmful effect of the dye. If not on the fur, the colour can have an adverse effect on the overall health of the dog, considering they lick their coats often. Also, it’s never a good idea to bathe your dogs very often because the skin gets really dry. And if you colour the fur, bathing them frequently will become unavoidable. I don’t think it is a safe trend,” he says.

Poorva Joshipura, CEO, PETA India, shares similar views. “Dying an animal’s fur can cause the animal stress and can lead to complications or allergic reactions that may put the animal’s health in danger. Dogs and cats love their human companions, regardless of how we look. Why not extend the same kindness to them? Animals are gorgeous as they are,” she says.

Delhi-based designer, Nida Mahmood, a pet owner herself, thinks the trend is silly. “I would never do it to my cat. We as humans like to colour our hair and create fun looks for ourselves but pets don’t really care about it and must not be subjected to such torture. It is not good to thrust such things on pets.”

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